Home Sense Archives

3DTVs: Worth it?

Football season is well under way and the word on the street is that more and more games will be broadcast in 3D.  DirecTV promised 85 sporting events in 3D this year, as well as launching a dedicated 3D network and pay-per-view category, and that number is expected to increase as 3D becomes more popular.  But is it really worth it?  Though the price of the actual TV sets have been coming down, the entire package necessary for true 3D viewing can be pretty pricey - especially if you're hosting a group watch for that big game, or movie-night for the family. 

According to Dan Thurston of Grant's Appliance, 3D glasses can cost upwards of $129 each.  It's not unusual for your 3D TV to be bundled with two sets of glasses at the time of purchase, but the additional glasses can really add up if you're accustomed to guests for TV time.

Take a look at what you'll need and what you should consider if you're thinking of purchasing a 3D TV for your home.



Insulate to save $$ this winter

Despite a pretty gorgeous fall thus far, we all know that any day now we could wake up to a few inches of snow on the ground and all the bitter cold that comes with it.  So, if your home is drafty and you're not looking forward to another season of the chills, then it's time to get some insulation in those walls and attic.  Most people tend to put it off because it sounds like such a large project, but with these guys your home can be insulated in just a day with no trace of the work left behind.  And you can finally enjoy winter the way it was meant to be enjoyed - inside your toasty home drinking hot chocolate!


Moving: Not for everyone.

I've moved before.  I've packed up my stuff, loaded it onto a friend's truck or into a rented van and unloaded it on the other end.  And after every move I say "I'll never do this again."  And then I do it again.  The reason is this: it's freakin' expensive to hire professional movers!  And until now, I've been fairly certain that the money wasn't worth it.  But as I've gotten (ahem) older, time and properly functioning muscles have become more valuable than the shoes that would inevitably account for that extra money and I've long suspected that it's probably worth it after all. 

To test the theory, I tagged along on a move with the guys from Midway Moving & Storage to see what actually goes into a move for a pro.  And that day that I spent mostly just trying to stay out of their way convinced me that they're the pros for a reason - they got a truck holding about 80% of the home's furniture and household items unpacked in under two hours and the owner didn't have to lift a finger (except to point me in the right direction once).  Nothing was broken, nothing was lost and everyone was happy (including the kids).  Money well spent in my opinion.  Take a look and see what you think!




7 green DIY projects to tackle before summer ends

Summer is the season of DIY, so before this season is over now is the time to make all of those home upgrades you've been meaning to do, but it was just too hot/nice/rainy/humid to get a project started.  And if you only have time for a few quick updates, why not make them the kind that you'll appreciate all year?  Here are some easy home projects that will save you money, water, energy or all three in the long run.

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No vacation budget? Enjoy a STAYcation at home.

Everyone's cutting back.  Back-to-school supplies trump a long weekend away, getting your taxes paid takes precedence over that yearly trip to Hilton Head and a romantic week in Aruba?  Who can afford it? 

Any of this sound familiar?  It may be good common sense to save more and spend less in a down economy, but when you're living in perpetual fear of unemployment, isn't that the time you need a stress-free getaway most?  We say yes.  And luckily, a relaxing weekend away is only as far as your own backyard if you play your cards right.  These backyard-fix-ups will cost you less than a trip to Hawaii and last a lot longer.  (Just remember to turn off your phone as soon as you step out that backdoor.) 

And check out the video after the gallery to get some tips from Mike Schmechtig, owner of Schmechtig Landscapes, on how to acheive a five-star feel in your backyard on a one-star budget.

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Hands Free Gadgets in the Home

Automatic, or touchless gadgets are part of a growing trend in accessories for the home. It's a high-tech world, people; you may as well embrace the technology and make it work for you.  Here are some of our favorite picks to save you time, cleanup and keep you from spreading germies.

By: Keri Morgan

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Hi-Tech Home at Any Price

By now, I totally thought everyone's home would be like the Jetson's; every home equipped with a robot maid and a system that delivers dinner to the table with the push of a button.  But alas, we are still decades away from that kind of technology.  ("The Jetsons" was set in 2062 after all...just give it time)  So in the meantime, I guess we'll just have to settle for the technology available today.  Lucky for us, there are some pretty cool gadgets out there.  Here are some ways to tech-up your home (and hopefully make life a little easier) at three different price levels:



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New ComEd Smart Meters Manage Energy Use

Worried that this summer is going to cost you in energy bills?  ComEd has just rolled out a pilot program to help you with that in the future - or if you're in one of the test communities, you could start seeing benefits now.

Starting today, ComEd customers in nine Chicago-area communities will be able to more closely monitor their energy use using the new smart meter.  Once the digital smart meter is installed, customers can track their energy use online so that they can better manage their use.  The smart meter passes information along to the site every 30-minutes so that customers can get an updated look at how much energy they're using throughout the day. 

The new meters will allow customers to not only track their use, but also to compare it against their neighbors' use...
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Staging your home to sell

If your home is on the market then you've probably been told by your listing agent or a well-meaning friend that you need to stage your home.  This can mean different things to different people.  But for the most part, staging just means that you need to get your home in its best shape so that potential buyers can see themselves in the home.  I recently got to team up with professional stager, Julea Joseph on one of her staging projects.  She taught me a few secrets to making it easy for the seller to get his/her home staged in just a couple hours.  You just have to have the right people helping you out. 




Chicago Lawn Care Tips

It's summer in Chicago and that means lawn maintenance has moved back into our weekly routines.

We spoke to the good folks at Spring Green Lawn Care for some tips on getting your grass to grow and look great this summer. And if you're currently trying to sell your home, these tips are extremely important. Remember - first impressions mean everything to a buyer!



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