Is a Wood Burning Stove Suitable For A Modern Home?

Wood burning stoves have been around for almost 200 years, and they’ve recently seen another rise in popularity. Maybe it’s our love for all things vintage and the rise of shabby chic? Or maybe it’s a rejection of modern ways and attempt to get back to a gentler pace of life. Who knows? But there’s no denying that they are definitely here to stay.

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What’s new?

Like anything that has been around for a long time, wood burning stoves have changed, at least a little, over the years. One of the things that make stoves so enduringly popular is the tradition and heritage of their use and appearance. So they all tend to look similar to the old fashioned designs. But don’t make the mistake of assuming that they’re all the same inside too because that would be wrong. If you take a look behind the door, you’ll find technology has come into play there. Back in days of old, a wood burning stove was just a rudimentary wooden box in which you could build a warm fire to keep you toasty. It didn’t matter how efficient it was, or how cleanly it burned the fuel. But these days, they are things that we do have to take into consideration. After all, we’ve got the planet to think about!

Are you baffled yet?

Probably the biggest changes over the years to stores is the inclusion of a baffle. Now, what is a baffle, I hear you ask? It’s a metal surface housed inside of the box that helps control the airflow that goes up the chimney. It also helps reflect heat back into the hot box, which means the temperature of the stove increases. Most modern stoves have a second air input, too. This useful hack creates a handy supply of preheated air into the top of the firebox. This aids in burning off some of the gasses that would have flown up the chimney and out into the atmosphere. Developments like these make sure that you get the most out of your fuel. This is great if you’re trying to economise and keep an eye on your budget.

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Don’t wait, circulate!

The air can get stuffy with even the most modern of stoves, but if you open a window, you’re going to lose all of that heat. Technology has also brought us the stove fan, which means the air can move freely, and you don’t get overheated. Some of the best stove fans use very little power, so you’re still making savings on energy.

Better for the planet

When you used an old fashioned stove, the heat, and the smoke rose out of the wood would keep on rising, straight out of the chimney. This had an adverse impact on the environment and robbed the home of heat that had already been generated. That would also clog up the chimney, as some of the smoke would stick to the side turning into creosote. This would have the hazardous effect of making your house more prone to fires and make your stove far less efficient.

 

How to Get Your Credit Report Looking Strong

 

Before you start looking for a new home, you have to remember that you’ll probably need to take out a loan. If you’re for any reason unconfident about how a credit report will look, you may want to hold off on your decision for a while.

It’s important that you get a loan pre-approved before you start looking for a new home to buy. While it isn’t essential, it’s highly recommended as it saves both you and the seller time. With this in mind, here are some of the ways you can ensure your credit report is as strong as it can be.

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Get a pre-loan credit report

Here is something you should remember. The loan approval process is going to cost you. There’s a chance that pretty much every step of the process will come with some kind of fee. This means that if your credit report isn’t satisfactory, then you may still have to pay for fees outside of that credit report.

This is why you should get a low-cost credit report before you begin the loan process. It’s important to remember that credit reports don’t have universal criteria. It’s entirely possible that a failed report with one creditor may not fail at another. But if you do get a bad report from an independent checker, you should take steps to make corrections.

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Sort out any loans you currently have

Already being in debt doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be rejected for a loan. It may mean the loan fees will be higher, though. In any case, it’s really best not to be in any debt when you’re applying for a homeowner’s loan.

If you are in debt, you need to be able to display your ability to pay back consistently. If you can show that you’re got your debts under control, it may be completely fine. If your debts are overwhelming you, you should look into easing solutions. If you’ve got several debts, consider debt consolidation. This turns several debts into one debt, which will make your credit report look a lot more attractive.

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You need a credit history

Here’s one that many people forget! Perhaps you’re confident that you won’t get a bad credit score simply because you don’t have a credit history. Keep this in mind. Your credit report is an attempt to predict your future behaviour. A bad credit report shows that your previous financial behaviour leads a creditor to believe you are untrustworthy. If you don’t have a credit history, then the creditor has no data with which to make a prediction.

Having no credit history can give you a bad credit score. There are several things you can do to get the ball rolling. The first thing is to register to vote if you haven’t already. If you’re not on the electoral roll, you will most likely be turned down for any loan. If you have a bank account that gives you an overdraft, then you can dip into that overdraft and pay it back quickly to build up a good history. You can also look into getting a credit card, but you must be sure to use it responsibly!

