Articles Tagged "Remodel"

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Buy a Home | 2 Posts
Sell a Home | 1 Posts
September
1

6 Home Remodeling Projects That Pay Off

No matter what kind of dream renovation project you may be planning, make sure to understand your potential return on investment before you begin.

These six home projects can maximize your home's value paying off in the long run.

  1. Landscaping
    If your yard could use a little TLC, a landscaping redesign can increase curb appeal and the equity in your home.  

    Invest in a few flowering shrubs — a splash of color at the front of your home will catch the eye of potential buyers. Use one color and vary the height of plants for impact. Trim overgrown shrubs. Add two or three large planters that feature a variety of colorful flowers.

    Spread fresh mulch around plants and trees. Add a charming focal point like a flagstone walkway or fountain.

  2. Exterior Improvements
    First impressions are key — giving the outside of your home a fresh look can increase its value and improve the chances of a sale.

    Paint the exterior, including the trim. Paint color cards can help you choose color combinations that look amazing. Don't forget the front door. Remove old awnings for an updated look.

    Get rid of damaged railings and replace them with inviting natural wood.

    Add a pergola and columns to give a humdrum porch an elegant makeover.

  3. Minor Bathroom Remodel
    A minor bathroom remodel can make your home look much more modern and inviting. Re-caulk the tub. If your bathtub is chipped and worn, consider installing a new tub surround that fits snugly over it and makes it look brand-new.

    Remove old wall coverings (especially old wallpaper) and give the walls a fresh coat of paint in a neutral color. Spackle and sand holes before painting.

    Put in new flooring — linoleum or tile.

    Replace or remove old shower doors. A curtain that can be opened or pulled back will create an illusion of space.

  4. Minor Kitchen Remodel
    To many people the kitchen is the most important room in the house, so improving it can add quite a bit of value.

    Sand and paint cabinets and drawers. Replace cabinet hardware to give the kitchen a fresh look.

    If countertops are very dated or worn, install new ones. If you are on a tight budget, Formica® or other affordable man-made material will do. If your budget will allow, consider stone or granite.

    A worn, vinyl floor can be a turnoff; consider replacing it with new luxury flooring. New appliances update your kitchen and can be a real plus for potential buyers.

    Add detail by changing curtains, towels, and other accessories.

  5. Windows
    New windows can make a dramatic difference and increase the value of your home. New windows increase energy efficiency and can keep the indoor environment more comfortable. There is an array of materials from which to choose — including vinyl, wood, and composite materials. In hotter climates, consider double-pane windows with low e-glass. It reflects heat, and argon gas inside the pane prevents heat and cold transference within the window.

  6. Roof
    If your roof is over 20 years old, it may be time to replace it. Missing or curled-up shingles are a precursor to a leaky roof. If you see daylight or the roof's leaking, it is definitely time to replace it. There are a few options when it comes to roofing, such as shingles, tile, slate, or rubber. Make sure to do your research and be clear about what will work best for your house. Don't forget to ask about proper drainage, too.

If you're hoping to add value to your home, then you can't go wrong with these projects.

August
25

Red Hot Ideas For Planning A Green Remodel

Does your home need a reboot? Remodeling projects don't have to be major to make a major difference in your home. If you're considering an update, you're already on the right track because most permanent updates offer a return on your investment eventually. But some investments actually pay off two-fold. These upgrades increase the value of your home while decreasing your carbon footprint, and some decrease the ongoing cost of utilities too. From energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs to more eco-friendly floors and windows, green renovation choices are red hot right now, and for good reason.

Whether you care about the environment or you're worried about rising utility costs, start with making greener choices around the house. When it comes to home improvement, it's hard to beat a green remodel, but here are some of the smartest planet-saving upgrades to date.

  • Retrofit Your Bathrooms with Low Flow Plumbing
    Water is necessary for your everyday routine, but how much water? If your toilets and faucets haven't been updated in the past few years, you're probably wasting — and paying for — more water than you actually need. Consider replacing or modifying your plumbing fixtures with newer units that are designed to reduce water waste. For example, low-flow toilets often come with tax credits because they save so much water, while flow reducers are available for your existing sink faucets and showerheads. You'll notice the difference next time you get a water bill, and your bathroom updates will also add value for potential buyers who always look for modern fixtures in bathrooms.

