Home Safes

Home  safes are one of the most important considerations for protection of your new home.  In this day and age of high crime rates caused by desperate armed criminals, out of control governments, immigration of undesirables, and drug thugs,  it is imperative to have a home safe, or home safes.

Not to mention the ever present danger of house fires, and even flooding in some areas,  can destroy a home’s contents, and your valuables along with it.

Home safes come in various types and sizes, with different levels of protection. There are different lock options available.  There are key locks, manual combination locks,  electronic locks, and variations, and combinations of all of these locks.

gun-safes are often used as home safes
Gun safes can protect your guns and other valuables.

Gun Safes

If you are a gun owner, you know how vital it is to keep your guns away from children, and possibly other family members.  Gun safes allow you to safely store your guns, and ammunition in a clean, dry environment, and also give you fire, and burglary protection.

Many gun safes offer both burglary and fire protection, and come in various sizes with different interiors. These interiors are designed to allow for the storage of both long guns, and handguns. It is also possible, of course, to store other valuables, in addition to your guns in these safes.

The more guns and valuables you need to store should dictate the amount of protection that you want to purchase.

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handgun-safe-or-pistol-safe make great home safes
Handgun safes allow safety and quick access.

Handgun Safes

Handgun safes are crucial for your home protection against burglaries, and other unwanted break ins.  These essential safes allow you to safely store your handguns away from the curious hands of children, while at the same time, give you the ability to access your guns quickly in case of an urgent need, such as a break in of your home.

Handgun safes can be bolted to the floor, under a bed, secured into a drawer or nightstand, or any where else quick access can be had.

If you are currently keeping your handguns in a locked cabinet, or a larger gun safe, you are to be commended for keeping others in your home safe, but unless you can also get to your handgun quickly in case of an emergency, it may not be enough.

If, in the middle of the night, you are woken from a sound sleep to someone in your house that intends to steal from you, and possibly do you or your family harm, you may not have time or the mental wherewithall to find the keys to unlock your cabinet, or put in the combination to your safe to get to your gun.

Not to mention you don’t want to turn on lights or make noise to let the burglar know you are aware of his entry. But, if you have a handgun safe nearby, that you can quietly access within seconds, you give yourself fast control of the situation, which could mean the difference between life and death.

home-safe Home safes provide safety, and peace of mind.
Home safes provide safety, and protection for valuables.

Home Safes

Many homeowners also like to keep cash, jewelry, car titles, family heirlooms, and other valuables at home instead of, and/or in addition to,  a bank, safe deposit box, etc.   These home chest money safes can be bolted to the floor in an out of the way area, or a wall safe secured between joists discreetly hidden behind paintings, bookshelves, etc.

These safes can have burglary protection features, fire protection features, or both burglary, and fire protection features.  The amount of protection you buy, should reflect the value of what you would like to store in your safe.

It is usually a good idea to have more protection, and capacity in your new safe than you think you will need rather than less. This way, if you need to add more contents to the safe down the road, you won’t have to buy another one, or leave some valuables unprotected.

The more value you want to keep in your safe, the more burglary, and fire protection you should have.  This is definitely a case where one can be penny wise, and pound foolish, to borrow an old adage.

For instance, most safes you find at a Wal Mart or a Costco are not very expensive, it’s true, but they offer little protection.  Do you really want to trust what is important to you to a cheap safe that can be pried off the floor, and broken into easily?

Or that, in case of an intense fire, allow the contents of your safe to be damaged or completely destroyed? Also, you should always buy a safe that can be bolted to the floor, if it is a floor type safe, unless it is a very heavy safe, 2000 pounds or more.

Even the heavier safes though, can be removed by some professional, determined criminals, so it is a good idea to bolt the heavy safes to the floor as well, if at all possible.

Have you wondered what the different letters, numbers, and ratings mean on a safe?

Fire safe test thermometer Fire ratings are important for home safes.
Fire safe test thermometer.

Fire Ratings

Buying a safe that includes fire protection is a very real, important, and smart consideration.   In the USA alone, fires cause over $6 billion dollars worth of property damage every year.  A home structure fire occurs every 85 seconds.

