This year on November 23, you’ll be able to take advantage of the best bargains of the year. Here are a few tips to help you make the most out of the countless Black Friday sales in town.
1. Make a list of the items you want. To avoid impulse buys, prepare a list of the things you’re looking for — don’t forget all those Christmas presents you’ll need to buy! — along with the total amount that you’re willing to spend. When the day rolls around, make sure to keep this list with you while shopping.
2. Compare available prices. In the days leading up to Black Friday, take the time to check the prices listed on flyers and websites for the products you want to buy. Do the prices differ from one store to another? Are some items cheaper to order online? To find the best deals, use a price comparison tool, like Google Shopping or Shopbot.
3. Check exchange and refund policies. Before making any purchases, find out if the stores you’ll be buying from will accept returns or make refunds on merchandise sold on Black Friday. If all sales on the day are final, then no exchanges or refunds will be possible.
4. Find out about what kinds of warranties are offered. It’s useful to know what kinds of warranties are offered, especially when it comes to expensive products like computers. If you believe you’ll need to get an extended warranty, check first if your credit card will automatically offer you some protection if the purchase is charged to your account.
4 benefits of radiant heating
Radiant floor heating is a modern heating solution that provides unmatched comfort. Here are four reasons why you may want to consider this upgrade for your home.
1. It’s quiet
Unlike traditional heating systems, radiant heating systems don’t make any noise. You won’t have to listen to clanking radiators or loud vents.
2. It heats evenly
Traditional forced-air heating systems employ vents to distribute warm air throughout a space. Therefore, depending on the location of the vents, the area heated may have hot and cold spots. Radiant heating systems, however, provide consistent, even heat throughout an entire space.
3. It doesn’t emit dust
Since radiant heating systems don’t require vents or ductwork, you won’t have extra dust circulating through your home while you heat it. This is especially helpful for individuals who suffer from allergies.
4. It’s energy-efficient
Radiant heating is more energy-efficient than other methods. This is because there’s no heat loss through the ductwork like there would be with a forced-air system. The cost of heating a home with this type of system can be more affordable.
If you’re thinking about installing a radiant floor heating system, make sure to research your options, then contact a certified professional to complete the job.
Rediscover the joy of ice skating
If you’ve never experienced the joy of gliding across a frozen lake or simply haven’t ice skated in years, consider making time for this activity during the winter months.
Ice skating is a fun and affordable pastime, and since it’s a low-impact sport that’s gentle on the joints, it can be suitable for people of all ages. What’s more, most people can master the basics in less than an hour.
Furthermore, ice skating is a great aerobic workout that can improve your balance and cardiovascular endurance, strengthen your abdominal and leg muscles, and fine-tune your motor skills.
If you want to go ice skating this year, there are plenty of places you can lace up your skates, including indoor and outdoor rinks, forest trails, and certain lakes, ponds, and rivers.
Metal vs. shingled roofs
If you’re in the market for a new roof, you might question whether traditional shingles or metal sheeting will work best for your home. Here’s an overview of what these options have to offer.
• Shingled roofs are quicker and easier to install than metal roofs. One of the biggest advantages of using shingles is that they’re readily available and come in a large variety of colors and materials, including fiberglass and asphalt.
Unlike metal roofs, shingles are generally covered under extensive warranties against manufacturer errors and material defects.
The biggest downside of using this material is that shingles need to be replaced every 15 to 20 years, which can end up being costly in the long run.
• Metal roofs are known for their durability and ability to withstand extreme weather conditions. They’re extremely long-lasting and won’t show signs of degradation for upward of 50 years.
This type of roofing material is non-combustible, which means its resistant to catching fire. Metal is also a highly recyclable material and consequently a popular option for consumers looking for an eco-friendly option.
The biggest downside is that metal roofs cost significantly more upfront than shingled roofs.
Regardless of which roofing material you choose, it’s a good idea to consult several roofers. This way you can compare quotes and references to find the right contractor for the job.
Original Xbox turns 20 as new console war heats up
Pretty soon, that classic Xbox console gathering dust in your closet will be able to join you at the pub. The Microsoft Xbox turned 20 some weeks ago. And while many companies have come and gone in the home console market, Microsoft has proven to have plenty of staying power.
When Microsoft first entered the home video game console market, it was considered a bold, but high-risk move. Microsoft certainly had the resources and clout to succeed, but many big companies had entered the video game console market only to be pushed out.
When Microsoft launched the Xbox console, they didn’t have the massive IP library enjoyed by Nintendo. They also lacked the established customer base and third-party support that Sony secured with the original Playstation console (launched 1995).
The Xbox, however, brought plenty of computing power, equipped with twice as much ram and a processor roughly twice as powerful as the Playstation 2. Nintendo’s hardware lagged even further behind. Microsoft also invested a lot of money developing exclusive games for the Xbox, such as the mega-popular Halo series.
The Xbox ushered in the era of online console gaming with Xbox Live. Back twenty-some years ago, if you wanted to play with friends, that typically meant getting everyone in front of the same TV. With Xbox Live, you could play with friends across the country.
The original Xbox sold more than 24 million units, outpacing the 155 million Playstation 2 units sold. Microsoft enjoyed more success with the Xbox’s successor, the Xbox 360, which sold 84 million units to the Playstation 3’s 87 million.
The console wars rage to this day. Over the last few years, the Nintendo Switch has dominated sales across the globe. That said, the newer Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X and S consoles are fighting hard for market share.
Kitchen lighting 101
In a kitchen, it’s best to have different types of light fixtures throughout the space that serve various functions. Here’s an overview.
This type of lighting is powerful enough to illuminate the entire room but tends to leave workspaces insufficiently lit. Recessed or can lights are a timeless choice for kitchens, as they have a low profile and work with any decor style. Alternatively, you can opt for a traditional ceiling fixture or track lights, which have individual fixtures that can be easily repositioned to better illuminate the space.
This type of lighting is used to brighten up specific areas. Pendant lights are great to hang over a kitchen island or sink, for example, and they can contribute to the decor. These lights are best paired with recessed lighting to avoid too much visual clutter. As for countertop prep space, under-cabinet lighting is your best bet since it’s easy to install, practically invisible, and won’t create shadows.
To find the right light fixtures for your kitchen and elsewhere in your home, visit the hardware, home decor, and specialty light stores in your area.
How to install a vapor barrier
If you’re constructing a wall, building an addition, or finishing your basement, installing a vapor barrier is a must. This thin layer of impermeable material, typically polyethylene sheeting, is designed to keep your home dry. Here are a few installation tips.
• Always install the vapor barrier on the inner side of the wall (the surface facing your living area) as it experiences hotter, moister conditions than the outside wall. A vapor barrier for the ceiling is also a must.
• Start in one corner and work your way around the room allowing the vapor barrier to hang down from the top framing sill. Once you’ve made it across the wall or around the room, allow for a fair amount of overlap in the corner where you started to create a tight seal.
• Make sure you seal cracks and holes in the wall. This will block any air gaps. Also, use acoustic spray foam or sealant tape to waterproof spaces around windows, doors, electrical outlets, and light fixtures.
Keep in mind that incorrectly installing a vapor barrier can lead to moisture problems and the need for costly repairs. For this reason, it may be best to leave this job to a professional.