Making Your Home Ready For Your Retirement

 

Are you beginning to make plans for your future? Maybe your retirement is coming up in the coming months or years, and you want to start preparing. Or perhaps it’s not you that’s retiring, but your parents or loved ones. Maybe you want to make sure the home they’ll now be spending lots of time in is really up to the task. Whatever the circumstances, getting ready for retirement also involves getting the home ready.

Once you do retire, you’ll begin to have access to any savings you’ve put away, and your pension. This pool of money is so you don’t have to work again, and can live in comfort. However, it is acceptable to take a small chunk and put it towards sorting the home and doing any renovations. Here are a handful of investments you might want to make, and the actions you’ll need to take to get the job done.

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Make spaces you’ll enjoy spending time in

Once you leave work, you may no longer spend lots of time outside of the home. So it’s only logical that you will want to make your home a truly wonderful space. Keep vases of fresh flowers in every room. Put up greeting cards from friends and family on your window ledge. Get a DAB digital radio so you can listen to music. Consider having speakers installed in each room so the music will follow you around the house. Hire a window cleaner and have them come around every fortnight. Fit window boxes to the window exteriors. You can pick up flowers for them cheaply in your local supermarket or garden centre. Make your home a pleasant place to be.

Install an elevator

It should be a top priority to ensure you can still move freely about your house as you head into your older years. One such way to ensure this is to install a home elevator. This eliminates any further need for stairs, or possible issues getting up and down them safely. Well-designed ones are actually very sleek, and not bulky like you might think. They’re usually made from transparent materials, so you can see exactly where you’re going and feel safe using it. You can also choose a colour to suit your room, so you don’t need to redecorate or paint the walls a different colour. They also have to adhere to stringent safety protocols, so they offer fire protection. Look out for ones that won’t operate unless the doors are totally shut, also. Also, opt for a version fitted with a light. This means that you’ll be able to see where you’re going even if the lights are not on at the floor you’re travelling to. The Terry Lifestyle range is a good option that ticks all of these boxes.

Consider your storage

Storing essentials under the bed isn’t going to work if you struggle to bend down. Similarly, keeping heavy items on top of wardrobes isn’t going to be viable if your arms aren’t as strong as they used to be. Think carefully about how and where you are storing things and different storage solutions. Then, move things around. Don’t put it off. Put things you often use in drawers just below chest-height. Make sure the drawers are on rollers, so you don’t have to tug hard to get them open. Also, give some thought to where you keep your kitchen equipment. If you need to store some things up high, buy a compact step ladder or ask for your help.

Install double glazing

Older bodies can sometimes find that they are more sensitive to changes in the weather or general temperature. One way to protect yourself against the changes is to have any single-glazed windows upgraded to double-glazed. This may also reduce your heating and electricity bills. Alternatively, look at having underfloor heating installed. This option is becoming less costly as competition grows amongst providers. The RugBuddy is another good option. This is underfloor heating in the form of a mat. It sticks to your floor and then gets covered up by a rug. A great place to use this is under a rug in front of the main sofa. Or, you could place one underneath your dining table for warm feet at mealtimes!

In the bedroom, a great way of staying warm is using an electric blanket. Put it under your bottom sheet and switch it on 15 minutes or so before bed.

Move your bedroom downstairs

While this can meet short-term hassle, it will mean long-term convenience. If you see stairs becoming a problem or inconvenience for you in the future, move your bedroom downstairs. Choose a room at the back of the house and away from noises on the road or outside your front door. This will help you get a long and peaceful nights sleep. Hang curtains to ensure warmth and the ability to block out light.

Repave your outdoor surfaces

As we age, we all become less stable on our feet. This means that we are more susceptible to tripping and falling. Plus, if we do start to fall, we don’t have the same ability to catch ourselves. Consider the floor inside your home, and look for loose edges of carpets you might trip over. But more importantly, look outside. Is your driveway very uneven? Are there lots of cracks in your garden path? If so, get them fixed. A smoother walkway will not only make you safe; it will make you far more confident on your feet.

Increase security measure

Make it very clear to neighbours and passers-by that your home is well protected. Have an alarm system installed, and put stickers and decals up in your windows to let everyone know. Also, consider your door and window locks. Could they do with being replaced or upgraded?

Security measures don’t just mean if there are problems with burglars, however. What about if you fall and can’t get back up? Having a personal alarm is a good idea. These will notify the emergency services if you need help.

 

First Property: Rent Or Buy?