  • Reseal or Replace Your Windows
    Inefficient or improperly sealed windows are bad news for your energy bill. If you have outdated windows, broken seals, or both, these openings could be your biggest sources of summertime heat gain and wintertime heat loss. Low-E window tints can seriously reduce the glares, UV rays, and temperature changes that make it indoors, while a new application of caulking and window stripping is essential for every single window to prevent drafts and keep your house insulated. If there's room in the home improvement budget for new panes, look for double or triple pane windows that contain multiple panes and moisture-absorbing spacers between them.

  • Opt for Sustainable Surfaces
    Are you planning a renovation that includes a new living room floor? Do your home improvement goals include replacing your kitchen cabinets or countertops? If you want to replace any surfaces in your home, make sure you choose materials that are sustainable, recycled, or both. Bamboo flooring is a fantastic alternative to hardwood or carpet because it's durable, waterproof, soft, and made from carefully harvested bark. It also happens to be on-trend right now, thanks to its distinctive patterns and textured child-friendly surfaces. Your countertops are another great place to go green. Today, you can get beautiful countertop slabs composed entirely of recycled glass, paper, or wood.

  • Upgrade to Energy Star Appliances
    Sometimes, the smartest home improvement decisions are appliance purchases. If your fridge, washer, dryer, dishwasher, oven, furnace, AC unit, or other major appliances are more than a decade old, replacing them will improve your home's value and bring your indoor aesthetic into the 21st century. It will also save you money on a daily basis by seriously reducing the amount of energy you need to cook, clean, and store your food. Any new appliance is probably more energy-efficient than the older models in your home right now, but make sure you look for Energy Star appliances for extra savings and sustainability. These appliances are certified to conserve resources and make your home greener.

With these tips, you'll be on track to having a greener, more energy-efficient home.

December
30

Renovations That Can Decrease Your Home's Value

Your home is a special place where you can relax after a long day. While wanting to make home improvements that increase comfort and value is normal, some renovations can end up costing you money in the long run by decreasing your home's resale value. Take a look at some of the riskiest home investments that may not return your money.

  1. Wall-to-Wall Carpeting
    While wall-to-wall carpeting provides a cushion under your feet, it shows wear-and-tear and stains much faster than hardwood floors. Today's home buyers want hardwood floors that reflect warm tones and updated design style. Both real hardwood and laminate floors can increase your home's resale price by 5%.

  2. Too Much Wallpaper
    With busy textures and patterns, wallpaper can leave a bad impression on potential homebuyers. While you may love it in your home, homebuyers may view it as a potential nightmare that will cost time and money to remove. Too much wallpaper may cost you a sale when a homeowner wants a move-in-ready home.

  3. Bright, Bold Paint Colors
    While some people are inspired by bright, bold paint colors, others are over-stimulated and intimidated, especially if they lack design experience or vision. To boost your home's resale value and to speed up your sale, it's best to keep a neutral palette so homebuyers can envision themselves living in your home.

  4. Lavish Lighting Fixtures
    With such a variety of beautiful light fixtures, homeowners often choose lavish ceiling-mounted fixtures, chandeliers, and pendants. While they may love the look, potential homebuyers may be turned off by fancy features and glitzy finishes. It's best to choose lighting fixtures that appeal to a variety of buyers when you're ready to sell.

  5. High-End Kitchens
    Many homeowners invest big bucks in a kitchen remodel, but this is a costly investment that doesn't always pay off. In 2020, the national average for a major kitchen remodel was $68,490, but the resale value was only $40,127. If you're planning to sell your home, make sure a costly kitchen remodel gives you a good return.

  6. Luxurious Bathrooms
    An upgraded bathroom can certainly add value to your home, but don't get carried away with the idea of luxury. Potential buyers may be scared off by over-the-top, luxurious features and finishes that are hard to clean and maintain. Before installing a whirlpool tub, rain shower, and crystal chandeliers make sure your investment will pay off.

  7. Home Office Conversions
    While a home office may be beneficial during the COVID-19 pandemic, it may not be in demand when everyone returns to the office. If you have an extra room that's rarely used, a home office may be a good idea, but converting a bedroom to a home office will likely be a costly mistake when you decide to sell your home.

  8. Sunroom Additions
    Adding a sunroom to your home may be a great way to enjoy outdoor views and warm weather. However, remodeling experts list it as one of the worst home renovations when it comes to a return on your investment. A $75,000 investment in a sunroom may only recoup $35,000 when you sell your home.

