The fall season is here and in some areas of the country the leaves are already beginning to change and the air is getting a little crisper. There is even some snow in some northern regions and higher elevations. Many people love the fall season because of the cooler days and nights and beautiful scenery. It is also the perfect time to take advantage of some energy savings tips and prepare your home for winter. Here are some ideas on how to reduce your energy bill this fall.
Open Your Windows
The hot and humid says of summer are all behind us. Try opening windows during the day and night and use Mother Nature’s AC. The combination of the reduced sunlight intensity and crisp fall breeze can keep your home at a comfortable temperature without using the AC.
Keep the Moisture in the Air
One of the downsides to the crisp fall air is that there is typically less moisture in the air. Many people turn on the heat at night to keep warm air in their bedrooms to keep from becoming hoarse. By getting a humidifier, you can keep moisture in the air without having to use your heat.
Make Your Fan Spin Clockwise
It’s a little-known fact that by changing the way your ceiling fan spins, you can better control the room temperature. In fall and winter, the fan should be spinning clockwise to push warm air to the floor. During summer you want your fan spinning counter-clockwise to push cool air up.
Make Sure Your Home is Sealed
Leaks in the seals between your doors and windows is one of the biggest reasons we get cold air drafts in our homes. The time to fix those leaks is now before the weather gets too cold. Also, check your insulation as well to make sure your home is well covered and doesn’t need replacing.
Clean Your Fireplace
If you have a fireplace, you will want to make sure it is clean and ready for use in the coming months. By cleaning the fireplace and chimney you can not only make sure you are getting the proper heat, but also keep your home safe.
Get a Smart Thermostat
By getting a programmable or smart thermostat, you can reduce energy usage while you are away from your home. You can also make sure it doesn’t get too cold in your home so it is easy to bring the heat back up when you return with little energy usage.
Use the Great Outdoor Refrigerator
If you are having a party or get together, consider keeping beverages outdoors instead of in the refrigerator. In many areas of the country, the temperature drops enough at night to a temperature that will keep your drinks cool outside. This can save your refrigerator from having to use a lot of energy to cool down your drinks.
Fall is a great time to cut back on energy usage and save on your electricity bill. My implementing some of these savings tips you can better prepare your home for the colder months ahead. Fall is also the time when many retail energy providers offer some great electricity rates. If you live in a deregulated energy state, make sure you shop and compare your current electricity rate with others in your area. Simply type in your zip code below and see if you can save today!
5 Things You Can Do Yourself to Improve the Value of Your House
Whether you want to own it or list it, every once in a while, a house needs a facelift. This will not only improve quality of your life but will capitalize your home’s value significantly, too.
The best way to improve home value by yourself is to upgrade only what is necessary and nothing more. For instance, why would you buy a new bathroom door when a little retouch and a coat of fresh paint will suffice? By taking this approach, you are allowing yourself to make several small improvements instead of venturing just one or bigger ones. Select projects thoughtfully and know when you should stop.
Pitch in for the kitchen
If you really want a return on investment one day, start in the kitchen. By many, the kitchen still represents the heart and the soul of the house, the central hub of a property and it will all on its own add colossal value to your home. Moreover, the kitchen can be a breaking point in selling the house, so you should not hold on to your wallet in this area.
There are many little things you can do to spruce up the overall image of your kitchen. You may paint the kitchen cabinets, replace old door handles, add additional storage space with a sliding wall or a kitchen island if there is enough room for it. In addition, you may open the living space up by taking a kitchen wall down. Possibilities for do-it-yourself are many.
Add an attic or a basement bedroom
Properties are usually valued by two things: land size and the number of bedrooms. The price range between a three to four-bedroom home is two to four hundred thousand. Since you can’t change the size of your land, you can at least increase the number of bedrooms.
If you are prepared to go full-scale, converting the attic or the basement into the bedroom is another especially favored project that will by far boost up your home’s value once you decide to put it on the market. Until you decide to list it you will enjoy in your own extra space for entertainment, living, sleeping, playing, exercising, or whatever you fancy.
Transformation with paint
If your walls have scrapes and stained paint, a vintage color or shabby wallpaper, several cans of paint can make a striking distinction. In order to increase the value of your home, it is recommended to go with neutral colors that will unify the whole house and make the space visually bigger.
Bottom line, nothing can transform a home like a cast of fresh new paint. It is the number one way to beef up a property value of any budget. Additionally, painting the house is still one of the easiest, fastest and highest value drivers.
Secure with style
All of your effort and money would be wasted if you can’t protect the investments you made. A good security door costs as little as a few hundred dollars but if it saves you just once from being robbed it instantly pays itself off. People avoid putting security screens on windows because they mostly do not look stylish enough, but there are other options, such as installing shutters. There are so many elegant and cool shutter options that we found at Independent Blinds & Awnings that it’s really hard not to find something for you.
