4 Reasons to NOT Buy a Wireless Doorbell

Wireless doorbells, namely video doorbells by Ring and Nest, are all the rage these days and one of the first upgrades new home owners make to their home.

They are relatively inexpensive, practical and offer more flexibility than wired doorbell systems. However, wireless doorbells are not without their disadvantages.

As a buyer of a wireless doorbell system, you will want to be aware of these problems with wireless doorbells:

1. Frequency Limits

Most regular models range from 75 to 150 ft. This range can be fine if you live in a small home. However, if you live in a large home with a number of floors, you may have some difficulty hearing the wireless bell. To address this issue, you can do two things:

  • Purchase a long range wireless doorbell. These wireless doorbells have a range up to 300 ft or
  • Purchase wireless doorbell add-on, amplifier or extender. You can find models that work with Nutone, Heath Zenith, Thomas & Betts, Dimango, Carlon, and Broan. They come in plug-in and battery operated versions. These will allow you to expand the range of your system.

2. Interference From Outside Frequencies

A number of consumers have voiced concerns of wireless doorbells going off because of interference with other frequencies. This tends to be more of an issue in the city where the wireless doorbell’s frequency competes with garage door alarms, car clickers, and other wireless doorbells. To best address this issue, you can:

Purchase a wireless doorbell system that has multiple wireless doorbell frequencies. This will allow you to block out these competing outside frequencies.

Battery operated means they will eventually run out of juice. The good news is this is largely a non-issue. Batteries last a long time and even if you don’t want to mess with batteries, you can purchase plug-in units for the bell alarm. This means you would only then have to replace batteries in the wireless doorbell button.

3. Limited Doorbell Designs

One problem with the wireless doorbell industry is a limitation of the designs in doorbell buttons. Although the wireless bell alarms come in a ton of different kinds of design options, the actual button only comes in a few designs.

These designs usually are limited to a white cover with either a black, transparent, or white colored button. If you are looking for something a little fancier, you can look at those offered by Jacob Jensen and others. They have a more modern look.

The good news is with more interest in wireless doorbell systems it is only a matter of time before additional wireless doorbell button design options are made.

It is true that wireless doorbell systems have their share of disadvantages. However, as you can see the disadvantages tend to be minor or easily correctable. Plus, the advantages of wireless doorbells can be many: relatively inexpensive, practical and functional, flexibility in bell alarm and doorbell button location, and even weatherproof.

Our advice is to try one out while taking into account these disadvantages. We think you will be pleasantly surprised with the outcome.

7 Pest Control Tips for First Time Homeowners

Whether spiders in the house, bats in the attic, or rats, squirrels, termites, or other pests, you want to do everything you can to prevent them from getting in your new home (or getting rid of them if already there). Most people have a hard time dealing with pests in their house, and they need to work with someone who can show them how to manage their pest control issues. Someone who wants to bring their home back into balance can start making decisions that will be good for them if they have worked with a professional.

1. Close Up Entryways

Homeowners who are trying to close up entryways will find that a little bit of work in this area can go a long way. This also means that those who live in houses that are near wooded areas might need to have more work done than others. There are a few things you can do to make your home pest-proof but hiring a professional to help keep the pests out in the most efficient way possible is recommended for older homes.

2. Rodent Control

Those with rodent problems such as mice or rats need to be sure to set up traps around the problem areas where they can catch these critters as fast as they can. While many forms of rodent traps are available (poison, ultrasonic, DIY), good old fashioned snap traps are still #1. Not only are they cheap, they kill rodents quickly and you won’t have to worry about the smell of a dying mouse somewhere inside your walls. Snap traps are so easy to setup that anyone can do it.

3. Insect Control

Insects will thrive when it gets hot outside because they have have an environment where they can flourish. However, there are many homeowners who have problems with these little critters because they don’t realize that they should be placing bait traps around the house. There are a few ways that they can use these traps, and they should put them in places where they know they can get to the insects most easily. These simple things can cut back on problems in the summer.

4. Yearly Pest Control

The homeowner could hire a pest company on a yearly basis to find any problem areas, close off any entry points, and setup traps where needed. You’ll find that the outdoor traps are helpful because they prevent many pests from even getting to the house. Any bait traps that the company uses are usually not that expensive, and you can usually find the same brand at your local big box home improvement store or farm store. This makes it fairly simple for you to deter the majority of pests from coming into your home.

5. How Long Should You Leave Pest Control Measures In Place?

You can leave pest control measures in place for the whole of the year, and you can keep them updated with help from a pest control company. You might also choose to use the pest control options that you know are the best for you. You need to be sure that you have chosen something that you can manage yourself and that actually works. For example, if voles are tearing up your backyard, enclosed bait stations full of poison blocks at strategic points are the best and easiest way to get rid of them. The stations are weatherproof and you’ll simply need to replace the bait inside as it gets eaten.