  9. Swimming Pools and Hot Tubs
    Contrary to popular belief, adding swimming pools and hot tubs are not the best way to add value to your home. According to HouseLogic, swimming pools and hot tubs only increase home value by 7%, while raising maintenance, utility, and repair costs by as much as 30%.

Before you invest in expensive home renovations, make sure you can recoup your investment costs when you decide to sell your home. Think twice about costly renovations that may cost you profits.

      August
      20

      Turn an Unfinished Basement into a Family Retreat

      Once upon a time, an unfinished basement was a common sight that hardly deserved a second glance, let alone a full-scale home improvement project. It was a space for storage and sometimes included a small area where adults or kids could carve out a little time for themselves. Today, the unfinished basement is a hidden gem just waiting to be transformed into the house's best room. There are so many practical ways to renovate this functional space that most homeowners can complete this home improvement project over the course of a few weekends. If you're ready to turn your unfinished basement into a family retreat, consider taking on one of these home improvement projects.

      • The Multipurpose Space
        One of the best home improvement projects for an unfinished basement is turning it into a multipurpose space. Instead of dedicating the area to one sole purpose, make the most of the space by creating a laundry center, a small workshop for household repairs, a storage corner, and a small sitting space for guests or kids to enjoy. An unfinished basement is a perfect space to include whatever necessary functional space the rest of the house doesn't contain.
      • The Activity Space
        This home improvement project aims to make the space accessible for everyone in your family who may have different hobbies or passions. From arts and crafts to music, completing puzzles, reading, and more, the activity space should be a transitional area that accommodates your family's evolving interests. For adults, be sure to make some room to the side for your exercise equipment as well.
      • The Playground
        If you have a wild group of little ones who love to get crazy with their play, you'll be thankful that your unfinished basement can turn into a playground. This home improvement project is relatively simple. First, make the flooring soft using thick carpet or foam/rubber play pads. You will also want to paint the wall with durable paints that can endure wear and tear. Relocate most of the toys into this space, and you'll have a safe area where kids can excitedly make a mess without damaging or cluttering up other areas of the home.
      • The Hangout
        As your children get older, they'll need a place of their own. An unfinished basement that was a playground can easily transition into a hangout area for big kids without investing in an expensive home improvement project. Swap the toys for a few beanbag chairs, a futon, and add a television set complete with surround sound and gaming systems to create an awesome area. Let your teens design the room too, by hanging posters or picking the décor theme.
      • The Lounge
        Of course, adults deserve their own area, too, and this is one home improvement project you'll love. Take that unfinished basement and turn it into an adults-only lounge where you can enjoy a drink in peace. A small bar or bar cart, comfortable sofas, pool table, dartboard, and even a small wet bar with a kitchenette will make this space ideal for entertaining adults.
      • The Secluded Hideaway
        Here's a little home improvement project for guests and moms and dads. By converting your unfinished basement into a guest bedroom, you are actually creating a little hideaway that you can use whenever you'd like. Outfit the space with plush carpet, warm colors, comfortable pillows, and a plush bed. If you can, renovate the bathroom to include a tub for soaking. Tell the kids that this room is for guests only and sneak away to spoil yourself with a little solitude whenever you can.

      Your unfinished basement has the potential to become the coolest room in your home. With a little creativity and supplies, this home improvement project can completely revolutionize the room into the perfect family retreat.  

      January
      30

      How to Build a Home Entertainment Theater

      Are you considering a new home improvement project that will transform your room into something spectacular? Build your very own home entertainment theater! Imagine the fun you could have with your family and friends as you watch your favorite flicks without leaving the house. Popcorn, privacy, and the perfect company — movie nights will never be the same after you've hosted your own screening from the comfort of your personal theater. Believe it or not, building your own home entertainment theater is possible for homeowners of all budgets.

      With a little planning, budgeting, and hard work, you can have the home theater of your dreams within a few days. Follow these steps and forever change the way you watch movies at home.

      • Step 1: Plan Your Theater
        Planning is the most important part of every home improvement project, especially ones that include multiple elements. Depending on the room you choose, you'll need to complete renovations to the windows, acoustics, and flooring. You'll also need to consider what technology you want to incorporate and how it will need to be installed.

