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Home Improvement & Remodeling

A Closer Look at How Long Certain Systems in Your Home Last

How long should a furnace or water heater last in your home? We’re answering that question and more today.

Today we’re going to be talking about costly, big-ticket repair items in your home. A well-maintained home should last decades, if not centuries. We’ve sold homes built in the 1800s, new construction homes, and everything in between. One of the things we get asked about a lot is how long certain appliances and systems last in a home. Let’s take a look at a few of the most common ones we get asked about.

A forced-air furnace might last 20 years, while a boiler might last 50 years or more. A roof on a home will last at least 25 years, but it's not uncommon to see them last longer than that. A water heater should get you at least 10 to 12 years.

"A water heater should get you 10 to 12 years at least.”

How often do you have to paint the outside of your home? For a lot of them, it might be in the range of five to seven years, but some products can last a lot longer than that.

There are a lot of different types of properties in Minnesota and they all have...

Do Fogged Windows Need to Be Entirely Replaced?

If you’ve got fogged windows, you may want to think twice before entirely replacing them. In some cases, the fix may be more simple (and less expensive) than that.

Today I’d like to shed some light on a common concern among buyers and sellers in our market: fogged windows. This seemingly small detail can cause a lot of anxiety, as many people assume that the only way to fix a fogged window is to replace it entirely. But replacing windows can be a pricey project, especially if more than one is being replaced. So before you take the plunge and replace the whole fixture, contact a company that deals with fogged window glass. The solution may be as simple as replacing the glass pane. If this is the case, you could easily save thousands compared to what a window replacement would cost.


How to Prevent and Handle a Fire

While a fire may seem like something that will never happen to you or your family, it is critical to know what to do if one does. Being knowledgeable on both preventing and on handling a fire could be the difference between life and death.

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Homeownership is rewarding, but, like any part of life, it comes with certain risks.

No one ever thinks that they will have a fire in their home. However, we're here to...

Avoid Damage by Preparing Your Home for Winter

It’s very important to prepare your home for winter. Otherwise, you could run into some costly problems down the road.

For example, you need to take care of the exterior faucets on your home in order to avoid water damage. First, go inside your home and disconnect the water line. Then, go outside and disconnect any hoses. Open up the faucet valves to relieve any pressure from water left in the pipe. Once that is done, go back inside and finish draining the pipe.


Is Your Home Prepared for the Minnesota Winter?

With fall in full swing, today we’d like to ask you one simple question: is your home ready for the winter months? There are a few things you can do to the exterior of your home now to winterize it and avoid costly problems in the future:

1. Trim back your trees and bushes. If there are branches up against the exterior of your home, cut them back. In our climate, the high winds that we experience can cause those branches to freeze and scrape your...

Avoid Costly Water Problems in the Twin Cities

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We all know the phrase, “Spring showers bring May flowers.” Today, we’re focusing on avoiding costly water problems by getting your Twin Cities home ready for the spring. Here are some common mistakes we come across in the surrounding community, that could easily be avoided if you know about them ahead of time.

  1. There is not a strong enough drain-away from the home into the yard....

How to Protect Your Twin Cities Home from Winter Damage

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Winter weather is a double-edged sword. Snow provides opportunities for us to enjoy ourselves, but it can also cause problems in and around our homes.

Ice dams are sheets of ice that form on the roof due to heat loss from the inside of your home. If left untreated, they can cause water to back up under the roof shingles. This water can then enter your home through your ceiling or exterior wall cavity and cause some serious problems for you down the road.

What is the best way to prevent an ice dam from forming? Well, the best way is to see if there is an ice buildup on the outside of the home. If there is ice buildup around gutters and there are icicles forming, it might be an indication that there is heat loss which is melting snow and causing water to run. Preventative maintenance is necessary to ensure that you have no major problems with ice dams. All you need to do is strap on some boots and walk around your home from time to time.

If you aren't sure whether you have ice...

Home Repair Programs for North Minneapolis Tornado Victims

Minneapolis has received a $750,000 grant for North Side tornado repairs from Minnesota's Housing Board.

The money is to be dispensed in interest-free loans of up to $30,000 repayable when the house sells. The 30-year interest-free loans will be available for households earning less than 115 percent of area median income.

In other closely related new, an arrangement has been worked out for Minneapolis homeowners with tornado damage to access loans from a separate $1 million Quick Start fund that was awarded to the city by the state. So far, only five North Side homes have received Quick Start money, for a total of about $150,000.

Source: Star Tribune


Anoka County Home Weatherization Program Expands

157 residents were going to receive weatherization assistance from the Anoka County Community Action Program. Now, thanks to $1.6 million in federal stimulus money, the program will be available to nearly 300 more. Additionally, workers will be able to look more closely at more clients' energy use than they've been able to in the past. This will enable them to find more solutions to bring a home's utility costs down.

Anoka County's allocation is part of $131 million in stimulus weatherization aid being distributed throughout the state. The federal money allows ACCAP to triple its client load and raises the average allocation per home from $3,000 to $6,500.

The program is available to county residents who qualify for federal home heating aid. The cutoff is about 200% of federal poverty guidelines, or $44,100 a year for a family of four. Those with the highest energy consumption generally get first priority because unusually high energy bills signal that something in the home is malfunctioning. After that, seniors have priority, then disabled residents.

"Before they have the work they're turning to us saying they don't know where else to turn," said Donna Mattson, ACCAP's housing services director. "They're having trouble with their bills; this allows them to put more money toward other bills. Their furnace is dying or has gone, and they're just in a panic."

Sometimes, workers are able to solve problems that had caused a real hazard. In one mobile home, the furnace had been out for a year, but the client had sky-high gas bills because she was paying to run a leaking hot-water heater. She also had been heating the entire place using space heaters.

ACCAP has added 16 full-time auditor and staff positions, and 15 part-time contractor positions to accommodate the extra money and work. The ACCAP's goal is to weatherize 450 qualifying families' homes by next...

Minneapolis & Saint Paul Partner Up for Weatherization Assistance Program

There is some economic and evironmental good news in the housing and construction sector. More than $10 billion of federal stimulus funding to retrofit homes, businesses and government buildings to be more energy efficient is starting to hit communities around the country, including Minnesota, Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Building energy retrofits save energy and reduce pollution at the same time they put people to work.

Energy use in buildings accounts for nearly 40% of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. Low-cost technologies and certain construction practices can cut energy use in many buildings by up to 30%. That difference could translate into cost savings and implementing the fixes will create jobs.

Cities that receive retrofit funds from the Minnesota Weatherization Assistance Program are spending the money quickly to create jobs. They're also trying to make sure they invest these resources in the best way possible for the best long term benefits.

And Minneapolis and Saint Paul are doing a good job. Our Twin Cities have partnered up to work together and have set a daring goal of retrofitting all the buildings in their city limits within 10 years. The Twin Cities have engaged a partnership of state and local agencies, utilities, industry groups, organized labor and community-based nonprofits to create a comprehensive system to get the work done.

There are other communities throughout Minnesota that have money waiting for home weatherization. Want to know what the requirements are? Want to find out if you qualify? Check out the Minnesota Housing website. ...