So, you’ve moved out of Mum and Dad’s house and now you’re ready for independence. Moving into your first home is hard. It’s weird, comes with a lot of paperwork, and you need to be ready. However, it’s also an incredibly exciting time! This your first chance to stand your own two feet. It’s a liberating experience, and one that you should grab with both hands.

You need to decide whether you’re looking to buy or rent. The decision you make is very important, and you need to be careful along the way. We’re here to try and make that decision a little easier for you. Here are three tips to help you decide.

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  • How Are Your Finances?

Before you make any decision, you need to look at your finances. If you’ve got money saved away, that’s one thing. If you’re living paycheck-to-paycheck, you’re going to struggle to afford a deposit on a house. If this is the case, search around for government-backed schemes that can help first-time buyers. They’ll often provide an affordable option for those who haven’t got big sums of money lying around. Renting is the ideal solution if you’re low on funds. You’re going to need a stable source of income, or you might find yourself back on the streets in no time.

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  • What Are Your Circumstances?

Have your thought about your plans for the future? Are you sticking around for a while, or do you have big career dreams that might take you somewhere else? Renting is a great option for someone that wants to be flexible. Maybe you want to live somewhere for six months-or-so? Maybe some family members live in the area, or your partner is studying nearby? All of these factors need to be taken into account. Once you’ve bought a home, you’re entering into a big commitment. That’s great, but you can’t be selling it again six months down the line. Buying a home comes with a number of perks including the ability to redecorate. However, that’s a pointless thing to waste your time on if you’ll be leaving imminently. Look at your circumstances, and make a sensible decision.

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  • Get Help From The Experts

While it might seem like a good idea to rent from the dodgy bloke down the street, you don’t know what you’re getting into. He might kick you out of the place in two days time, or demand more money if he knows you’re well off. Those are over-the-top examples, but still a good reason to stick with the professionals. This is a big decision you’re making, and you need the help of estate agents like Greenaway Residential to get you through this. By doing this, you can make sure a contract is in place, and any wrongdoing will be picked up on right away. There’s a lot of money and trust at stake here. Don’t throw it away by doing things like an amateur.

Once you’ve made a decision, it’s fairly easy to proceed. You’ll be guided along the way, and the worst part is moving in! Getting all your stuff into a new home can take time and effort, and that’s something you need to be prepared for. Happy house hunting!

 

The Natural Hazards that Could Impact Your Home

There are many natural hazards that you have to deal with as a homeowner. Below you will find details of the major hazards that can impact your home. You need to be aware of them and how to deal with them if the worst happens.

Earthquake

Earthquakes are a kind of niche concern for many homeowners. You either live in an area that is likely to be affected by an earthquake, or you don’t. There’s no real in between point. Of course, some earthquakes are unexpected. But most people know if they live on or near a fault line that can cause earthquakes to occur. Making sure that the foundations of your home are secure and in good condition are important when preparing for an earthquake. You should also make sure that large items are secured.

Storms

Storms can start at any time, and how severe they are differs from occasion to occasion. If you live in an area that has a history of hurricanes, violent storms or heavy rain, you need to be prepared. There are lots of ways in which you can do this. First of all, cut down any large trees that are near the home. This will prevent them from being uprooted, blown over and potentially causing considerable damage to your home. You should also add shutters to the window when a storm is on its way.

Lightning

Lightning is something that often occurs during a storm, but it presents its own specific threats and dangers to the home. It might be nice to look at, but it is responsible for causing many deaths every year. Making sure the trees are removed from around the home as I mentioned before. Trees often fall when struck by lightning. And you should also install a lightning protection system. This will help to make sure that the home is protected if the worst does happen and it gets struck.

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Fire

Fires can be caused by natural events. But they can also be caused by people’s stupidity. Unfortunately, most fires do not occur because of unavoidable events. They usually strike because of human error. So, you need to make sure that you don’t leave the oven on, drop a cigarette or any of the other things that can lead to a fire breaking out in the home. To avoid the worst of the damage, make sure that you have a functioning smoke alarm that can be relied on. And plan your exit route.

Flooding

Flooding usually occurs when a river bursts its banks. This then leads to water spreading throughout communities, causing mass devastation in the process. This can happen because of heavy rain or other environment issues in other locations. But once a river does break its banks, it is impossible to stop it. So, you need to make sure that you have a plan for avoiding the worst of the damage. Firstly, have the right home and contents insurance. And then plan for moving your downstairs possessions to a higher floor before they are submerged in water.