What You Need to Know: Power Outage in Freezer

When the power goes out a major concern is the freezer full of food. So how do you know if you food is safe and how can you keep it from spoiling?

First, do not open the freezer door. A freezer full of food will usually keep about two days if the door is kept shut. It should last about a day if it is half-full. If the freezer is not full, group packages together they will retain the cold more effectively. You can also pack your freezer with dry ice, block ice, or bags of ice in the freezer.

Use an appliance thermometer to monitor the temperature of the freezer. Food that retained a temperature of (40 °F), it is safe to refreeze or use. The food may also still be safe to use if ice crystals remain in the food.

Discard foods that have been warmer than 40 °F for more than 2 hours.

Should You Refinance Your Home?

It’s no secret that the best time to finance a home is when mortgage interest rates are low. You could save thousands of dollars over the lifetime of your mortgage if you finance at the right time. With interest rates still being low, some wonder why more people aren’t refinancing their homes, especially if doing so would save them $100 or more a month on their mortgage payments.

Although low interest rates are a primary reason to consider refinancing a home, it’s not the only reason. Other reasons to consider refinancing include:

  • Ready to adjust length of the loan – Refinancing your home could allow you to extend the number of years that you have to pay for your house, potentially lowering your monthly installments. Just be careful that you don’t end up paying higher interest rates in the long term. Of course,you could also shorten the length of your loan. Generally, this option will find you paying less interest over the lifetime of your loan.
  • Moving to a fixed rate mortgage – Adjustable rate mortgages may start out low, but they don’t always remain low. Even with a fixed rate mortgage, you could spend more on your house each month due to an increase in home owner association fees or property taxes.
  • Improved credit scores – Stronger credit scores could help you to get a better adjustable rate mortgage.

If you’ve had your mortgage for several years, you may have paid on a good deal of the principal. Refinancing and starting with a new loan could backfire, causing you to pay more interest. If you have a lot of equity in your home but you’re struggling to stay current on your monthly mortgage payments, consider renting out a room at your house.

You could also work a part-time job, even if you work a remote job from home, until you become current in your payments. A few months of work change could save you money and headaches down the road if you only need $200 or less each month to make your mortgage. Other alternatives would be to become more energy efficient and to create and stick to a budget. Think short and long term gains.

Depending on your existing mortgage, you may or may not be charged a fee to refinance your home. Some mortgages charge a prepayment fee to refinance. Simply because you’re paying the loan off early, you could be assessed the fee. Definitely check with your lender to see if such a clause is in your mortgage contract.

Take your time shopping around for a better mortgage. Regardless of the lender that you refinance your home through, you may pay refinancing fees. Some lenders may also require you to pay for another home inspection, application fee,origination fee and closing costs. Factor in all charges and fees that you will incur if you refinance your home before you sign on the dotted line.

If your home no longer meets your family’s needs, moving to a new house might be a better option than refinancing. Another time when you might not want to refinance your home is if your kids are getting ready to start college and you’ll be taking on student loans.

Choosing Your New Home

Buying a new home is a significant investment and it’s best to get it right the first time. To achieve this, it is important that you take into consideration lots of important factors before signing on the dotted line. Many people, in a state of euphoria and excitement hurry into making  decisions that they later regret. There are many important elements involved in purchasing a home that need serious consideration to avoid long term remorse.  Here are some important factors to consider when you are looking to purchase a home.

The Condition Of The home

The condition of the home you are buying is very important as it should be a true reflection of the purchase price. Here are a few specific issues you must keep an eye open for.

  • Start in the kitchen, make sure all appliances are functioning. Make sure the integrity of the kitchen cabinets are intact. Turn on the tap and leave it running for a few minutes to make sure there are no problems with the drainage system.
  • What is the capacity of the hot water system? Is it sufficient for the needs of the entire family? Check for leaks, rust and aging indicators. Be careful with this as repairing a hot water system is quite expensive.
  • Examine the walls carefully, were they recently painted? If so, do not be deceived, a fresh coat of paint could be masking existing cracks in the walls resulting in an investment of thousands of dollars to repair.
  • Tap the walls to perform a preliminary termite infestation check. You may need the services of a professional to do this for you.

Financial Requirements

After certifying that all is well with the home, you can then proceed to negotiations. Although this requires some skills, here are a few tips.

  • There is no harm in negotiating as much as possible, push as far as you can. Some individuals hire a negotiator for this, as cool as this may seem, it may not be the best idea as you are the only one who can effectively communicate your needs. It is recommended you do the negotiation yourself. You will be amazed at how much you can save.
  • Make sure you are familiar with the entire terms and conditions. What is the down payment? What is the payment plan? Are you comfortable with it, what is the interest rate? You must be familiar with all these factors before signing on the dotted line.

The History Of The House

  • It would be nice if you had a little insight into the history of the building. How do you go about this? Ask the neighbors, do your due diligence. Inquire about previous owners, ask about recent renovations, get a feel for the vibe in the neighborhood.  Get as much information as possible, in short learn the story of the house before making it your home.

In summary, there is a lot of joy and sense of fulfillment that is associated with buying a new home. In order to make this joy last, you have to get it right the first time, taking the aforementioned into consideration would help you achieve this.

 

Green Living Tips: Preserving Water in the Home

On average each person living in the Unites States uses around 90 gallons per day. That’s a lot of water. We are so fortunate to live in a country where we have easy accessible clean water, however, it is also something we easily take for granted. Using less water in our day to day lives not only means a smaller water bill each month and preservation of water, it leads to less energy usage as well .

Here are some ways to save water, and energy, around the house:

Upgrade – When it comes time to replace your old toilet look for a new one that is a low-flow model with a WaterSense label. This will ensure that each time you flush you consume less water without even thinking about it.

Instant-gratification – Installing a recirculating water pump in your home will save on energy in a big way. Recirculating pumps create warm water the instant you turn the handle which means less time waiting for the water to heat up and less unused water running down the drain.

Easy does it – Installing a low-flow shower head to your bath is another great way to limit how much water is used without even thinking about it. You can save up to 15 gallons of water per 10 minutes in the shower.

Cool it – By washing laundry in cold water, you will not only prolong the life and color of your clothes, you will also be saving on energy. In fact, around 90 percent of the energy used during a wash cycle is from heating up the water. Make the switch, literally and figuratively, and the impact will be huge.

Reuse – Most clothes are still clean after a first wearing. By getting more uses out of a garment before washing it you will prolong the lifespan of that item and use less water over time. Shirts can be worn a couple of times before washing while pants and sweaters can be worn up to five times before adding them to your next load. Speaking of, when you do wash your clothes ensure that you do a full load to further preserve water and energy with each cycle.

Switch to off – The faucet that is. There are plenty of day to day scenarios in which we leave the water running when we really don’t need it. When brushing your teeth and while soaping up when washing hands be sure to turn off the water. Fill up the sink with water when washing dishes instead of leaving the faucet running. When rinsing fruits and vegetable fill up a bowl to wash them in instead of passing them through running water. Instead of running water till it is cold keep a filled (reusable) bottle in the fridge which will be chilled and waiting for you when you need a drink.

By establishing more water conscious habits you not only save yourself some money each month but you also preserve water and energy and therefore shrink your impact on the environment. And with most of these habits being so easy and free to implement, you can’t lose!