Ideally, you want a fire rated safe that has the UL listing or designation. UL stands for Underwriters Laboratory.

UL 1 Hour and 2 Hour Fire Labels.

U.L. Label/Class 350°F-one hour and Class 350°F-two hour. The safe will maintain an interior temperature less than 350°F when exposed to fire for a period of one hour at 1700°F or for a period of two hours at 1850°F.

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UL 1 Hr Fire Class 350 Home safes may have the UL 1 Hour listing.
UL 1 Hour Fire Classification

The UL Class 350 1-hour fire rating means that the internal temperature of the safe will not exceed 350° for at least one hour when exposed to external temperatures at 1700°.

UL 2 Hr Fire & Impact - 350 Classification Home safes with fire protection may have the UL 2 Hour listing
UL 2 Hour Fire & Impact Classification

The UL Class 350 2-hour fire rating means that the internal temperature of the safe will not exceed 350° for at least 2 hours when exposed to external temperatures at 1850°.

The safe must also pass all requirements for the Fire Endurance Test, the Fire/Impact Test, and the Explosion Hazard Test.

ETL logo Home safes used for guns need the ETL listing.
Intertek ETL is the trusted source for Gun Safe Fire Testing.

Intertek ETL Gun Safe Fire Labels

Intertek ETL is the safe industry’s leading independent testing laboratory for fire ratings of gun safes.  They have a stringent 45 minute, 90 minute, and 2 hour fire rating.

If you don’t see either the UL label or the ETL label on the ‘fire’ safe, you can’t be sure that any fire testing was done reliably.

Burglary Safe Ratings

A burglary safe is designed to deter break ins of the safe. There are also safes that have both fire and burglary protection built in, but these ratings are strictly for burglary type safes. A burglary rating on a safe is a construction classification, as opposed to a fire safe which has a test classification. These ratings were established by the insurance industry to provide a standard of protection.

b-rate-safe Home safes like the B rate are popular.
B Rate Burglary Safe with Electronic Lock

B Rate Burglary Safe

A B rate burglary safe offers good protection, and is described as any safe that has doors of 1″ steel thickness or less, and doors of 1/2″ thickness or less.  The most common construction characteristics of a B rate burglary safe are 1/2″ thick steel doors, and 1/4″ thick steel bodies. B rates are normally used by retail establishments or restaurants that generate a small to moderate amount of cash, and that don’t store a lot of cash overnight.

c-rate-safe Home safes may include the C rate.
C rate safes offer very good burglary protection.

C Rate Burglary Safe

A C rate burglary safe provides more burglary protection than a B rate safe. The C rate is perhaps the most common of the home safes, and constructed with steel doors that are at least 1″ thick, and steel bodies that are at least 1/2″ thick.   Common C rate burglary safes are 1″ thick steel doors, and 1/2″ thick steel bodies. C rates are used by restaurants and retail establishments that generate a moderate to larger amount of cash, and have a need or who want the option to store some cash overnight. C rates weigh twice what a comparable B rate weighs.

Generally speaking the TL15’s, TL30’s, and the other safes to follow, are normally not used as homes safes, but rather in business, or commercial applications. However, if you intend to store a lot of cash or other highly valuable items at your residence,  then these could certainly be used as home safes.

tl-15-safe Homes safes may include the TL-15
TL 15 provides excellent protection from burglary, and fire.

TL 15 Burglary Safe

The TL 15 is considered to provide more burglary protection than the C rate burglary safe.  These are heavy safes, making them difficult to move from out of the home or place of business.  The TL stands for tool, and the 15 means 15 minutes. So, with the TL 15 you get 15 minutes of protection from a burglar doing his worst with his professional mechanical and electrical hand tools attempting to enter the safe.

The requirements for a TL 15 are a UL listed Group ll combination lock, or type 1 electronic lock.  Body walls of at least 12 gauge open hearth steel or material equivalent to it. Door at least 3/16″ open hearth steel or material equivalent to it. These safes also have fire protection.

TL 15 safes are used by retail establishments, and restaurants that generate medium to large amounts of cash, and who need the option to store cash or other valuables overnight.

tl-30-safe Home safes may include the TL30
The TL 30 provides superior protection from theft, and fire.

