Are you a new homeowner in New Jersey? Perhaps you have owned a home for the past 10 years, or owned 10 homes over the years? ? Whatever your homeownership background, stay tuned to REAL Story’s Homeowner page for information on what you, as a homeowner, need to know on such topics as home improvement, prepping for the holidays, saving money on insurance and more.
Solar Pool Heaters Can Lower Energy Costs
Homeowners in search of a greener and more economical method of keeping their swimming pools warm are harnessing the sun’s energy. Solar pool heaters can lower energy costs because they rely primarily on a free and renewable energy source, rather than electricity or natural gas.
Solar pool heaters cost more upfront than traditional alternatives, perhaps 50% more than electric heat pumps and several times more than gas heaters. However, the payback can come in as little as two years, depending on local utility rates and other
Tax Credits for Installing Solar Panels
Trying to convert the sun’s rays into electricity doesn’t make sense for every home owner. For the solar panels that typically sit on your roof to be really effective, they need exposure to direct sunlight for at least five hours a day. If there’s a lot of fog and rain where you live, or obstructions like trees or neighboring structures, then your solar system won’t be as efficient.
But if your electric bills are high and your house receives sufficient sunlight, then solar panels might be a sustainable and energy-efficient alternative to consider. Prices have been falling in recent years. But even so, your payback period will be decades.
5 Programs for Improving Local Waste Recycling
The right recycling program can raise your city’s profile as a green place to live, and indirectly influence home values and community wealth by saving tax dollars, reducing the need for landfills, avoiding pollution, and creating jobs.
Want to improve recycling options in your community? Push to get one of these five novel recycling programs going in your area.
Governor Christie Outlines Regulations to Allow Residents and Businesses to Rebuild Faster, Stronger and Safer from Hurricane Sandy
January 24, 2013 - Taking action to give New Jersey families, businesses and local governments the best available guidance to quickly and more durably rebuild from Hurricane Sandy, Governor Chris Christie today signed emergency regulations to adopt the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) updated Advisory Base Flood Elevation (ABFEs) maps as the rebuilding standard for the entire state. These regulations establish requirements and more efficient procedures for residents and businesses to construct, reconstruct, relocate and elevate buildings and other structures in flood hazard areas.
Apps for Home Improvement
Evernote - Free
Available for iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry, Palm and Web
While Evernote was not designed with home improvement in mind, it is an invaluable tool that allows you to create text, picture or voice notes, which are then stored in “the cloud” and are accessible from any other device(s). You can use this app to capture information about a room you want to remodel, or if you need to remember how something looks, snap a picture and save it for later reference.
Evernote also allows you to capture and store client lists or photos of listed properties. Images with printed or handwritten text, or scanned documents that are stored on Evernote’s servers are searchable and can be shared with anyone via e-mail.
Home Depot - Free
Available for iPhone
The Home Depot application has evolved from a simple display of the latest store circular to a full-fledged application designed to help the average homeowner get things done around the home. You can now build shopping lists, watch instructional videos, search for stores based on your location and purchase gift cards.
Handy Man DIY - $1.99
Available for iPhone
Handy Man DIY is a home improvement planner that is geared towards the general homeowner. It allows you to create projects based on different rooms within your home. Each project can store room dimensions, shopping lists, estimated costs and tasks associated with it. When the user enters in the room dimensions, Handy Man DIY will calculate the wall and floor square footage, room volume, and the total length of the walls. The app also features detailed instructions and videos on common home improvement endeavors.
BuildCalc – Advanced Construction Calculator - $19.95
Available for iPhone
BuildCalc is intended for a homeowner who needs to do complex calculations for home improvement projects. Need to figure out how much fencing you need to enclose a yard, or figure out the layout of a staircase and its stringers? With BuildCalc you can take the guesswork out of your home improvement projects.
Home 3D - $8.99
Available for iPad
Home 3D is intended to help you visualize what a home renovation will look like. Enter in some of the room dimensions and layout where windows, doors and furniture are placed, and this application will render a 3D layout for you.
Handy Construction Calculators - $7.99
Available for Android
With 26 easy-to-use calculators and estimators, this handy application is useful to both the do-it-yourselfer and the professional. Some of the calculations it can perform include: brick block, concrete & rebar, drywall, drop ceiling, framing, insulation, paint, flooring, etc.