Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Updating Your Kitchen Lighting Fixtures

Kitchen remodeling can be a tough yet enjoyable project. Even if it has been years since you made any design changes, you can alter the entire look of your kitchen simply by making minor changes, such as updating old lighting fixtures.

Your choice in kitchen lighting can drastically change the mood in the room with just a simple change in the color of your light bulbs. You will immediately create a whole different atmosphere in your kitchen. If you want to give your kitchen a facelift, changing the lighting is definitely a great way to get started.

Kitchen lighting can be classified under three main types:

First is the surface mount ceiling light or recessed light, which attaches directly to the ceiling of the kitchen. This is most common and probably the cheapest kind of kitchen lighting you can find. Ceiling lights come in all shapes and sizes but the most common are rectangular and circular. These kitchen lighting fixtures are usually wide and can provide adequate lighting for the entire kitchen, but they are often lacking in style and elegance.

The second type of kitchen lighting is the hanging or pendant light. The hanging light can either be a single light hanging down from the ceiling. A chandelier is also considered a form of pendant light which is composed of several small lights hanging from the ceiling. Pendant lights are popular in groups of two or three mounted over a kitchen table or counter where bright light is needed to help with food preparation or eating.

The third type of kitchen light is the under cabinet light. Under cabinet lights are meant to be installed beneath the upper wall cabinets. Under cabinet lighting is both practical and decorative but is considered “task lighting” to aid with food preparation.

Hanging Lights and Under Cabinet Lighting
installed by Kruse Home Improvement
There are no rules in choosing the best lighting for your kitchen but it is always good to strike a balance between style and practicality. You should look for lighting that couples the light you need with the style you desire. For more information on updating your kitchen lighting fixtures contact KHI at 860-584-8784. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Adding a Kitchen Backsplash

Kitchen backsplashes are an affordable way to inject some style in your kitchen. A unique kitchen backsplash can define the look and feel of the room.

Backsplash installed by Kruse Home Improvement
Backsplashes come in a wide variety of materials and colors to suit your kitchen's vibe. The most common type is a tile backsplash for its dura- bility and easy cleaning. Tiles in all shapes, sizes, and colors can be con- figured into unique, one-of-a-kind back- splashes. Bead-board backsplashes are a popular selection while wood backsplashes are now seen in some of the most recent kitchen designs. If you like a clean, streamlined look, solid-surfacing backsplashes and solid-sheet glass backsplashes can add the finishing touch to your decor. In some areas, natural materials such as brick and Mexican terracotta tile are popular choices for a backsplash. A professional installer can create interesting combinations that play up the subtle texture and pattern deviations of the choice you make.

Below are some simple tips for choosing the perfect backsplash tile:

Look at your kitchen’s current color as a guide. Use the look and color of your kitchen cabinet finish and appliances to choose what color tile would match best.

You don’t have to follow trends. There are enough different styles of glass tile to suit any design budget and taste so take your time, compare tile colors and styles to choose something you’ll love for years to come. 

Backsplash installed by Kruse Home Improvement
Choose the correct tile size. Choosing the correct tile size is very important. A large tile in a small room can make the room appear even smaller. For small rooms, small tiles work great.  For larger rooms you may want to consider larger tiles such to create the right feel for the large space. Very small tiles can work great in a mosaic pattern and style which will give a nice uniform appearance throughout.

Keep it simple.Avoid kitchen backsplashes with too many colors and patterns as they may appear nice at first but over time, a classic or neutral looking backsplash will outlast the trends.

Monday, October 22, 2012

KHI Quarterly V3 Q4 - Fall 2012

Window Replacement: Saving you Time, Energy and Money

Are you ready to replace those old, hard to open, drafty windows? Windows are often the last thing homeowners think about when it comes to home improvement, especially in the face of more exciting and fun projects like redoing a kitchen, bathroom or putting in hardwood flooring. If you’d like to save money this coming winter now is the best time to replace your windows. There are many advantages to replacing your windows.  Here are some reasons to consider it:

Home replacement windows can add significant value to your house just by improving your energy efficiency. After all, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that as much as one third of the average home’s heat loss occurs through windows and doors! Today’s modern windows are draft free and will keep your home more comfortable on those cold winter days.

Investing in energy-efficient window replacements will result in lower heating bills. Did you know that poorly performing doors and windows can account for up to 40 percent of a home's heat loss during winter? That's 40 percent of what you pay each month to heat your home, literally flying out your window. This is usually the most convincing reason for homeowners to replace their windows. After all, who doesn't want to save money? Energy efficient windows can also give you a major selling point when you go to list your property in a highly competitive market.

Choosing Energy Star windows which comply with the Energy Code is a huge benefit to homeowners. Government-approved Energy Star labels can make a significant impact on your energy savings. According to the US government (, Energy Star windows, doors, and skylights are "independently certified to perform at levels that meet or exceed strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Energy." The windows are nearly twice as efficient as windows that were made just ten years ago!

The government estimates that a typical home that uses Energy Star windows to replace its old single-pane windows can save $126-$465 per year. Replacing double-pane, clear glass windows can yield savings of $27-$111 per year. By their calculations, a typical home in New England would save roughly $465 annually by upgrading from single-pane windows. Clearly, replacing single-pane windows would be a dramatic cost-saver.

You will love how easy it is to clean your new windows. Most new windows tilt in so you can easily and safely clean them without the dangers and inconvenience of ladders.

