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Questions

Seasons

What is the season’s effect on design?

>Back-to-school ads have started, symbolizing for many the anticipation of summer’s end. Cooler temperatures are only a month away and before you know it, fall will be here. The changing seasons affect many aspects of our lives. The activities we engage in, the types of food we eat, and the style of clothes we wear are all affected by season. We implement these changes to stay comfortable in our environment, just as we adjust the design of our home. Just as cold weather might inspire a sweater, it may also inspire warmer tones and accent colors in your living room. …

energy efficient cash

Energy Efficient Upgrades

Upgrading to more energy-efficient appliances is not a new trend or a unique idea. Most people know they can buy a dishwasher that uses half as much water or a microwave that uses less electricity. These purchases do save energy and therefore money, but they also require start-up costs. Installation, warranties and delivery fees all add to the initial payment. Sometimes, it takes a lot of green to go green. Why We’re Asking: In an effort to alleviate some of the financial burden of switching to appliances and gadgets that will save energy, many city, county, state and even federal …

toilet

Toilet Buying Guide from the Experts

Toilets have been in use for thousands of years, from the basic stone structures of ancient Rome to the music-playing, seat-warming, self-cleaning, high-tech squat boxes of Japan. For the average homeowner, choosing a new toilet may be intimidating. Modern toilets have lots of features which don’t always equate to reassuring a homeowner of their number one concern: that what goes in always goes out. Why We’re Asking: According to the National Association of Home Builders, the average toilet is expected to last the lifetime of the homeowner, which makes your next ivory throne purchase a pretty important investment. Our plumbing …

design

Designing Around Disagreements

Designers are trained to marry form with function, helping homeowners make their house look and feel more like a home. To accomplish their vision, designers rely on years of education and experience. A good designer works with a homeowner and their ideas to create a space that is unique and beautiful. Any design professional can tell you that a big part of that process involves flexibility on both sides. Why We’re Asking: In most home improvement industries, collaboration between a homeowner and a professional isn’t too common. Rarely are there disputes with plumbers about how to fix a flooded basement …

acting green

Acting Green vs. Buying Green

Every day, a new green product hits the market that promises to protect the environment more and make our utilities bills less expensive. At the same time, researchers are constantly performing new studies on how we use those products. These studies help us identify how we can be more energy efficient with changes in our behavior. In many ways, going green comes down to nothing more than our acts and our appliances. Why We’re Asking: Your energy-efficient washer may use less water and power, but that doesn’t matter if you wash your sheets every morning. Likewise, making sure all your …

stay cool

Stay Cool, Save Money

June is here and hot summer temperatures are knocking at the front door. In many parts of the country, air conditioning systems are all but required for keeping a house comfortable. In more temperate areas, homeowners sweat out a few hot ones to avoid dropping money on new cooling systems. But there’s more than one way to cool a cat and we’re interested in creative ways homeowners can beat the heat without the use of A/C. Why We’re Asking: Air conditioning has gotten better over the years, but it still uses tons of energy when compared to more passive cooling …

managing projects

What’s the best way to choose a home improvement team?

Home improvement projects rarely involve only one type of professional. A bathroom remodel, for example, might require the skills of a designer, an architect, a plumber, an electrician, and a green expert. Ideally, each expert applies their unique style and ability to create a beautiful and functional final product. To attack these complex jobs, many homeowners will hire a general contractor, who then assembles the necessary professionals to get the job done. But homeowners may want to use specific people for different aspects of the job. We’re curious as to how these home improvement teams are best formed. Why We’re …

Construction

How are you using sustainable materials?

As green design continues to storm the home improvement market, homeowners and builders alike are considering sustainable materials for a larger percentage of their upcoming projects. From bamboo floors to reclaimed doors, professionals are seeking to make a big impact in the home and a tiny dent in the environment. But Mother Nature isn’t the only one who appreciates the effort. Homeowners are finding out that sustainable materials may also represent big savings. Why We’re Asking: Though the home improvement market is starting to climb out of its slump, professionals and consumers are still looking to save as much money …

Social media

How is social media affecting your business?

Updating, posting, tweeting, upvoting, digging, and sharing are the new keystones of online marketing. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Reddit, and hundreds of others are making businesses more personal, even though their connections are purely digital. Even home improvement professionals are finding that social media creates interactions with customers that are innovative and effective at generating new business. Why We’re Asking: Starting on May 1st, professionals of all kinds–including eLocal team members–will log-on to their computers and attend the Social Media Success Summit 2012. This online conference will feature top social media experts sharing their insight on how …

recession

How did the recession affect your business?

In 2010, the Home Improvement Research Institute (HIRI) reported the first positive growth numbers for the home improvement industry in several years. Two years later, that growth is continuing to rise; this year it is expected to reach 5 percent. Throughout the recession, many professionals struggled to make ends meet. Yet while as many businesses didn’t make it, even more were able to pull through. When the jobs aren’t coming in, the bills are piling up and customers can’t pay for completed jobs, home improvement professionals need to make tough decisions about how they run their business. Whether it means …