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Allergy-Proof Your Illinois Home

Ah, spring! It’s the season for outdoor adventures, home renovations and unfortunately, seasonal allergies. If you have severe or mild allergies, spring can be a sneezing, itching, eye-watering nightmare. Instead of covering your face with nasal spray and eyedrops or hiding inside this year, try removing environmental allergy triggers in your home.

1. Vacuum those carpets

Carpet flooring is the natural nemesis of allergies. It traps dust, pollen, pet dander and just about any other histamines you can think of. The cheapest and easiest defense is cleaning your carpets. If you find your allergies are getting worse, consider upgrading your vaccuum.

The permanent solution:

Allergy

If you have wall-to-wall carpeting, you could spend half your life vacuuming your floors and never be finished. Instead, replace your carpet with tile. A flooring upgrade will add instant appeal to your home and boost your resale value. If you want hardwood floors with half the work, call our sister company Custom Bath Solutions. They offer porcelain tile hardwood flooring which has all the charm of hardwood floors but are much more durable and low-maintenance.

2. Ditch your Drapers

Your drapes act as a magnet for all the dust, pollen and pet dander coming in through your windows. Clean your drapes more often, or opt for a drape-less window solution.

The Permanent solution:

Many of our customers have trouble deciding how to cover their patio doors. Drapes for patio doors are huge and expensive, and traditional blinds are hard to dust. Luckily, there’s an easy solution: replace drapes with blind-in patio doors. We offer blind-in patio doors from Paragon Windows & Doors that have blinds sealed between two glass panels. Since the blinds aren’t exposed to dust, you get dust-free shade.

3. Dry out your bathroom

The bathroom is especially vulnerable to mold and mildew because of all the humidity that enters the room from daily activities. If you find mold or mildew in your bathroom, you might consider upgrading your bathroom ventilation fan or cleaning more often.

The permanent solution:

Use mold and mildew-resistant materials in your bathroom! Our sister company, Custom Bath Solutions offers acrylic showers and tubs that are coated in SilverSheild technology. This anti-microbial protection ensures that your bathroom will be mold, mildew and maintenance-free.

4. Dry out your basement

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Moisture in the basement is a huge problem for the structural integrity of your home and the people living in it. A wet basement will cause mold and mildew problems. If you ignore the underlying leakage problem, mold can spread to hard-to reach areas of your home until an easy solution is out of reach.

The permanent solution:

Purchase a basement-waterproofing system. In Peoria, Illinois where so much of the area sits in a flood plain, a water-tight basement is a great investment. Our system is called B-Dry Basement Waterproofing. B-Dry has an amazing reputation from previous customers and addresses the five most common ways that water enters your home.

5. Get Air-Tight Windows

Cheap and old windows often have air leakage problems that let in allergens and mold-causing moisture. There’s a number of DIY repairs you can do to fix your existing windows, but none of them guarantee a better seal.

The permanent solution:

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The only way to ensure proper sealing on your windows is to have them professionally repaired or upgraded. Our replacement vinyl window collection from Preservation Windows has superior weather-sealing technology. These windows are certified by the ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) and tested for air-infiltration and water resistance. Plus, Preservation windows have a spacer system that prevents condensation on the inside of your frame.

6. Reduce Your Home’s Humidity Levels

If you have a mold allergy, you should be tracking your home’s humidity levels. Pick up a hygrometer at a local hardware store and measure the humidity levels in each room. If you read a humidity level above 60%, consider purchasing a dehumidifier.

The permanent solution:

We offer a TON of moisture-resistant products. My favorite is our Preservation Integra Siding. This replacement vinyl siding features a ClimaSheild Thermal Support System. This siding features molecular waterproofing, an interlocking weather seal, and a diamond-groove drainage plane to ensure that all moisture is directed away from your home.

7. Reduce Clutter

Clutter doesn’t directly cause allergy problems. However, clutter can collects dust easily and makes cleaning your home more difficult than it needs to be. To minimize time spent cleaning, store unessential items in storage bins, closets and attics.

The permanent solution:

Get an amazing storage system. Not only will it make cleaning easier, it will simplify your life in ways you never imagined. Our sister company, Woodfront Kitchens can custom-build beautiful storage systems that will make cleaning easy. Check out their profile on Houzz for ideas!