Another great advantage to replacing your windows is the greater UV protection. Recent improvements in windows include coatings that not only help reduce heat transfer but protect your interiors from the sun’s light as well. Carpets and furniture will be less likely to fade. It will also protect your photographs and artwork too.

One of the main reasons homeowners replace their windows is to increase home value.  Replacement windows are truly a solid investment. According to the National Association of Realtors, window replacements are among the home improvements offering the biggest return on investment. In fact, homeowners can generally expect to retrieve at least 70-80 percent of their investment in window replacements. That's why Forbes calls window replacement a "recession-proof" home improvement.

So how do you know when it’s time to change your windows? Consider the year that your home was built. Does it still have the original windows? As with any part of your home, windows will also age. Other changes may be obvious as they appear outdated or worn. Wood windows may start to rot, warp, leak or have insect damage. They may be difficult to open or close and you can literally feel the drafts on a cold day.

Older single-pane windows are the biggest reason to update your windows. Single glazings are enormously inefficient and rob energy from your home (and wallet). Replacing single-pane windows is a dramatic cost-saver.

If you upgrade to double-pane windows you can expect to end chilly winter drafts, condensation, and heat loss during the winter months. You'll also notice when it’s warmer outside, your home will stay much cooler inside.

Windows can create interesting focal points, let natural light provide most of the illumination, and establish a welcoming environment for you and your family to enjoy. With today’s ever increasing fuel costs there is no better time to replace your old windows. Call us for an estimate today and this winter you can enjoy greater comfort and a fatter wallet.

 Winter Home Prep Tips

The Fall is when most homeowners start preparing their home for the winter. Below are some helpful tips to get you started.

Inspect your furnace.  Furnace filters should be changed monthly during the heating season. Dirty filters restrict airflow and increase energy use. To save money, mark your calendar monthly as a reminder to replace your filter. For convenience, purchase several filters at a time so you’ll always have them on hand. To save even more, consider switching out your thermostat for a programmable thermostat. For every degree you lower the thermostat during heating season, you’ll save between 1 and 3 percent on your heating bill.

Get the fireplace ready. Start by having your chimney cleaned. The best way to prevent a chimney fire is to have the chimney cleaned. Cleaning will remove soot and creosote that build up over time. Cap or screen the top of the chimney to keep out rodents and birds.  Stock up on fire wood and store in a dry place away from the exterior of your home. Inspect the fireplace damper for proper opening and closing. Check the mortar between the bricks and repair if necessary.

Check your exterior doors and windows. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, drafts can waste up to 30 percent of your energy use. In an older home, installing a storm door and/or storm windows can increase energy efficiency by 45 percent. That is well worth the time and effort.

Get ready for the snow. Start your snow blower before the weather is bad and have it serviced if needed. Once the snow starts, it is much more difficult to get it repaired quickly. Now is also a good time to stock up on shovels, ice scrapers and bags of ice melt and/or sand.

Be sure to have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Check the batteries in your detectors and replace them as needed. Install a carbon monoxide detector near your furnace and/or water heater. Test all detectors to ensure they work. It’s a good idea to buy a fire extinguisher or replace the one you have if it’s more than 10 years old.

Inspect your roof, gutters and downspouts. Before winter hits, you should replace all worn roof shingles or tiles. Clean out your gutters and use a hose to spray water down the downspouts to clear any debris. Consider installing leaf guards on the gutters or extensions on the downspouts to direct water away from the home.

Prevent plumbing freezes. Locate your water main in the event you need to shut it off in an emergency. Take in your garden hoses and shut off the outside water. If your AC has a water shut-off valve, turn it off. It’s a good idea to insulate exposed  plumbing pipes. If you travel away from home for a number of days, leave your heat set to at least 55 degrees.

Prepare for an emergency.  Living in the Northeast, it’s a good idea to stock up on indoor candles and matches or lighters for use during a power outage. Keep the utility companies numbers handy and get extra batteries for flashlights and a radio. Store extra bottled water and non-perishable food items, including pet food if you have a pet, blankets and a first aid kit to easily access if need be. It’s never a bad idea to prepare an evacuation plan in the event of an emergency.

For more information on anything you see in our newsletter or if you'd like to obtain a quote, contact us at 860-584-8784. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Guidance For Home Improvement

Big home improvements may make a hole in your pocket. Even if you manage home improvements and the money involved in it, you should ensure that the corresponding value addition to your property is much more than your actual expenditure.

Many homeowners fail to save enough money for home upgradation. For such people, the lenders and other financial institutions may prove helpful. These lenders can provide you home improvement loans at competitive rates. The loan market is going through a very competitive phase where every lender is trying to outdo the other. In such a scenario, the customer is the king. 

Anyway, after arranging the finance the next question that arises is how to use the funds in a best possible manner. After all, home improvement loans carry a price and you have to repay such loans with due interest. The best bet lies in ensuring that the property value of your condominium rises more than what you spend on it. In particular, this aspect assumes a greater significance if you want to sell your condo.

If your condo has laminated floors and they are in good condition then what is the point in ripping them out and install real wood or a higher quality laminate floor. Instead, you can explore and adopt some other means to make your condo look beautiful. Many real estate experts believe that the money spent on your kitchen brings in the highest return on investment. After all, a new buyer usually heads to the kitchen before seeing other things. You should keep these things in mind if you are doing home improvements with an intention of selling out the condo.

To make up for the monetary requirements, you can apply for home improvement loans. These loans are also available online. The rate of interest usually starts from 6.5 per cent and may go higher up as per your individual circumstances.