Pets at Home

Not a Man Cave or She Shed, a Dog Dugout for Your Pet

diy263Some of the most popular home improvement projects on our website have nothing to do with upgrades for the people who live in their home, but everything to do with improvements for the dog of the house. That says a lot about how much we value our favorite family member. Sure, the people in a household are important but they all have a special bond with their dog who is waiting for them when they come home. A dog is usually their best friend so it’s no surprise that building a dog house, a dog kennel and a dog door is something to consider.

At you’ll find the cost of hundreds of home improvement jobs. When it comes to the price tag for three popular dog projects, here’s what you’ll find. You can buy a doghouse kit made of cedar components with a raised panel floor for about $120 and assemble it, or you can pay a handyman for the kit and its construction for $325. The kits come with all parts cut to size and all the fasteners required for assembly.

Thinking about a nice dog kennel where your Buster can move around outdoors? A fence contractor will charge $480 to install a 6-by-12-foot gated kennel that’s 6 feet high. You can buy a kennel kit of similar size for $318 and install it and pocket a 33 percent saving.

What about making a dog door so your pet can go out and come in without having someone open and close a door? A pet door is the solution. A handyman will charge $121 to install a good quality-medium size pet door in a wooden door, but you can make the installation for $48, the cost of the unit. It’s a good first-time project for a budding do-it-yourselfer because the tools required are basic and it’s an easy job to accomplish.

If you want to compare the cost of doing a project yourself with hiring a contractor we hope you’ll visit us at

save water

Save Water in Your Yard and Garden

We’ve all become more mindful of watering our lawns and garden because water is a precious commodity that we can’t take for granted. These simple ways to conserve water and create a lush green lawn and landscape without going over budget on your water bill are no nonsense routines to follow. They come from Rain Bird, the leading manufacturer of irrigation products and services. You might be as surprised as we were to learn just how easy it is to minimize the amount of water you use and create a thriving green lawn and landscape.
Don’t overwater.
Instead of watering for one long session, it’s better to water a few times for a shorter time period and take a break in between to allow the water to soak in. That lessens oversoaking and minimizes wasteful runoff.
Be an early bird.
The best time to water is between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m when the sun is low, winds are calm and temperatures are cool.
Be direct.
For specific trees, beds or containers apply water directly to the root to reduce wasting water through runoff or evaporation.
Watch the weather.
Adjust your watering routine to changes in the weather. When it rains take a pass and let Mother Nature provide the water.
If it doesn’t grow, don’t water it.
Place sprinklers where the water soaks in lawns and flower beds, not a driveway or sidewalk.

Visit us at for more advice about your home and garden.

life of appliances

Life Expectancy of Home Appliances

Just how long can you expect the appliances in your home to last? That question often doesn’t come up until the food in your freezer feels soft or you’re standing in a shower without hot water. We tend to take these things for granted until they stop functioning and we call the service folks to repair or replace them. When our refrigerator/freezer stopped working we looked into the question to get a handle on just how long we can expect all our appliances to keep working.

The National Association of Home Builders and the Bank of America Home Equity did a study about the life expectancies of the components of a home and offer these findings. The caveat: it all depends on the quality of the installation, how they are maintained and very importantly the climate conditions where the house is located and how often things are used. Here are the life expectancies in years for major home appliances.

  • Electric range 13 years
  • Gas range 15 years
  • Refrigerator 13 years
  • Dishwasher 9 years
  • Microwave oven 9 years
  • Compactor 6 years
  • Garbage disposer 12 years
  • Clothes washer 10 years
  • Clothes dryer 13 years
  • Electric water heater 11 years
  • Gas water heater 10 years
  • Electric furnace 15 years
  • Gas furnace 18 years
  • Oil furnace 20 years
  • Heat pump 18 years
  • Visit us at and compare the cost of home projects whether you do it yourself or hire a contractor.

    Gene and Katie Hamilton

Home To Do’s in JUNE

Gene and Katie Hamilton
Gene and Katie Hamilton

This is a busy time of year with graduations, family events and change of season chores, but use this list of 10 items – basically cleaning, maintaining and inspecting – to get off to a good summer of enjoying your home.

Some of these items are quickies, like giving the well-used garbage cans a good washing so it’s clean and odorless or replacing an Air Conditioner filter so the unit works efficiently. Others take a little time, like power washing the siding and cleaning out the garage. All the chores will keep your home and all its systems running smooth and efficiently throughout the season.


* Replace air conditioner filter
* Clean out and organize the basement
* Wash bedspreads and blankets
* Clean garbage cans
* Inspect electrical cords and plugs for signs of wear
* Check the color of the flame on gas water heater and range
* Inspect exterior exposed pipes for leaks and corrosion
* Clean dirty or mildew-covered siding and deck with a power washer
* Inspect and tune up garage door and opener mechanism and rubber seal gasket on bottom of the door
* Maintain lawn and garden beds by watering, mowing and weeding

Visit us at to find the cost of hundreds of home improvement jobs and compare doing it yourself with hiring a pro.