Eco-Friendly Ways to Heat and Cool Your Home

Keeping a house cool in the summer and warm in the winter on the cheap is not the easiest place to cut back when budgeting. But, on top of preventing your wallet from shrinking, there is even more reason to preserve energy on heating and cooling your house: the environment. The amount of energy your house uses affects the environment just as much as your wallet and is well worth investing time and effort into to prevent higher usage than necessary.

Below are a few tips to save on energy whether it’s winter or summer:

Make the most of your windows – Opening windows means more sunlight to keep your house warmer in the winter and more breezes to keep your home cool in the summer. Investing in thermal curtains will help you maintain temperatures within the house. Keep curtains open during the day to allow the sunlight to warm your home and closed at night to keep out the chill during the colder to months. In the warmer months keep them closed during the day to keep out the heat and open at night to let in the cooler breeze.

Know where your weak spots are – Having a home energy audit performed will show you exactly where energy is being lost in your home. This will allow you to make smart upgrades in your home where it really counts.

Stop leaks in their tracks – Storm windows are great for the winter and, believe it or not, summer months too. The space between the windows keeps warmth in during the colder months and heat out in the warmer months. Draught-stoppers, cheap and easy to DIY, is also a great way to preserve the desired temperature in your home. Another easy to install option to save on energy is weather stripping your doors and windows.

Check your ratings – R-value is a rating scale of an insulation’s ability to prevent heat flow. The higher the R-value the more efficient the insulation. Living in New England you will want to look for a higher R-value in the type of insulation you invest in. Since heat rises you will want to use insulation with a higher R-value on the top floors of your house than those on your lowers floors.

Be a control freak – Installing an easy to use programmable thermostat is a great way to manage the temperature in your home. Set up timers that keep your home warmer while you are awake and at home in the winter months and set to a lower temperature while you are out for the day or asleep for the night. In the summer set up your timer to keep your home cooler while you are home and to use less energy while you are out of the house for the day.

While it takes an investment of time and money upfront ensuring that your home efficiently uses energy when cooling and heating your house will benefit you for years to come. One of the great perks to being frugal about your home’s energy usage is that it will also shrink your impact on the environment. With perks like that, you can’t lose!

How To Know The Cost Of A Fixer Upper

f you are on the fence about buying a fixer-upper house, you may be wondering if it’s as affordable as you think it might be. Depending upon what needs to be done in the house and how extensive the projects are, you may be in over your head buying this type of home. Here’s a few things that you should consider before you buy a fixer-upper:

Can You Do Any Of The Work Yourself?

If you watch any television remodeling show, you think that remodeling can be done in an hour. They make it look so easy! Too bad it isn’t like that in real life. If you attempt a job, and it takes longer than it normally would, that can set you back on dollars. Even worse, if you can’t complete the job yourself, you may need to hire someone to finish it, which will cause you to incur unexpected costs. Ask yourself the following questions before you decide to undertake your own home improvement projects in a fixer-upper home:

  • Do You Have The skills? 
  • Do you have the time to complete the job? 
  • Will doing the repairs stress you out? 
  • will you be happy if the results are less than professional? 
  • Do you actually want to do the job yourself? 

Before You Make An Offer, Price Out Repairs

Before you even make an offer on a fixer-upper home, make sure that you find contractors and price out the repairs that the home will need. If you do decide to do the work yourself, make sure that you price out the supplies that you’ll need. No matter what you decide to do for your repairs, you should add an additional 10-20% on to the estimated costs for other unforeseen problems.   

Don’t Forget About Permits

You’ll need to check out the permit costs for any and all repairs. Doing work without a permit may save you money, but it could cause problems once you try to resell your home. Contractors can arrange the permits for you. Getting these permits can be a time consuming matter and frustrating at times, so be prepared to go through some paperwork when you start the repair process. 

Understand The Cost Of Major Structural Work

If the home needs major structural work, it’s a good idea to hire a structural engineer for a few hundred dollars in order to inspect the home before you even put in an offer. This way, you can be confident that you have everything budgeted properly and understand the full extent of the problems. 