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TL 30 Burglary Safe

The TL 30 is considered to have more burglary protection than the TL 15.  In fact, the TL 30 has twice the amount of door, and body steel as the TL 15.  The requirements for a TL 30 are U.L. listed Group 2M, 1, 1R combination lock or Type 1 electronic lock.

Safe body walls of at least 1″ open hearth steel with a minimum tensile strength of 50,000 P.S.I.   Safe weight must be 750 lbs. minimum or comes with instructions for anchoring in a larger safe, concrete blocks or on the premises where used.

The TL 30 is designed for those retail establishments, and restaurants that generate a large amount of cash, and/or whose business requires them to store high cost items, such as jewelry, in the process of their business, and possibly overnight, or for extended periods of time.

tl-30x6-safe not normally used as home safes
The TL 30X6 has superior 6 sided protection.

TL 30X6 Burglary Safe

The TL 30X6 is considered to have superior burglary protection to the TL 30 burglary safe. This super sturdy safe is designed to protect against sophisticated tool attacks from all 6 sides of the safe for 30 minutes.  The same specifications as the TL 30 above, but on all 6 sides of the safe. These safes also provide excellent fire protection.

The TL 30X6 is designed for high end retail establishments, or restaurants, that generate large amounts of cash, and have the need to store and protect expensive items, such as jewelry, and precious metals overnight, and beyond, not necessarily ideal as home safes.

TRTL 30X6 Burglary Safe

TRTL 30X6 more than home safes.
The TRTL 30X6 offers optimum protection against break ins, and fire.

The TRTL 30X6 is the top of the line jewelry safe for maximum protection against burglary attacks. The TR stands for torch, and the TL stands for tool.  This safe can withstand the most sophisticated torch and tool attacks on all 6 sides of the safe for 30 minutes.

It has the same specifications as the TL 30X6, plus it has a high density compressed concrete material encased within inner and outer magnesium steel hardplates.

This safe is used by jewelers, and other high volume businesses that require the finest in protection. Insurance companies will often require the use of this safe for these high end customers.

The TRTL 30X6 safe is designed for very high end retail establishments, and restaurants that generate large volumes of cash, and have the need to store high end jewelry, precious metals, and other very valuable items for long periods of time.

Burglary, and fire safes have the ability to protect you against loss, both in business, and personally. Handgun safes, and quick access long gun safes allow you to be prepared properly for dangers that can occur at very inopportune times. All make great home safes.

I hope you will use this information to find the home safe or home  safes that are right for you, and will serve you well in the years to come.

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Tree House Plans

tree-house plans
A tree house is a great escape.Tree House Plans

Tree House Plans

If you are like me, you have had tree house plans since you were a little kid. I have always wanted my own escape high in the trees, away from parents, away from thoughts and pressures of school and studying, performing in sports, and even certain neighborhood kids that seemed to show up at the most inopportune times.

The house I grew up in was small, and the concept, and prospect of privacy was simply non existent with 5 brothers, and sisters.  How I longed for somewhere to go, to be alone with my thoughts without being disturbed by anyone.   Lacking any trees in our back yard, however, it was left as a dream or a fantasy to have my very own treehouse.

Click here to visit TreehouseSupplies.com – The place for professional grade treehouse materials.

The best I could hope for in having a treehouse, would be to join with some neighborhood buddies, whose folks were willing to let us attempt to build a tree house in their back yard.

We set about the task of finding old boards, crates, plywood, and nails that were left around our streets, or in the back of grocery stores in and around dumpsters, that were nearby.

With little sense or knowledge of planning, we borrowed some tools from our parents, a few hammers, saws, and a ladder, some rope,  and we went about the work of setting up a base for our new treehouse.

Once we accomplished that, no easy task mind you for 8 to 11 year olds, we put together some walls with the plywood we had left.  A rope was used to send up tools, nails, and what not to the designated builder on the platform, as it could only hold one or two guys at a time at that stage.

We sawed a few openings that passed for windows, and an opening in the floor, fashioned a make shift roof, and put together a ladder with a few ropes.

playing_in_tree-house-plans
Building a tree house can be fun and challenging for kids.