6. How Much Should This Cost?

You will spend some money on these things, but you will not spend so much money that you feel like you are in a bad place financially. You can check out the options that you have for the house, cut back on expenses, and start to make choices that are best for you. You will be much more confident in the ways that you are preventing pests in the house, and you will avoid overspending because you have weighed the options that you get from a pest solution company versus the options that you can handle yourself.

7. Who Can Do This?

Anyone can figure out how to manage their own pest control if they use some basic tips. There are many people who are trying to do this on their own because it will help them save money. They will find that they can change the way their home works, and they can start to look at things that will make it easier for them to get the best possible results. Someone who has never done this before can look up a few things online, and you will set up your own pest control solution.


Uninvited guests (pests) are not something most new homeowners think about until it’s too late. By taking a few steps to keep them out of your house, you’ll possibly avoid an infestation which would require costly professional help. It’s recommended to have a pest control company come out to do an inspection of your home and yard and offer some suggestions on how to close up entry points, get rid of existing pests, and deter other critters from moving in.

Does A First Time Buyer Need A Home Warranty

is-home-warranty-worth-itWhen you’re buying your first home, you’ll want everything to be as perfect as it can be. A home warranty can bring you peace of mind that repairs will be easier if something does go wrong. This is especially true if you are not the handy, DIY type. There are a few things you should consider when thinking about a home warranty.

Do Some Research

The first thing that you should remember is that you will still need homeowners insurance to cover you if your property were to become damaged by fire, flood or storms. A home warranty will ensure that the warranty company will make simple repairs to your home at a discounted rate. Some companies may also cover you for repairs or replacements that you may need for your appliances such as a washing machine or fridge. Different companies will offer different services and the prices will vary so it pays to shop around to find a plan that has everything that you need for the right price.

What Does It Cost?

It will usually cost no more than a few hundred dollars to take out a home warranty and this is usually a cost that is paid up front. Some companies will also offer an option where you can pay in installments. The actual cost of the warranty will depend on the services that you include in your policy. The age and size of your home do not matter as much to the cost of the policy as you think it might. The main determination of cost will be the things that you want included in your policy.

Service calls are not usually included in the price that you will pay for your premium and so there will be an additional cost if someone does need to be called out to your home. So if for instance you notice that all of a sudden you don’t have hot water in your house, don’t simply call to make a warranty claim unless you actually checked to make sure your water heater pilot light was still lit. Now, if it’s something more serious like a major water heater leak, the service call is usually worth it. The actual cost will be determined by the severity of the problem, how many people are needed to fix it and the length of time the repairs will take. Any fee that does need to be paid will be considerably cheaper than if you did not have a warranty in place.

Pros Of A Home Warranty

  • If your home is more than five years old then you can expect that repairs will become more frequent and a home warranty has the potential to save you a lot of money.
  • You have peace of mind that any repair you do need can be made at a discounted rate.

Cons Of A Home Warranty

  • You may face a dispute about a claim that you have made if the home has not been properly maintained by a previous occupant.
  • If you do not need to make a claim then you will have been paying premiums for no reason.

Before you sign the contract for a warranty make sure that you are completely satisfied that you will be able to make a claim if you need to. In some cases you may be able to negotiate with the seller that they will pay for the warranty for the first year, especially if they are keen to make a quick sale.

Seasonal Storage Tips for Garage Tools

seasonal-garage-storageThe garage may not be the central location of your home, but it’s much more than just the place the car gets parked. For many people, the garage is where most home projects take place and where the tools for those projects are stored. If you’ve ever set out on the epic quest of finding the right kind of drill bit or the right size wrench then it may be time to reorganize your tools and garage. Storing tools properly can do more than just save time, it can also extend the life of your tools.

Cold Weather Prep

Spring cleaning is pretty common across the nation, but its sister season, fall cleaning, can do just as much good. In late fall before storing away lawn tools, take the time to clean them up. Whip away grass, dirt and any other debris that could be stuck on them. This will keep metal from rusting and make pulling them back out next year a breeze.

I like to also sharpen the lawn mower blade at this time along with any pruning shears. You’ll be amazed how dull a blade is after a season’s worth of mowing. sharpen-mower-bladeIt takes about 15 minutes total to take the lawnmower blade off, sharpen using a bench grinder, and put it back on. Spend the time to actually do some research and read some bench grinder reviews if you’re looking to get one. I’ve found too many of the cheap brands don’t last more than a year. Stick with a major brand such as DeWalt or Porter Cable.

