National Fire Prevention Week: October 7–13

Listen. Learn. Be aware. Fire Can Happen Anywhere™

National Fire Prevention Week is a great reason to show your customers how much you care. As a chimney sweep, you are saving lives every day. Check out this quote from NFPA for Fire Prevention Week: “The leading factor contributing to home-heating fires (30%) was a failure to clean. This usually involved creosote buildup in chimneys.” To access this information, click on this link, then heating.

There is so much more you can do to show your customer you care:

  • Smoke Alarms – According to NFPA three in every five home-fire deaths result from fires in homes with no smoke alarms (38%) or no working smoke alarms (21%). Dead/missing batteries caused one-quarter of smoke alarm failures. The life span of a smoke alarm can be in the 8-10 year range.
  • Fires can happen for many reasons. Post this video link from NFPA link on your site, to help your customers plan their fire escape:
  • Here’s a source for 12 Safety Tip Sheets including escape planning, smoke alarms, home heating, etc.
  • Here’s a fun page for children that includes videos, games, etc.
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning can happen during a fire. Remind your customer to replace their battery also that the average life of a carbon monoxide alarm is five years.
  • Let’s not forget Dryer Vent Fires. According to NFPA, “The leading factor contributing to the ignition of home fires involving clothes dryers was failure to clean, accounting for one-third (33%) of dryer fires.” Here’s a link for dryer vent information for your customer.

By taking a little time to educate your customer, you can make a difference in their lives. They will not be likely to forget your concern and kindness.

Original Source:

Which home improvement projects offer a great return on investment?

Mother and son in kitchen
FILE PHOTO — Digital First Media

Let’s take a quick quiz:

Which is the top home improvement project that brings the best return on investment?

A. A major kitchen remodel

B. A bathroom addition

C. A bedroom upgrade

D. A minor kitchen remodel

While all these projects add value, beauty and function to your home, it’s the minor kitchen remodel that comes out on top this time, according to REMODEL Magazine.

For 2018, the highest-ranking return-on-investment project was the minor kitchen remodel (81.1 percent) while a major kitchen remodel only returned 59 percent, said Michael Stoskopf, CEO, HBA of Southeastern Michigan.

“REMODELING found a similar pattern with bathroom projects, with the highest returning project being a Universal Design bathroom renovation at 70.6 percent while a bathroom addition project only returned 59 percent,” he said.

But today’s buyers also have another focus in addition to traditional kitchen and master bedroom/bathroom remodels – and technically it’s not even inside your home. It’s the great outdoors.

“Another area gaining popularity is outdoor living space, including the transition from the house to the outdoor patio/veranda,” said Stoskopf in an email.

Most homeowners will undergo a home renovation project for one of two reasons: They want to increase enjoyment of the home they plan to live in for years or they plan to sell and want to make the home as attractive as they can to potential buyers.

Both are great reasons, but just remember that they are not the same, he said.

“Homeowners must weigh the time and cost for any planned remodeling project against the outcome they hope for once the project is completed,” said Stoskopf. “For a consumer looking to ultimately sell their home soon after the project or projects are completed, the decision is decidedly more of a financial one, centered around investment cost vs. expected increase in the sales price. On the other hand, for a consumer who is looking to keep their home for years to come following the project, the decision becomes a much more emotional one, centered around the expected enjoyment of their new space.”

So how can a homeowner decide which home improvement project is best for their specific situation? Again, look at the reasons behind your decision. If you seek increased comfort or convenience, begin upgrades that will “make the home your own,” said Stoskopf.

If you are preparing to sell, consider those projects that will improve your financial windfall after the sale of your home, he said.

In addition to home remodels, those looking to place their home on the market will benefit from taking the time to hire a home inspector to walk through the property. This professional can identify items in need of repair and/or replacement so a prospective buyer spends their time falling in love with your home and dreaming about their family’s future there instead of taking notes on what needs fixing or upgrading, said Stoskopf.

Need a contractor?

For most people, a home is the biggest investment they will make, so protect your investment by hiring a qualified home contractor.

“Whether you are trying to gain value prior to a sale or making the house you just bought into a home that fits your lifestyle and taste, take the time necessary to ensure you select licensed and insured professionals that you trust to do the work,” said Michael Stoskopf, CEO, HBA of Southeastern Michigan.

He offers these tips:

• Consider members of a nationally-recognized residential construction industry trade association, such as the Home Builders Association of Southeastern Michigan

• Strive to get at least three bids in order to better ascertain what the real price of your project will be before starting/committing to it

Original Source:

Original Date: Sept 19 2018

Written By: Jane Peterson

The Realities of Age in Place Remodeling

Although a new concept, aging in place has become a notion that not only seniors but middle-aged people have started to appreciate the importance of.  Not only does it make sense because it makes life easier for you but also from a financial stand point.


No one ever wants to discuss getting older and not being able to care for themselves as they are today.  Trust me, I get that; I know for me it is one thing that is brought up all to often among my kids when talking with me and it is the last thing I really want to talk with them about.  However, the facts exist, whether we want to talk about it or plan for it, we will get older.


It is important to understand that if your goal is to remain in your home for as long as possible then the sooner you start preparing for the aging process the better.  Yes, you may only be in your forties but if you are already considering renovations around the home then you should start to include features that will make it easier to grow old with.