      • Step 2: Prepare Your Room for Remodeling
        The depth of the remodeling is up to you, but understand that the audio, video, and lighting equipment that you choose may require extensive renovations. For instance, you may choose to hide the wires of your home theater which will involve removing and replacing drywall. If you don't want to use sound barriers, you may also need to insulate the walls, floor, and ceiling. Be sure to enlist the help of a professional if you're doing extensive remodeling, especially when electrical work is necessary.

      • Step 3: Gather Your Gear
        The gear you choose will be based on your budget and the intensity of the experience you desire. For some homeowners, a large flat-screen TV and small speaker system is adequate while others will prefer a professional projection screen and surround sound throughout the room. Here are a few pieces of equipment you will need: a video source, HDMI cables, LED TV, HD projector, sound system, speakers, speaker wires, and receivers.

      • Step 4: Complete the Renovations
        Once the structural renovations are finished and wiring is complete, you can then begin to install the AVL equipment. If you're purchasing new equipment, a professional should be available to help you install it and teach you how to operate it properly.

      • Step 5: Make the Room Comfy
        With the tech in place, it's time to furnish the room. Before you purchase new furniture, consider the different variations of seating you could create. A large sectional could accommodate many people along the same sightline or you could create two-to-three rows of small sofas or chairs on risers so that everyone has a clear field of vision.  

      • Step 6: Test the Theater's Quality
        Before you start assigning seats, you'll need to go through a dress rehearsal to ensure that everything works perfectly. Choose a movie that has a range of sounds — dialog, music, action, suspense — to make sure the audio levels don't spike or bottom out. Watch the film and make sure that the clarity of the picture is clear and not disturbed by any lighting in the room. Finally, sit in all of the seats to make sure no one's vision will be obscured.

      • Step 7: Schedule Your First Showing
        It's showtime! Pop the popcorn, pour a few drinks, and settle in with your audience for your own private showing. Now that your home theater is fully operational, you can host movie night any night of the week!

      Building a home theater is a surprisingly practical and affordable home improvement project. With a little creativity, planning, and elbow grease, you can create an amazing home entertainment theater for your family to enjoy every day of the year!

      April
      11

      Home Sellers: 5 Exterior Features Buyers Want

      If you're thinking about selling your home, now is the time to start making any necessary renovations and updates. While you might think you know exactly what needs to be done, it's smart to talk to a real estate agent before you get started. He or she will be able to tell you exactly which features are most popular with homebuyers so you can focus your time and money on the projects most likely to improve your bottom line. 

      While buyers often have varying priorities when it comes to a home's interior, most may want the same features on the outside. Investing in the following five projects will help increase the chances of selling your home for top dollar. 

      1. Exterior Lighting
        Illuminating the outside of your house with landscape lighting and spotlights can transform it from a beautiful home to one that's absolutely breathtaking. Not only will it bring attention to the home's architectural features and perfectly manicured lawn, but it also adds an element of safety that's highly desirable. Add solar-powered lights, motion-sensors, and smart lights to make an even greater impact. 
      2. Outdoor Patio
        If you have a large backyard, potential buyers will love imagining themselves relaxing outdoors with a cool drink in their hand. An outdoor patio and seating area expand your home's livable space, making it more attractive to potential buyers.

        Adding a well-designed concrete patio is one of the best ways to make your home appear larger without undertaking a major renovation. If you already have a patio, put the effort into repairing it and making it look as new as possible. This small project can bring a huge return on investment. 
      3. Firepit
        Homes with outdoor fire pits allow owners to enjoy spending time in the backyard almost all year long. A nice-looking firepit will entice homebuyers, especially if it runs on natural gas. Build a beautiful structure, and you're likely to recoup almost all of your investment in the form of a higher sale price.

        Before jumping into this project, make sure you're following all of the local ordinances and necessary safety precautions. The last thing you want to do is add something to your home that will cause you problems down the line. 
      4. Landscaping/Garden
        Even if you don't make any major changes to the outside of your home, paying attention to your landscaping and garden will have a major impact on its curb appeal. Fertilize your lawn, touch up the mulch, and trim your bushes and overgrown trees.

        Maintain your perennial flower beds and add some annuals for instant color. If you have unique plants around your home, consider labeling them as they might help attract the right kind of buyer. Finish your project off by adding a water feature to make your yard feel like a relaxing oasis. 
      5. Outdoor Kitchen
        Outdoor living is hugely popular right now, making a great outdoor kitchen one of the most coveted features for home buyers. Depending on the scope of the project and the size and location of the home, sellers adding an outdoor kitchen can typically expect to break even or make as much as 20 percent back on their investment.