Organize with Shelving and Hooks

Shelves and hooks make a perfect addition to any garage storage plan. Many handheld gardening tools, such as shears and watering cans, can end up piled in the corner.

By adding shelves or hooks you can keep creepy crawlers from making a home among the handles and you’ll have an easier time of keeping them dry.

While it’s a fantastic goal to always keep your shelves organized throughout the year, the reality is that you’ll need to do a major reorganization at least once a year.

I like to keep a couple dedicated “seasonal” shelves as well. When December comes, I can find a fresh set of windshield wipers that are good for the snow along with ice scrapers, winter driving gloves, and anything else I may need during the cold months.

Store the Grill

Grilling out is a big summer past time and there are few things better, but the grill needs to be properly stored away during the colder months when it’s not being used. Give the grill a good cleaning and scrap out any gunk or grease that may be left behind. If your grill uses propane then remove the tank and store it in a safe area. Cover the grill with a tarp or blanket and put it somewhere out of the way in the garage. While custom fit fabric grill covers may look great when new, I’ve found they deteriorate too quickly during the freezing month and prefer to use a good old tarp.

Car Tools

IF you’re a car person, there’s a good chance you keep all kinds of car tools in your garage. What better place? These tools should be available year round. If you don’t already have a tool chest go ahead and get one. You can also set up a spot just for your car tools. That way they’ll be separated from seasonal tools and won’t get lost in the jumble. Since things like floor jacks probably won’t get much use during the winter, it’s a good idea to remove the handle and store the jack somewhere out of the way, like under your workbench.

Top 10 Garage Tools for the First Time Home Owner

tools-homeownerChanging from being a rent paying tenant to a new home owner means that you can no longer call a landlord to fix problems. At some point, you will need to do minor repairs and maintenance yourself. Here are 10 essential tools that should be a part of your starting toolbox.

  1. Screwdrivers. Screwdrivers come in two types, a flathead or a Phillips head. From around $4 you can buy a 4 in 1 screwdriver that has different sized flathead and Phillips head pieces.
  2. Hammer. You simply cannot have a toolbox worthy of the name if there is no hammer in it. You can buy a basic one for around $5 to a maximum of $200 for a curved handle model complete with a lithium-head.
  3. Cordless Drill. This is another power tool that is an essential piece of DIY kit. Once you own one of these you will never want to be without one. The beauty of a battery powered drill is that you can take it anywhere in your home or garden. Proceed vary from $20 up to $300. Spend a bit more and get a lithium-ion powered drill.
  4. Ladder. At some point sooner rather than later you’re going to have to use a ladder. There are so many different tasks in a house that require you climbing up and down a ladder to get done. Depending on their size and the material they are made from, figure spending between $50-$100 for a good 6-foot ladder.
  5. Tape Measure. A 25 foot tape measure can cost as little as $3. The modest cost can be recuperated by measuring the width and height of furniture and only buying items that fit in gaps.
  6. Level. Whether you are putting up shelves, hanging pictures, or putting up a TV bracket, you can use a level to make things are straight. Most levels are 4 foot long with the basic type starting at $10 and the most expensive LCD display ones costing $175.
  7. Set of Pliers. Get hold of a 5 set of pliers. With pliers you can do just about anything to wires. A $11 five piece set will give you all sorts of options around nails, screws, and wiring. You’d be amazed at how many different types of pliers are available.
  8. Circular Saw. To put it simply, if you make your own shelves or anything or similar you are going to need one. If you have lots of things to cut through or up then hand saws are simply too slow. The least expensive 7.25 inch saw starts at $40 while the best 12 inch model will cost $900. A corded 10″ model is the sweet spot in terms of value.
  9. Stud Finder. These are really useful when it comes to hanging up art. A basic stud finder starts at $3.50 while the best digital ones will set you back $80.
  10. Air Compressor. A small portable compressor will pay for itself quickly even if you only use it to inflate tires or kids toys. Once you start other projects such as trimming windows or putting together garden boxes, you’ll wonder how you ever made it without one. A small Central Pneumatic pancake model will only set you back about $60 but better quality brands will be $150+. It’s a good budget compressor and Central Pneumatic air compressor parts are cheap and easy to find.


Other Tips

  • Make use of any tool sharing scheme or co op tool bartering programs in your area.
  • If you have a Harbor Freight Tools store nearby, they are a gold mine for putting together a decent set of tools for cheap.
  • Try to buy at bargain prices by going around yard sales and visiting thrift shops.
  • If you know people that have too many tools ask if you can have some.