With some smaller pieces of wood that would serve as steps on the ladder, and we were almost done, at least to our impatient satisfaction.

We also put together a hatch for the floor opening with a door hinge and an uneven piece of plywood, and we were finished. The rickety rope ladder that was secured by a railroad spike we hammered into the tree, could be pulled up into the treehouse to keep unwanted guests from joining us from down below.

It is a wonder that none of us were injured either in the construction, or the enjoying phase as we encountered more than a few mishaps.

This makeshift ensemble that passed as a treehouse lasted all of a few months of a summer between grade school sessions.  A combination of unstable construction, and our boredom of going in the treehouse, spelled it’s inevitable doom.

We would have to pass the time again by playing baseball at Fred’s field, or playing pinball at the local bowling alley,  if we were able to scrounge up some change.

It was fun to try to build a treehouse as a child, and have always been fascinated with the possiblility even as an adult.  Within the last few years, as you are likely aware, there has been a movement towards building tree houses both for children, and adults. In fact, there has been a real resurgence in designing, and constructing tree houses for adults on the properties of many people.

Perhaps there are many others like me that loved either having, or the idea of having a treehouse as a youngster, and the feeling never left them as an adult.

At this point in my life, I would rather pay someone to build a fine treehouse on my property for me, than to attempt to take on such a gargantuan, dangerous task myself.

Click here to visit TreehouseSupplies.com – The place for professional grade treehouse materials.

pro-built-tree-house-plans
Pro built treehouses can cost as much as $500.000.

You well may have seen Pete Nelson, the expert tree house builder, do his thing on television, on HGTV, and possibly elsewhere.  Pete is an amazingly talented guy who designs and builds some truly gorgeous, and complex tree houses. You might say, he is a man with tree house plans.

But, before I agree to allow a tree house builder ( I’m sure Pete Nelson is too busy, and expensive ) to put one together on my property, I have some pressing questions.

  1.  What are the costs involved? This is clearly the most important aspect, as I am still building my fortune. ( Just kidding, hardly a fortune )  Turns out that treehouse builds start at $9000 for a very basic kid’s one, to upwards of $500,000 for a mega deluxe adult model.  The majority of treehouses for kids run between $10,000 and $30,000.  Most adult treehouses that have either a commercial use, or could be used as a bed and breakfast, start in the $40,000 range, and go up from there. Don’t let the costs involved put a damper on your tree house plans.

2.  Are tree houses safe?  I don’t know about you, but I would sure hate to fork over a large chunk of change, and have my tree house blow over during the next strong windstorm. Especially with me in it.  And what about neighboring trees blowing onto the tree house?

Strong wind gusts can damage a tree house structure by forcing walls or roofs apart, especially since wind can get underneath the structure sometimes in ways that houses on the ground are not exposed to.

Close by trees or branches could come off and land on or in the tree house while you or someone else are in it. Or, they could land on the steps and block off your only way to escape.

Lightning is another danger.  It can cause trees to explode, which could subject you to the current if you are in the treehouse during the ligtning storm. Not to mention, if it hits a tree that is used as a support for your treehouse, it could cause serious injury or worse to any inhabitants.

cool-tree-house-plans
Tree houses are not the safest place to be during a big storm.

Probably best to vacate a treehouse during a strong thunderstorm, or any condition where strong winds are present, if at all possible.  So, if you plan to spend any time in a treehouse, have a plan B where you can go in case any of these severe weather happenings appear. You may have tree house plans for a weekend or just an afternoon, but best to be safe than sorry.

3. Will the trees on my land work for a treehouse?  I have some trees on my property, but will they suffice as treehouse supports?

Apparently, and not surprisingly, hardwood trees work the best for treehouses.  Not knowing how to differentiate as to tree hardness, it’s best to know which tree types work the best, and which do not. It is then up to me to find out the tree types that I have.

Obviously, you don’t want to use a tree that is dead, or is declining, no matter the type.

Best trees for treehouses: sugar maple, oak, apple, hickory, monkey pod

Worst trees for treehouses: birch, sassafras, cottonwood, willow, spruce

4. Is it difficult to put electric, and plumbing in my treehouse? Is it even possible? Would sure like to have a kitchen, and a bathroom, and the ability to listen to music, and watch television.