8. Clean Your Gutters

Even though your gutters are on the outside of your home, poorly maintained gutters can lead to moisture problems inside the home. In addition, gutter debris is filled with allergens that can affect your health. The easiest way to take care of this problem is to clean your gutters.

The permanent solution:

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It’s likely you’ll always have allergies in the spring, and always have gutters to clean. Why not kill two birds with one stone and buy a Gutter Helmet? Gutter Helmet will give your home superior drainage so you reduce the risk of moisture entering your. Plus, you’ll never have to stick your hands in gross, allergenic gutter goop again.

 

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4 Home Improvement Tax Breaks You May Qualify For

Tax Breaks

Tax Break 1: Major Energy-Efficient Upgrades

This tax break can save you up to $500 on energy efficient upgrades under the Residential Energy Credits program. However, there’s a lifetime total of $500 on this tax deduction, so be sure to check that you haven’t already met this limit. This tax break is especially relevant if you’ve purchased new energy efficient replacement doors, replacement windows, or a new roof.

  • 10% of the cost of replacement doors
  • 10% of the cost of replacement windows and skylights ($200 cap)
  • 10% of the cost of an energy-efficient roof (excluding labor)
  • 10% of the cost of home insulation upgrades (excluding labor)
  • $300 for a biomass stove
  • $300 for air-source heat pumps
  • $300 for central AC systems
  • $150 for efficient hot water boilers
  • $300 for water heaters
  • $200 for furnaces and fans

Tax Break 2: Green Energy Upgrades

This tax break goes in the personal tax credit category. If you added a renewable energy system to your residence, you’re eligible for a 30% tax rebate for your expenditures. This applies to both main residencies and vacation homes. Some expenditures covered include the cost of on-site preparation, assembly and installation, and piping and wiring to connect a system to the home.

Here’s the best part: there’s no cap on this deduction! If you’re kicking yourself for not going green earlier, don’t worry. This tax credit is available through 2019. Here are some green energy upgrades that qualify for this tax break:

  • Solar panels
  • Solar water heaters
  • Fuel Cells
  • Geothermal heat pumps
  • Wind turbines

Tax Break 3: Medical Modifications

This tax break is especially relevant to readers that have completed a bathroom renovation with Custom Bath Solutions in the past year. Medical modifications include improvements made to accommodate your home for care of a disabled individual. This person may be you, your spouse or your dependent.

Here’s the catch: the eligible cost of improvement is reduced by the project’s addition in value to your property. So if you spent $40K on medical modifications that increased the value of your home by $10K, only $30K are deductible. If the home improvement project did not increase your property value, the entire cost can be included as a medical expense. In addition, the cost of medical modifications must be more than 10% of your adjusted gross income (or 7.5% for persons 65 and older).

Here are some medical modification projects that qualify for deductions:

  • Lowering or modifying kitchen cabinets and equipment.
  • Installing railings, support bars, or other modifications (like a tub to shower conversion) in your bathroom
  • Replacement doors and modifying door hardware
  • Modifying electrical outlets and fixtures
  • Widening interior and exterior doorways
  • Entrance and exit ramps
  • Installing lifts or modifying stairways
  • Modifying fire alarms, smoke detectors, and other warning systems
  • Grading the ground to provide access to the home

Tax Break 4: Reduce Your Capital Gains Profits

In the eyes of Uncle Sam, that is. We would never advise you to sell your home for less than it’s maximum potential. If you make a profit on your home over $250K per individual (or $500K as a married couple), you’ll have to pay capital gains taxes on those profits. However, you can deduct the money you spent on value-adding home improvement projects from your total sales profit.

Let’s say you purchased a new home 7 years ago for $250K and then spent $60K on renovations. This year, you sold your home for $560K and put away your sales profit of $310K. If you don’t include the cost of renovations in your total profit, you can lower your taxable capital gains profit to $250K and keep that $60K you spent on renovations, tax-free.

For your home improvement project to qualify for this tax break, the project had to be an upgrade that increased the value of your home. Repairs projects are considered only “maintaining” the current value of your home and are not eligible to deduct from your total capital gains profit. Here are some projects that are eligible:


For the nitty-gritty details, talk to a tax advisor about which tax strategy is right for you. If you’ve purchased tax credit eligible products from us in the past year, we will be happy to send you a letter confirming your installation. Just call (309) 717-0105 and we’ll be happy to help you in any way we can.