Aging isn’t really the problem.  The issue arises from the affects of aging.  There are several changes that occur mentally, physically, and your abilities overall tend to slow down.  It becomes harder to navigate the terrain later in life as the freedoms you once had become more difficult.

What Are Dangers In Waiting to Renovate To Accommodate Aging Needs

There are two areas in which I want to focus today as we discuss aging and the desire to stay within our homes, caring for ourselves: What are the most realistic dangers physically, mentally, and financially? and What will occur if you wait to act now?

Risk Of Falling

The biggest issue found in emergency rooms involving seniors comes from accidental falls.  Not only does the fall impact you today but also your future lifestyle.  Protecting yourself from accidental spills around the home is just one of the precautions that need to be considered sooner than later.  If you are considering an update to your flooring be sure to use materials that offer some type of slip resistance, even when wet.  The flooring should also take into consideration navigation, if a wheelchair or walker should be needed, the ease of maintenance, as well as the about of cushion and comfort it provides.  A side effect of falling is an increase in serious, debilitating, long lasting issues from broken hips to an increase in dementia.  It is crucial that steps are taken very early on to prevent the risk of falling as a fall will significantly decrease your quality of life.


If you wait to start planning and remodeling until after an incident you are really putting yourself in danger not only physically but mentally and financially as well.  The less able you are to take care of your self the more mentally frustrated you will become.  Especially for those of us who have remained active and are living a physical lifestyle.  Financially we are also affected because are ability to earn income will decrease and our care expenses will increase.


It comes down to the reality that designing and preparing your home for aging in place when renovating not only is a solid financial investment but also makes your home safer to live in right now.  Added safety around your home whether you are in your thirties or fifties can’t hurt.   Age in place remodeling helps increase your longevity and preventing accidents such as unexpected falls.   Without remodeling with aging in mind you could lose tens of thousands of dollars each year as you pay for assisted living and nursing home care.


Glen Miller the Home Doctor is a licensed general contractor servicing Livingston County and the surrounding areas.  Glen offers a wide range of services including home maintenance plans, age in place remodeling, kitchen and bathroom remodeling, finished basements, and hardwood floor refinishing.  More information can be found online at

5 home improvement projects perfect for fall


With the hot weather behind us and the cool temperatures not too far off, fall is the best time to do some maintenance work around the house and yard here in the Ark-La-Tex. If you have multiple jobs that are a bit too big for you to handle on your own, consider enlisting the help of a single, general contractor who can do everything from patching your roof to replacing your windows to sealing your patio. Here are five areas of your home that might need some attention before it’s gets cold outside:

1. Windows

If your house was too hot over the summer or if some rooms were hotter than others, it could mean your windows aren’t doing a good job of keeping the weather outside where it belongs.

Old, single-pane windows or leaky windows won’t do any better at keeping the cold air out and your expensive, heated air in during the winter.

Before it gets cold, consider investing in energy-efficient, double-pane windows that will preserve your comfortable, heated air and keep the cold out of your house.

You could caulk and weather-strip around the windows to prevent air from leaking in and out of the window frame, but that won’t do anything to reinforce a single pane of glass. New windows will make your home more comfortable and your heating and air conditioning bills a little bit lower.

2. Wood

Now that the sun isn’t beating so hard on your house, it’s a good time to do some maintenance on the wooden parts of the building.

If you have any wood windows, wood exterior doors or wood siding, you need to scrape, sand and repaint them every couple of years—especially if the wood is on the south or southwest side of your house. That’s a good job for mild fall weather.

Consider working with a professional who can spot and remedy rot and mold—and who will know when you really need to replace that wood door or window instead of trying to patch it up.

3. Roof

If leaves and pine needles are accumulating in your yard, they’re covering your roof as well. Get someone to climb up there and sweep them away.

Debris on a roof tends to slide to the lowest point, which is where your gutters are. Leaves and anything else that lands on the roof will form a dam, inviting water to pool in the gutters and wherever there’s a bend in the roof. That alone can weaken roofing materials, which can lead to leaks.

But during a rainstorm, your backed-up gutters and downspouts won’t be able to get water off the roof fast enough. The result: rotting fascia board, leaks into the house, and rotted walls.

4. Porches and patios

. We’re lucky enough to be able to use our patios all the way through the winter—with a little help from a patio heater. Don’t deny your family access to your patio, porch or deck because it’s too cold to sit on it. Install a fire pit, fireplace or chiminea outdoors so everyone will want to spend time there together.

5. Additions and renovations

If you’re considering adding a room to your house, it’s a good idea to get started before the weather gets too cold.

Your contractors will do their best to seal up the hole in your house where the new room will attach. But even the heaviest plastic can only keep out so much cold air.

If you hope to spruce up your bathroom or kitchen before holiday guests start arriving, you can’t get the project going too soon.

It can take weeks for even a small, one-room renovation once you carefully choose a design and order materials. So plan accordingly. A half-finished guest bathroom on Christmas Eve will inconvenience your company and make you wish you had started the job in the fall instead of waiting until December.

Original Source:

Original Date: Sept 8 2018

Written By: Jeb Breithaupt