Basic maintenance for a worry-free mind
A clean house is a healthier house for you and your family. By making a clean house your number one on the list for improving, you accomplish a couple of things at once.
First, you stay on track with maintenance issues and, consequently you are able to recognize future problems before they become costly ones. Secondly, you don’t allow dirt and garbage to pile up over time. Thirdly, smudged, dirty windows can have a bad impact on the overall perception of the house. Same as eyes are windows to the soul, windows are for the home. Therefore, you need to wash them properly.
Spice up the landscaping
Big backyard is an all Australian dream and still, it is more often than not the most ignored area of the house. However, landscaping is really important as it frames a property from every corner.
Simple, low budget cosmetic changes in the front yard including installing garden beds, adding plants, pebbles or mulch, and paving or painting the front walls will positively lift the curb appeal as well as the property value. As for the backyard, you may span a lawn to create more open space for you and your family to move freely, cut and reduce unruly trees and vegetation, and fix the fence if needed.
Adding value to your home through a cosmetic or structural renovation is an actual way to quickly enhance your money invested in a property. In the end, you need to make sure that if you will continue to live in the house and renovate, that your renovations will contribute to a good lifestyle and that it will give the impression of a “ready to move in” property once you decide to list it.
Easy Ways to Be More Eco-Conscious Without Changing Your Lifestyle
We live in a time when climate change has become abundantly evident. Even people who were doubtful a decade ago now understand that we all need to do what we can to live a greener lifestyle. But for some people, that’s easier said than done.
If you or someone you know are ready to begin living a more eco-conscious life, it doesn’t require totally changing your current lifestyle. There are plenty of small, easy things that can be done to reduce your carbon footprint little by little.
Eco-Conscious Travel Tips
Driving around in a car is often the biggest part of a person’s eco-footprint. In the past we’ve provided easy green travel changes that can be used immediately, and here are a few more to add to the list when you’re traveling by vehicle.
Eco routing is an easy way to reduce mileage, limit pollution and make the trip easier to navigate. The idea is that you use an online eco-routing tool (no physical equipment means a smaller eco-footprint) to create the most fuel-efficient routes. You can even plan out routes with multiple stops.
Keep Your Tires Properly Inflated
Deflated tires reduce your miles per gallon. The Energy Department notes that you can improve MPG by 3% simply by keeping your tires properly inflated. The standard recommendation for tires is 30 to 35 p.s.i.
Follow Driving Best Practices
All those things your driver’s ed teacher taught you can help you lower the ecological impact of driving. Quickly starting and stopping, speeding and aggressive driving can lower your gas mileage by as much as 40%.
Eco-Conscious Utility Tips
Another factor of life that makes an individual’s eco-footprint larger is utility use. Electricity, water and gas service all require the use of natural resources. You may not be able to install a solar power system or forgo utilities all together, but there are things you can do to lower energy use.
- Look for green energy providers. In deregulated areas where consumers are able to select their utility providers, you may have the option to get electricity that’s generated by renewable resources.
- Change out incandescent light bulbs. Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) and LEDs are much more energy efficient and the last years longer. You’ll save energy and reduce waste at the same time.
- Start using smart power strips. Smart strips go a step further than regular power strips by allowing users to connect different devices so they turn off and on together.
- Connect electronics to an app. With today’s technology, lights, appliances and more can be synced with a smartphone app so you can turn things off even when you aren’t at home.
- Use your windows strategically. Many people don’t realize that curtains can be used to reduce lighting, heating, and cooling. All you have to do is open and close curtains or blinds at the right time of day.
Eco-Conscious Cooking Tips
The third place where you can make huge improvements with small changes is in the kitchen. Food consumption is a major contributor to carbon emissions. On average, U.S. households contribute 8.1 metric tons of CO2e strictly from food consumption.
- Start a vegetable garden – when veggies only have to travel a few feet from the yard to the kitchen there are no extra carbon emissions.
- Whenever possible use a countertop toaster oven in place of the regular oven.
- Go meatless one or two days a week. Meat is by far the biggest contributor to food consumption carbon emissions.
- Keep your refrigerator full. When the refrigerator is full it uses less energy to stay cold.
- Use a kitchen composter. You don’t have to create some complex system to start composting. There are compact kitchen composters that can help you repurpose waste for your garden rather than adding to a landfill.
- Consider replacing appliances that are over a decade old. As an appliance ages, it usually becomes less energy efficient. Replacing an old appliance with an Energy Star model can help you save energy without even trying.
Every little thing counts when you’re reducing your carbon footprint. Instead of putting off big changes, start implementing some of the smaller steps to get the process going.