Sunday, December 25, 2016
Stay Warm and Save Money with these Efficient Heating Tips for Cold Weather
Turn down the temp – The California Energy Commission recommends setting your thermostat to 68 degrees, noting that for every degree you lower your heat in the 60-degree to 70-degree range, you’ll save up 5 percent on heating costs. For sleep hours or when leaving the home, setting the thermostat down to 55 degrees or off for an extended time, saving 5-20 percent of your heating costs.
Change your filters – Dirty filters restrict airflow and increase energy use. Changing the air filters at least every three months can save your renters 4 to 6 percent on heating costs. If your tenants have a pet, changing filters every month is recommended. This tip will help not only help your tenants save money, but it will prolong the life of your furnace too.
Get Wintertime Curtains – According to AARP, insulated curtains or window quilts, can reduce an estimated 25 percent of an older home’s heating costs associated with window heat loss. Even regular curtains made from a heavy fabric can reduce heating costs; Energy.gov recommends hanging curtains as close to windows as possible and letting them fall to floor for maximum effectiveness.
Keep Your Chimney Closed – For homes with a fireplace, remind your tenants to keep the damper closed when not in use. Another solution to keep the cold air out and the warm air from escaping up the chimney when a fireplace is not in use, is a chimney ballon. These inflatable devices claim to decrease heating loss more than just closing the damper and sell at HomeDepot for $56.99.
Use your fan – While ceiling fans are excellent tools for staying cool in the summer, they can be adjusted to help your tenants keep warm in the winter. Many fan models have a switch that allows blades to spin clockwise, which will push warm air that rose to the ceiling back down into the room.
Heated Mattress Pad or Electric Blanket – Use this simple trick for staying warm at night. Instead of heating an entire house during the late night hours, a renter who keeps the thermostat programmed at 55 degrees or lower, can stay warm with an electric blanket or mattress. According to Go Green In Your Home, a 90watt electric blanket used for 8 hours a day will cost your renters only $2.20/month.
And just for fun- try eating spicy foods! SELF Magazine claims that eating spicy foods in the winter can help you stay warm since spicy foods like chili peppers and seasonings made from chili peppers contain a compound called capsaicin, which makes them spicy and, when eaten, increases our body temperature, creating a warming effect.
Posted by GCC Partners Webmaster at 11:48 PM
Thursday, May 19, 2016
If there are rules that you as a renter must follow, make it these 10 commandments. Because, while paying your rent on time is important, so too is making sure your place is personalized and stylish. Working within the boundaries of your landlord, it's little things like a new light fixture that will make an impact without costing a lot of time or money. And, the best part about this entire list is that you'll leave with your security deposit intact once it's time to move up and on.
1 Thou Shalt Add Storage
Let's get real, custom cabinetry is not an option if you don't own the place. Since rentals usually lack storage, add your own with affordable Ikea bookcases, simple shelves, or these organizing solutions.
2 Thou Shalt Change the Hardware
Rental hardware is basic . . . your style, not so much. Switching out cabinet pulls and bathroom hardware will make a huge difference. Just remember to keep the original pieces to swap back in before moving out.
3 Thou Shalt Ditch Vertical Blinds
They are the ultimate decorating sin! To prevent your space from looking like a hospital room, take them down or hide them under curtains. Again, don't toss — they're essential if you want your security deposit back.
4 Thou Shalt Line Cabinets
This might seem trivial and a bit annoying, but lining your cabinets is a must. Not only will it make your kitchen look clean, but also it will mask worn and grungy cabinets without having to paint. Adhesive liner works, but a softer grip liner is better because it's easy to install; it will also prevent glassware from chipping.
5 Thou Shalt Accessorize Like Crazy
It's true, and that's the only way you're going to get a truly personal space. Go to town with throws, pillows, and accents that reflect your style.
6 Thou Shalt Avoid Wallpaper
Well, in most cases. Sure it's stylish, but in all honestly, wallpaper is really inconvenient to remove, especially if you won't be in your place for long. If you love the patterned look, consider the removable wallpaper seen in this studio or these alternative wallpaper ideas.
7 Thou Shalt Hang Art
No excuses — get your art on the walls! Patching up a tiny hole come move-out day is nothing compared to the impact it will make on your space. No need to create a full-blown gallery wall either. Try hanging one statement piece and resting photos on a mantel or shelf, similar to this home.
8 Thou Shalt Invest in Rugs
Especially if your place has carpet! Rugs are an easy way to cover up that not-so-cute carpet and can be packed up with you come your next move. Rugs are also a necessity to keep noise down, especially in older apartments with wood floors.
9 Thou Shalt Emphasize Lighting
This is another trick that many renters often overlook. Take it from HGTV stars Anthony Carrino and John Colaneri who suggest you use lighting to set the tone and make an impact in a rental. Get creative with floor and table lamps that can easily be moved from place to place.
10 Thou Shalt Make the Most of Plants
No yard? No problem. Pots are a great way to achieve the bohemian jungalow look or even have your own urban garden. The best part is you won't have to fret about leaving any of them behind.