        When building an outdoor kitchen, you'll want to focus it around the grill and make sure you have plenty of counter space. Keep it simple and avoid adding extras like a pizza oven, as the new homebuyer might not want these features, causing them to be undervalued. 
      May
      31

      Use Lighting to Transform Your Home

      Interested in giving the interior of your home a fresh, new look, but not interested in home improvement projects that require knocking down walls or major remodeling? While it is often overlooked by homeowners when redecorating, the lighting that you choose plays an important role in bringing out the best of your home. The right lighting can help you decorate your home in style, bring life to lesser used rooms, and even help small spaces appear bigger than they really are. Today, we're going to take a closer look at key tips for transforming your home with interior lighting.

      Lighten the Mood: Tips for Transforming Your Home with Interior Lighting


      Choosing the right lighting to transform your home depends on an understanding of the latest trends, along with the classic concepts of interior lighting. By taking advantage of both, you can create a unique, new look for your home.

      • Pendant Lighting Is In – Pendant lighting, which hangs from the ceiling, is a very popular look, especially in kitchen areas. It's perfect over a kitchen island, or for making a small room with a tall ceiling feel roomier than it actually is. You'll find plenty of unique, modern looks if you choose to shop for pendant lighting as part of your next home improvement project.

      • Spreading the Light Around – No matter what type of lighting you choose for a room, it's important to make sure that the light is spread around. One lamp or large light in the center of the room just isn't enough, and spreading the light around is another easy way to make a room feel bigger.

      • Ceiling Fan or Chandelier – Looking to bring new life to a den, living room, or master bedroom? Consider installing a chandelier instead of a ceiling fan, which will provide plenty of light while serving as a centerpiece of your interior decorating in the room. Of course, chandeliers are also a great, classic choice for dining areas.

      • Lovely Lamps – In addition to the light that they provide, the lamps in your home are the perfect place to show off your sense of style and accent your interior design. Lamps come in all shapes and sizes, from attractive antique pieces to one-of-a-kind DIY creations, so with a little digging you're sure to find something that fits your sense of style. Since you can move them around, lamps are also great for spreading the light around each room.

      • Bringing Light to Darker Places – While the lighting fixtures that you choose are naturally a key part of the process, sometimes transforming your home with lighting is as simple as making sure that light is reaching all of the right places. Dark corners and heavy shadows can make a large room look small, so be sure that each room has enough lighting to look its best.

      • Wall Lights for Tight Spots – Not every room or alcove will have enough space for large light fixtures, so consider using designer wall lights in tight areas that could use some extra light. Wall lights are ideal for corners, closets, and other tight spaces in your home.

      Smart, stylish lighting choices can make such a difference in the interior of your home, and new lighting is often inexpensive compared to larger home improvement projects. There's also a ton of room to customize your lighting based on what suits your taste, and what you hope to accomplish with your lighting in each room. Next time you're thinking about ways to re-imagine your home's interior, be sure that lighting is near the top of the list.

      April
      5

      Budgeting for Renovations

      Turning a house into a home can be an expensive process.


      When contractors are remodeling your bathroom, kitchen, or bedroom, renovation costs sometimes exceed your expectations.  That happens more often than you might imagine.

      Contractors can find mold inside the bathroom walls while installing new fixtures. Your aging living room carpet may be hiding dry-rotted hardwood. You might not anticipate these conditions but you'll still have to pay the cost and this can be frustrating. Before you begin your next home improvement project, consider these options to help you budget for unseen costs.

      Understand the costs

      Calculating the dollars and cents might burst your remodeling bubble, but it can force you to focus on what's most important. Before you make any decisions, discuss pricing with your contractor. Get a written estimate as well, but understand the estimate will include standard home improvement tasks and visible extras. Some cost additions might be out of your contractor's control.

      • Materials and fixture prices may increase between the time your contractor orders them and the day they're delivered.
      • Unavailable materials may be replaced with more expensive options.
      • The job may require more time to complete, which translates into higher labor costs.
      • The estimates may not include the cost of insurance, permits, and state required certificates.

