Before you tear into a repair job, start by checking for the simplest cause instead of assuming the worst. For example, before replacing fuses or breakers, first check for burned-out bulbs. If a faucet is working poorly, check for debris lodged in the faucet's aerator before tearing the faucet apart. Likewise, first make sure equipment and appliances are plugged in. By checking for the simple causes when a problem occurs you can save yourself from wasting time, effort and money in making unnecessary repairs.
When comparing warranties, check the length of the warranty, whether or not it's pro-rated, and if it covers the labor for replacement of a defective item.
When purchasing new appliances, consider the purchase price, the cost to run, and the life expectancy of the appliance. The operating cost can be found on the appliance’s black and yellow EnergyGuide label. This label shows the average annual cost to run the appliance, and how it compares to other models in kWh used per year. A retailer can tell you the appliance’s life expectancy. Then do the math: Consider a refrigerator for $549 that costs an estimated $70 per year to run. Over 15 years the homeowner will spend $1050 in energy costs. A more efficient refrigerator selling for $749 might cost $50 per year to run. The homeowner will pay just $750 in energy costs over 15 years, a $300 savings and an energy-conscious purchase to boot. With energy costs on the rise, those savings could be even greater in the long run.
The EnergyGuide label gives you two important pieces of information you can use for comparison of different brands and models when shopping for a new refrigerator: estimated energy consumption on a scale showing a range for similar models; estimated yearly operating cost based on the national average cost of electricity.
Use small electric pans or toaster ovens for small meals rather than your large stove or oven. A toaster oven uses a third to half as much energy as a full-sized oven.
Use a toaster oven to cook small meals. A toaster oven uses a third to a half as much energy as a full-size oven.
Home warranties offer you protection for a specific period of time (e.g., one year) against potentially costly problems, like unexpected repairs on appliances or home systems, which are not covered by homeowner's insurance. Warranties are becoming more popular because they offer protection during the time immediately following the purchase of a home, a time when many people find themselves cash-strapped.
In addition to direct strikes, lightning generates electrical surges that can damage electronic equipment some distance from the actual strike. Typical surge protectors will NOT protect equipment from a lightning strike. To the extent possible, unplug any appliances or electronic equipment from all conductors well before a thunderstorm threatens. This includes not only the electrical system, but also the reception system. If you plan to be away from your home when thunderstorms are possible, be sure to unplug unneeded equipment before you leave.
Place humidifiers and dehumidifiers away from walls and bulky furniture. These appliances work best when air circulates freely around them. Be sure to clean the unit often to prevent unhealthy mold and bacteria from developing.
A pro-rated warranty reduces the amount of reimbursement according to the length of time the item has been in service.