Home Help rail with items on renovations for energy efficiency, the value of renovation projects on resale, personalizing home through scents and textures, and pruning trees and shrubs.
Tip of the Week
It's that time of year again, when the cold wind blows outdoors and your home works as hard as it can to keep you warm and comfortable indoors. Now is a good time to make energy-efficient renovations.
More than 90 percent of the 116 million homes in the United States are expected to have higher heating expenditures this winter compared with last winter, mainly due to changes in energy prices, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Here are some tips for making your home run more efficiently this winter.
- Change your furnace filter. A dirty furnace filter can restrict airflow and increase energy use in your home. Keeping your furnace clean, updated and properly adjusted can save about 5 percent on heating costs.
- Upgrade to a more efficient furnace. Consider upgrading to a more efficient and reliable furnace. Reduce heat loss from windows. Ten to 25 percent of your heating bill each month can often be attributed to heat lost through your home's windows, according to energy.gov. Replace old windows with more energy efficient ones so your heating system doesn't have to work as hard to manage your home's desired temperature.
- Create an energy command center. Some of the newest technologies literally put home energy control at your fingertips. For instance, with some systems, you can monitor indoor and outdoor temperatures, adjust your HVAC system for energy efficiency and learn when it's time to change a filter or schedule routine maintenance.
- Choose Energy Star products. Using Energy Star-certified products, which incorporate advanced technologies that use 10 to 15 percent less energy and water than standard models, throughout your home could save nearly $900 over the lifetime of the products.
Considering a renovation project to improve the chances of selling your home at a higher value? Remodeling Magazine suggests homeowners renovate wisely. The average remodeling payback in the past 10 years has dropped from 82 percent in 2003 to 60.6 percent this year. Often underestimated by sellers are simple home improvements such as repainting and minor fix-ups.
Did You Know
Reduce air leaks and stop drafts by using caulk, weather stripping and insulation to seal your home's envelope and add more insulation to your attic to block out heat and cold. A knowledgeable homeowner or skilled contractor can save up to 20 percent on heating and cooling costs and significantly enhance home comfort with comprehensive sealing and insulating measures, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Personalizing your home doesn't only mean incorporating visual items. It involves textures, sounds and scents, too. Keep pretty dishes of your favorite candies or chocolates around the house especially in the rooms that you and guests frequent. And because smell is one of the strongest triggers for memory, consider lighting candles or incense associated with your favorite moments such as outdoor scents like vanilla sandalwood in the winter.
Since trees and shrubs lose leaves in the fall, it is easier to spot and prune diseased or dying branches. To prevent disease, prune branches that grow back toward the center of the tree, or cross and rub against each other. However, do not remove unreasonably large branches since exposed stubs can cause health problems for trees and shrubs.
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