Thanks to the folks at Popsugar.com for the ideas!
Posted by GCC Partners Webmaster at 10:47 PM
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
- Raise your thermostat to 78º. This is the number one way to conserve energy.
- When you are away from home for more than eight hours, raise the thermostat setting and you can expect to see a 1% savings for each degree of setback. This will reduce the amount of energy used to cool your home while you're away. You can learn more about your thermostat online by visiting the U.S. Department of Energy website.
- Keep shades closed when the air conditioner is on. Sunny windows account for 40 percent of unwanted heat and can make your air conditioner work two to three times harder.
- Check and clean filters. Cleaning and replacing air conditioning filters monthly allows the system to run more efficiently.
- Use ceiling fans. Don't underestimate the importance of ceiling fans. Moving air over the body provides a cooling effect. The use of ceiling fans can mean savings of around 25% on cooling costs and can make the temperature seem 10 degrees cooler.
- Make sure ceiling fans are blowing down. Most fans have a switch to change the fan direction. Make sure ceiling fans are blowing downward (in a counter-clockwise direction) to send air past your body.
- Run appliances with large energy use late in the evening. Use the dishwasher and clothes washer late in the evening. When used during the day, these appliances produce additional heat, causing your air conditioner to work harder.
- Use cold water to wash dishes and clothes. This will save on water heating costs.
- Unplug equipment not in use. Electric chargers, televisions and audio/video equipment use electricity and produce heat even when they are not in use. Running an older refrigerator can use up to three times the energy of a modern one. Unplug any appliance when it's not in use.
- Turn off lights. Turn lights off when exiting a room. Consider replacing incandescent bulbs with energy efficient compact florescent lights (CFLs). And remember to recycle CFLs whenever possible.
Posted by GCC Partners Webmaster at 7:53 AM
Monday, February 17, 2014
Moving is a chore all by itself, but making sure your pet fares well in the adventure requires extra planning.
Read on for what to consider when choosing a rental — and how to make the move as smooth as possible for your furry family member!
The pet-friendly rental
Finding a rental that take pets is your first step in securing happy housing for you and your dog or cat. You’ll want your new landlord to welcome you both with open arms, so be up front with the fact that you have a pet. You can go one further by having a pet resume at the ready. This is a document that includes vaccination and spayed or neutered information (with supporting documents), references from past landlords, neighbors, your veterinarian, obedience trainers and any other positive information that will make your pet shine.
Look for housing, ideally, with a fenced yard, in a neighborhood which offers plenty of walking options and perhaps a dog park. If you worry about your dog or cat roaming loose, consider renting a house on a street that’s removed from a heavily-trafficked road.
Planning the move
Depending on how far you have to go and how you’re getting there, you may be using a pet carrier to transport your animal. If so, start getting your pet used to the carrier as soon as possible, making it readily available with a favorite toy or blanket inside. Once your pet sees the carrier as a safe haven, traveling in it on the big day won’t seem as traumatic.
If traveling by plane, check pet travel policies on your airline of choice to see what rules they have and to find out what paperwork and evidence of vaccinations you must provide — before making reservations.
Talk to your vet about whether your pet may need a sedative for more comfortable travel. Also, consider getting your dog or cat groomed just before the trip so that nails are trimmed for the event.
The day of the move is usually stressful for everyone involved, and your pet can pick up on all the expectant energy in the air. Be sure to keep your routine as normal as possible, while keeping your voice and body language as calm as you can. Plenty of affection and praise will assure your pet that nothing bad is happening.
Moving days also offer the opportunity for anxious pets to bolt out an open door. Choose a room in the home you’re leaving and make it your pet’s base while everything is moved out. Make sure to keep the door closed (warn friends and family members to do the same) and to supply your pet with food, water, a favorite toy and the crate, if you’re using one.
Depending on the size and duration of your move, you might want to board your dog at a kennel during the tumult, and pick her up in time to get in the car or plane, en route to your new rental home.
When you arrive
Getting used to a new home can be as unsettling to a pet as leaving the old one. Keep your pet in his crate or in a closed room until everything is moved in, and you can begin to create order. As with your exit strategy, supply your pet with everything she will need upon arrival—familiar food/water bowls and favorite toys. Now your pet can begin the process of exploring this new territory comfortably.
As you plan your move, begin making arrangements for your pet, too. Thoughtful preparation will make the experience easier on the two of you and help ensure a happy move into your new home!
Posted by GCC Partners Webmaster at 11:34 AM
Monday, August 5, 2013
Monday, September 24, 2012
Back to School Fall Safety TipsAs children return to school in the fall, they are excited and may not be paying as much attention to their surroundings as they should. Keep them safe with these fall safety tips.
- If your child's school bus is equipped with seat belts make sure your child uses it.
- If your child walks to school or waits at a bus stop, wearing clothes that are brightly colored makes them more visible to drivers.
- Children that ride bicycles to school should always wear a helmet.
- Have your child use a rolling backpack if possible.
- A loaded backpack should not weigh more than ten to twenty percent of the weight of the child.
Posted by GCC Partners Webmaster at 8:48 AM