Electric apparently is not a problem for treehouses. The lines can be run above ground like wires to your house, on the ground, or in the ground through conduit.

Plumbing, on the other hand, is a different animal.  Because treehouses usually move in the wind, the plumbing pipes going to and from them will move too. If they are not designed to move with the treehouse, they will break, causing costly repairs, or replacement.

PEX tubing is one type of flex pipe for your supply lines, and flexible Fernco fittings on the drain lines will decrease the chances of your pipes breaking when the winds are blowing.

winter-tree-house-plans
Be sure exposed pipes are insulated for winter.

Pipes that are exposed to the elements can freeze. It is important to thoroughly insulate all exposed piping to prevent this.  There is also the issue of hiding the big ugly drain/sewer pipes. It is possible to do this by running the piping under stair ways, ladders, and framing.

You should utilize the services of licensed electricians, and plumbers to ensure that you are doing things within established code, and in the safest, and most professional way possible.

Armed with this knowledge, albeit limited, I am now able and willing to take on the project of having a treehouse built on my property. All I have to do now is find a reputable, and experienced tree house builder in my area, with his own set of tree house plans.   With any luck, I will be enjoying a treehouse of my own for the first time in my life by this time next year.

I have tree house plans, how about you?

I may change my name to Tarzan.

See you in the trees!

Click here to visit TreehouseSupplies.com – The place for professional grade treehouse materials.

Tiny Houses Sale

How to Buy Motorhomes

 

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Tiny Houses Sale

 

Tiny Houses Sale

Tiny houses sale
Tiny houses are becoming BIG business.

Everywhere you look nowadays it seems there is a tiny houses sale. Turn on the television, and all the channels related to real estate have shows about buying tiny houses.

Real estate magazines, and real estate websites are suddenly including these diminutive dwellings as a viable option for home buyers.

There are singles,  young couples, young couples with young children, and even older couples that are interesting in buying one of these tiny houses.

Honestly, I have seen little kids playhouses in backyards that rival the size of many of these super small homes.  Even some children’s tree houses are as big or bigger as some of these dinky domiciles.

So what gives? What is the attraction of living in a house so small that just turning around almost guarantees you will hit something or someone.

tiny-house
Tiny houses range from 100 to 400 square feet.

Why live in a place that practically every square inch of space has a purpose for either living or storage? Who in their right mind would want to habit a home where privacy is simply non existent?

Perhaps the biggest benefit to buying, and living in a tiny house is the cost savings.  68% of tiny house owners do not have a mortgage.  This translates into massive savings over the typical life span of a mortgage.

The same amount of money that would merely cover the down payment for many regular size homes, is often enough to purchase a tiny home.

The average cost of an American home is approximately $272,000.  The average cost of a tiny home that the buyer builds themselves is $23,000.

Most Americans spend from 1/3 to 1/2 of their paycheck on their monthly mortgage payments.

tiny-houses-sale-on-wheels
A tiny house on wheels is similar to an RV or a trailer.

And, if the tiny homeowner takes the money that they would ordinarily use to pay down a mortgage, and invest it in a conservative instrument, at the end of 15 years, up to 30 years, they will have a very nice nest egg built up.

Most mortgages end up costing the home owner upwards of 3 times  the original purchase price of the home.  Eliminating this financial burden is one of the smartest monetary moves you can make.

But the cost savings of buying tiny homes do not stop there.  You have much less space to heat, and cool, so your utility costs should greatly decrease.

The average American home is about 2000 square feet. The normal size of a tiny home in America is from 100 square feet to 400 square feet.

Depending on where in the US you live, and whether you use electric, or gas, or some alternative form like solar, or wood,  your utility cost savings could possibly be in the thousands of dollars yearly by living in a tiny home.

And, because you are living in a much smaller house, and usually on a much smaller lot, your maintenance costs are a lot less. For a normal size home and lot, your upkeep expenses will normally run on average around $3000 per year. For your downsized home, your upkeep costs should be in the $500 or less range yearly.

Click here to visit Frugal Shunpikers Guides to RV Boondocking.

tiny-houses-sale-unique
Some tiny homes have even have an architectural feel.