      Be realistic

      Do you insist on a kitchen remodel that includes granite countertops, marble tile, a custom farmhouse sink and an expensive new stainless refrigerator? If you live in an upscale community, your taste for the finer things in life might increase your home's value. If not, your costly renovations may feel like a waste of money when it's time to sell your home. Be realistic when you plan your home remodel. Make decisions based on the home and neighborhood where you live not the one you dream about.

      DIY to reduce costs

      The concept of sweat equity places a value on the work you're willing to perform to improve your property. Even if you have limited experience working with tools, you can paint, spackle, lay tile, and complete other tasks to reduce your remodeling costs.

      Put a cap on your spending

      Once you get a handle on the estimated costs for what you want, create a budget you can stick to. An experienced contractor should have a good idea of the potential for remodeling "surprises." Discuss the possibility ahead of time and factor them into your calculations.

      Arrange project financing

      Even when you have enough cash on hand to pay for your renovations, financing your home improvement might be a better option. A major project can deplete the savings it took you years to accumulate. Instead of using your hard-earned cash, consider one of the following:

      • Home Equity Loan: a single lump sum loan using home equity as collateral
      • Home Equity Line of Credit: a revolving line of credit with a variable interest rate
      • Cash-out refinance: refinance your home for more than you owe and receive cash back

      Remodeling surprises happen

      Whether big or small, your remodeling job will require that your contractor juggle a hundred little details. Surprises happen, but you can handle the potential for unforeseen renovations when you plan ahead.

      March
      8

      Fireplace Safety and Efficiency Tips

      Whether it's for the cozy ambiance fireplaces create or simply for the practical use of reducing heating costs, many buyers have a fireplace on their list of wants when buying a home.

       

      Here are three "hot" tips for keeping your home fireplace burning safely and efficiently.

      1. Fireplace Preventive Maintenance

      Excessive heat and chimney fires are produced by the buildup of creosote—a highly-combustible byproduct (mostly tar) of burning wood. Whether using your fireplace year-round, seasonally or just when the mood strikes you, chimney preventive maintenance is an essential home improvement project for keeping your home safe.

      • Chimney inspection: Hire a chimney service technician to inspect your chimney at least once a year. Loose bricks, cracks, missing mortar and damaged dampers and lining may need to make your home improvement list.
      • Chimney cap: Chimney caps with spark arrestors (metal screens) prevent snow, rain, animals, and debris from entering the chimney. Moreover, spark arrestors prevent floating embers from escaping the chimney and possibly setting your roof ablaze. Your technician ensures the chimney cap and spark arrestor are functioning properly.
      • Chimney sweep: A 2016 report by the National Fire Protection Association states that the leading factor for home heating fires was a failure to clean the chimney.

      2. Building a Fire

      Learning how to build a home fireplace fire safely and efficiently are excellent skills to master. There's more to it than tossing some wood in the firebox, dousing it with lighter fluid and—uh-oh—don't do that! Be patient, and take fire building seriously.

      • Choosing wood: Only burn dry, cured wood. High moisture levels in wood create more smoke, doesn't burn as efficiently and tends to produce more creosote. Cover your woodpile, but leave the sides exposed to airflow. Hickory, white oak, beech, and other hardwoods burn longer than spruce and white pine. However, sufficiently dry firewood is more important than the species and density.
      • Building a fire: Open the damper first. Next, place larger logs in the back of the firebox. Put smaller logs on top of the larger ones. On top, place your wood kindling and tinder, such as bunched-up newspaper balls. This "upside down" fire will burn cleaner and hotter than placing kindling and tinder on the bottom. Remember, start slowly, be patient and build up.
      • Only burn firewood: Your fireplace isn't an incinerator. Disposing of crates, construction scraps and painted or stained wood, for example, may seem harmless enough, but treated woods release harmful chemicals into your home.

      3. Fireplace Safety and Efficiency

      Be mindful of the fireplace surroundings and the fire. Keep tinder, such as newspaper and other combustibles, at a safe distance. Use these tips to keep the warm glow inside the firebox.

      • Spark guard: When you cozy up with your significant other in front of your fireplace, sure, you want sparks to fly—but not sparks from the fireplace fire! Close the mesh spark guard when the glass doors are open.
      • Dampers: You don't want your energy dollars going up the chimney. Close the damper and glass doors when you are not using the fireplace.
      • Alarms: Test your smoke alarms and CO detectors at least twice a year. Alarms/detectors should be installed outside each sleeping area, on each level of your home and about 8 to 10 feet from your fireplace and any doors to attached garages.

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