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Protecting your investment at home

Shelly Barnes • Feb 7, 2018 at 2:55 PM

Our homes and their furnishings and appliances are a major investment for most people. Good decision-making skills are important when investing in these large-ticket items. 

In addition to making sound decisions when purchasing furnishings and other household goods, understanding what is required to use and maintain these items is equally important. Not only do you want to extend the life of these products, but you also want to use cleaning and maintenance methods that are both healthy and safe.

• Determine your budget ahead of time: Shopping for furnishings and appliances can be exciting. It might be tempting to overspend, but determine what you can afford, and stick to that plan.

• Buy only features you will use: While many “special” features may sound exciting on the showroom floor, buy only those things you will actually use. The more “bells and whistles,” the more that can go wrong.

• Measure your space to see what will actually fit: Measure your available space, notice where power outlets are located, and take existing color samples with you as you shop. This can prevent a costly mistake.

• Consider up-front cost and operating expenses: The cost of many products extends beyond the purchase price. Make sure you understand how much an appliance will cost to operate, care for, and maintain. For example, an Energy Star appliance may cost a bit more at the time of purchase but will cost less to operate, thereby saving money in the long run.

• Ask lots of questions: Find out exactly what it takes to operate, clean and maintain any product or furnishing you are considering. No question is a dumb question – unless it goes unasked.

• Determine appropriateness: Ask questions to make sure what you are considering is appropriate for your home, your budget, your use and your lifestyle.

• Read the owner’s manual: Reading the owner’s manual is not nearly as exciting as plugging in the appliance and using it. But, it’s extremely important to read how to properly use, clean and maintain the product. If you do not, you could void any type of warranty.

• Complete any warranty information and send to manufacturer: Again, not as exciting as using the product, but it could save you from having to replace it yourself if you don’t register the product properly.

• Read care instructions carefully: Read and understand all care instructions and follow them exactly. Failure to do so could void any warranty and/or damage the product.

• Clean spills and stains immediately: Spills and stains clean up much more easily if attended to immediately. If left to sit, many stains will penetrate deeply, rendering them almost impossible to remove. Some items, especially textiles, may be treated with a stain repellent, landscape. An important point to remember when shopping is to select those species that will be hardy under Wilson County weather conditions. The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is the best resource.

For additional information, contact Lucan Holman, the new horticultural agent at Wilson County Extension. Holman joined our staff Feb. 5 and will be an excellent resource for any consumer or commercial horticultural questions. His contact number is 615-444-9584 or email lholman1@utk.edu.

For more information, contact the UT-TSU Extension Office in Wilson County at 615-444-9584. You can also find us on Facebook or visit extension.tennessee.edu/wilson. Ruth Correll, UT Extension-TSU Cooperative Extension agent in Wilson County, may be reached at 615-444-9584 or acorrell@utk.edu.

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