And, how about property taxes?  Well, since property taxes are assessed on a home’s total value, they will likely be a lot less also.

The same can be said for homeowner’s insurance, as well.  Since it would theoretically cost an insurance company a lot less to repair or replace a tiny home, than a bigger home, due to a covered incident, these costs will drop dramatically for you also.

All told, your cost savings from buying a tiny house are very significant, and by itself,  are a compelling reason to downsize into one.

But, if the substantial cost savings weren’t enough of a reason to do the tiny house thing, then let’s look at some additional benefits that may help convince you.

Time savings.   Because you have much less upkeep, and maintenance with a tiny house, and lot, you will find yourself with more time on your hands.

This added time will enable you to pursue other interests, spend more time at work, spend more time with family, or whatever it is that you deem important.

By simplifying your life, and eliminating the worry, and expense of taking care of a larger home, you will, as a result, also lessen your stress levels, and this will likely provide you with a better quality of life, at least psychologically.

Another appealing aspect of living in a tiny house is the ecological impact.  The fact that living tiny has a much smaller environmental burden, or carbon footprint, it gives one a sense of accomplishment from a steward of the earth perspective.

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tiny-houses-sale-interior
Typical tiny house interior.

Also, due to a tiny house’s miniscule heating, and cooling requirements, it is easier to live ‘off the grid’, which is also becoming attractive to a growing number of people.  A relatively small solar panel on the roof, or a solar panel on a standard close to the house, may well be enough to provide energy to heat, and cool the tiny home.

There are, however, some drawbacks to becoming a tiny house owner. One of the largest hurdles to increasing the tiny house craze is the issue of locating somewhere to put them.

Normally, regulations of zoning dictate that square footage be at minimum numbers for initial construction sitting on a foundation, and for ‘portable’ tiny houses with wheels, sitting on a piece of property may be prohibited, as it could be considered camping, not unlike a recreational vehicle, or RV.

Neighbors may be against having a tiny home in their area, as it could mean a decrease in their property values.

Of course, there are the obvious negatives to living tiny, such as being in a cramped indoor environment for much of the day and night.  Having little storage for your stuff.

Some people consider this a positive, to simplify your existence by getting rid of possessions, but often times, having tools, implements, clothing, and other personal possessions can greatly enhance your life, not detract from it.

And then there is the question of privacy. If you are single, then this is not an issue. However, if you are living with someone, and/or if you have children living with you, I hope you get along well with each other, because you will seldom be out of each other’s sight, at least while in your tiny home.

What about inviting friends and family over for dinner, or to stay the night?  This idea becomes a challenging proposition when attempting to entertain at your tiny house.

tiny-houses-sale-outdoor-space
Some tiny houses also have nice outdoor spaces.

If you have a nice outdoor space, and the weather is nice, you may be able to pull it off, but if not, and you are subject to staying indoors, it could be difficult to accommodate guests, and especially so if you want them to stay overnight.

A tiny house is also subject to high winds, and if it is on wheels, it is a prospective target of a thief.  And you better be sure there are no big trees nearby because if one falls on your tiny house, it might not be only the house that is destroyed, but also the inhabitants lives could be.

And what if a fire starts in your tiny house. It could blaze through it in no time, and create a very real danger for you, and any other unlucky inhabitants.

Then there is the question of resale value.  Due to it’s recent popularity, the jury is still out on whether buying a tiny home is a good long term investment.

It’s safe to say that due to it’s uncertain nature of where to put the tiny home, that it’s value will not appreciate to the level of a conventional house.

It is even possible that a tiny home’s resale value will stay the same, or even depreciate, depending on several factors, such as quality, size, amenities, and location.

I suggest that if you are seriously considering buying a tiny house, do your research. Go online, and learn what you can. There are many articles, and videos on youtube about tiny homes.

See if there is a tiny houses sale in your area, go out and look at them. Talk to tiny house owners, and get their feedback.  See how tiny homes are treated within municipalities, and where it may be possible to build a tiny home, or move, and place one.

Buying a tiny home is kind of a big deal, so do your homework. You want to make sure you make the right decision.

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