6 essential tips for water heater maintenance

Key tips to remember

  • Know what type of water heater you have, and keep the area around it accessible.
  • Set the temperature at 120 degrees F to keep energy costs down.
  • Flush the water tank and test the temperature pressure relief valve annually.
  • The anode rod should be checked and replaced about every three years.
  • Insulating the water heater and pipes can save you money on your energy bill.

Service Provider: A Star Plumbing

Fast facts:

  • Company: A Star Plumbing
  • Service pros: Xavier and Darlene Vasquez
  • Speciality: Plumbing
  • Area served: New Jersey
  • Favorite tool: Channellock pliers

Mildew or mold? How to know for sure.

Key tips to remember

  • Mildew and mold are both fungi, but mildew grows on the surface of a given material.
  • Mildew is relatively easy to remove with a good scrub brush and household cleaner.
  • Organize the garage or shed to keep essential tools handy.
  • Mold can cause respiratory problems, so best to let experts do mold remediation work.

Survey: COVID-19’s impact on Americans’ sustainability habits

Key takeaways:

  • 38.5% of people said following sustainability habits is more important since the onset of COVID-19.
  • 53.5% of people said they’re likely to think less of someone who doesn’t practice sustainable living.
  • 1 in 5 people said the pandemic has made it more difficult to live sustainably.
  • Buying products locally was the top sustainable practice people said they want to implement in 2021.

Survey: Exploring perceptions of homebuying in 2021

Key takeaways:

  • 49% of respondents plan on buying a new home in 2021.
  • 58% of potential homebuyers expect the housing market to crash in 2021.
  • Austin, Texas, is the most coveted moving destination.

Survey: How well do Americans anticipate the costs of homeownership?

Key takeaways:

  • Over a third of Americans said they underestimated the costs associated with homeownership.
  • 44.9% of homeowners said that home maintenance costs proved to be higher than they expected.
  • 1 in 2 homeowners have had to put a home improvement project or new appliance on a credit card.

Survey: People weigh in on their best home-related purchases during COVID-19

Key takeaways:

  • 52% of people reported spending more on home-related purchases during 2020 than the year prior.
  • Air fryers were the top appliance people reported buying during the pandemic.
  • Improving home comfort was the top reason people reported for making home-related purchases.
  • 27.1% of people said they went over budget on home-related purchases during COVID-19.

Survey: A look at savings for home repairs during COVID-19

Key takeaways:

  • More than 1 in 10 people didn’t have emergency savings.
  • On average, emergency savings decreased by 36% since COVID-19.
  • 1 in 3 people couldn’t afford a home repair during COVID-19.
  • 61% of people would need to go into debt to afford a serious home repair.

It's National Home Warranty Day!

Key tips to remember

  • Home Warranty Day reminds us to protect important home systems that make our lives comfortable.
  • Homeowners insurance covers things that might happen while a home warranty covers things that will happen.
  • Home warranty plans usually fall into two categories: appliances and built-in systems.
  • With 40 years in business, Cinch has a large network of over 18,000 service professionals.
  • Cinch offers a unique 180-day workmanship guarantee on all repairs.

Vacuum cleaners 101: Can you create your own?

Key tips to remember

  • Creating your own vacuum cleaner is a great rainy-day activity, especially if you have kids.
  • Vacuum cleaners work best when they’re maintained and their components kept free from debris.
  • Professional vacuum service is a great option when your vacuum cleaner isn’t working effectively.

Service Provider: Boon Heating and Cooling

Fast facts:

  • Company: Boone Heating and Cooling
  • Service pro: Mike Jasionowski
  • Specialty: Heating and Cooling
  • Area served: Central Indiana
  • Favorite tool: Conversation

Are smart appliances the smart choice?

Key tips to remember

  • Energy-efficient features can cut your electric bill, but they come with a hefty initial price tag.
  • Remote operation adds convenience, but also poses security risks.
  • Smart appliances make maintenance easy, but they often require more of it.
  • We can all agree that a robot vacuum is a no-brainer.

3 ways to make your virtual tour better than ever

Key tips to remember

  • The coronavirus pandemic increased the popularity of virtual home tours.
  • Potential buyers get immediate access and viewing convenience, and buyers and sellers can stay safer.
  • Differentiating your virtual tours can help them stand out.
  • Providing a more modern virtual tour will yield results that should prove it’s well worth the investment.

Showerheads 101: Your ultimate guide

Key tips to remember

  • Rain showerheads add luxury to any bathroom, but have the best effect when ceiling-mounted.
  • Handheld and variable-spray showerheads offer more options to keep everyone in the home happy.
  • Consider a water-filtering showerhead if you live in an area with hard water.
  • Don’t forget to consider things like the new fixture’s location, size and water flow rate.

10 tips to keep your smart appliances secure

Key tips to remember

  • Register all smart appliances and devices with the manufacturer to keep software up to date.
  • Take your passwords seriously.
  • Enable two-factor authentication.
  • Make sure your network router is secure, and set up a second network for your smart devices.
  • Factory-reset any smart device to clear all your data before you get rid of it.

New year, new homeowner: Your new-homeowner checklist

Key tips to remember

  • If you live in a cold climate, take precautions to keep your pipes from freezing.
  • Stay on top of yardwork — jumping into action as soon as temps begin to rise will pay dividends.
  • Don’t skip preventive maintenance, including your fireplace and chimney cleanings.
  • Know where your shut-off valves are located for emergency purposes.
  • If a task is above your head, don’t hesitate to call in the professionals.

New year, new home! Your 2021 home checklist

Key tips to remember

  • Review your home insurance coverage annually to make sure it still meets your needs.
  • Try not to skip regular preventive maintenance visits for your home’s major systems.
  • Sometimes, a simple change can make a big impact.
  • Review any warranty or service contracts, and test less-frequently used appliances.
  • Keep an eye out for water damage and erosion throughout the year.

Guide to common oven repairs

Key tips to remember

  • Oven repairs are typically easy to fix yourself, thanks to parts designed for easy assembly.
  • An electric oven that won’t heat up is usually due to a faulty heating element.
  • When a gas oven keeps clicking, you probably need to clean or replace the igniter.
  • If food is taking too long to cook, check the temperature sensor.

6 long-lasting impacts from the pandemic

Key tips to remember

  • Technology is more important than ever in real estate.
  • Location priorities change when working remotely.
  • Sometimes, a simple change can make a big impact.
  • Homeownership aspirations are even stronger.
  • Indoor-outdoor living is more valuable as people work from home more.

Service Provider: Commode Commander

Fast facts:

  • Company: Commode Commander
  • Service pro: Mike Casanova
  • Specialty: Plumbing
  • Area served: South Florida
  • Favorite tool: Pipe wrench
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