Generally, it’s not a great idea to purchase a home that needs major structural work unless you fall into the following categories:

  • You’re getting a great discount
  • You understand all of the problems that you’re facing in the home
  • You know for sure that the problem can be fixed
  • You have an estimate for the repairs
  • You know how you’re financing the repairs
  • You have the budget to complete all of the repairs. 

There’s a lot to consider when you’re buying a home that needs significant repairs. It can be a great bargain if you have the budget and the will to complete the projects at hand. Just know what you’re getting into when you buy a fixer-upper home!   

Kids Safety in the Home

While home is a place where you want to rest, play and relax with the family; it is also a place where accidents can happen.  Most children will get bumps and bruises, that is to be expected as children run and play; but some more serious injuries can be preventable.  It can be very difficult placing restraints on kids as they play, so the next alternative is to make the home a safe place for children to be in. Here are some safety tips that should be followed for different areas in the home.

THE KITCHEN

  • Knives, scissors, forks and other sharp tools should be placed in the drawer secured with a childproof latch.
  • Locks should be installed on dishwashers so kids cannot open them while they are running.
  • When cooking, handles of pots and frying pans should be turned away and placed in a position that adventurous children cannot reach.
  • Cabinets under the sink should be free of all dangerous chemicals such as, detergents, dish washing liquid, and cleaning products.  Cabinets that can be accessed by children should also be secured with a safety lock.
  • Keep all plastic or polythene bags, and small objects out of the reach of children to eliminate the risk of choking and suffocation.

The Children’s Bedroom

  • The baby’s changing table should have a safety belt.
  • Baby cribs should be free of stuffed pillows, large stuffed animals and bumper pads to reduce the risk of child suffocation.
  • Toy chests and containers should have a safety feature that prevents them from slamming shut.
  • Safety latches should be installed on bureau drawers, closet doors and any other restricted areas in the child’s room.
  • All furniture, toys and accessories in a child’s room need to be age appropriate.

The Adult’s Bedroom

  • All medication bottles, loose pills, coins and sharp objects should be kept out of the reach of children.
  • Window blinds should be tied and kept suspended at heights that children cannot reach.
  • For parents who own fire arms, they should be locked and kept secured at all times. Ammunition should be stored separately in a secure location.  Children should never have any access to firearms or ammunition.

Electricals

  • All unused electrical outlets should be protected with safety guards and major electrical appliances should be grounded to prevent shocks.
  • Be certain that all electrical cords, and small electrical appliances are out of a child’s reach.
  • A smoke detector should be installed on each floor of your home.
  • The most common source of carbon monoxide comes from open flames, such as ovens and ranges.  It can be formed from an incomplete combustion from any flame fueled device like clothes dryers, furnaces, fireplaces and even water heaters. For this reason it is strongly recommended to install carbon monoxide detectors.

Bathrooms

  • The hot water thermostat should be set below 120 degrees.
  • All sharp objects like razor blades should be stored away in a locked cabinet.
  • There should be non-slip pads on the bathroom floor to prevent the child from slipping.
  • Bottles containing chemicals such as mouth wash, perfumes, hair dyes, and nail polish remover should be stored in a safe and secure location out of the reach of children.
  • Child safety latches should be installed on the toilet, cabinets, and doors.

All parents should take the responsibility of ensuring their child’s safety seriously.  There are many resources and products available to help ensure that a child is safe within their own home.

 

Update Your Bathroom On A Budget

Many people looking to sell their homes aren’t really looking to spend money on appliances and fixtures for the home they are about to leave. However, if you find yourself with a less-than-impressive bathroom in your home-for-sale, then consider these relatively cheap ways to add a little zing to your shower space.

  • Replace the doorknob.
  • If your bathroom has a linoleum floor, look into how much it would cost to replace.
  • Buy a new bathroom rug set. Even if you’re taking them with you when you move, a new set will make your bathroom look a lot more inviting to a potential buyer.
  • Consider outfitting your shower with a new shower head.
  • Make sure your pipes are in good working order. Pipes that are slow to drain need to be addressed.
  • Take a look at your bathroom walls. Are they in need of a new paint job? A vibrant coat of paint can work wonders in a less-than-impressive bathroom.

As a general rule, cleanliness speaks for itself. If you can spot any part of your bathroom that may need a little TLC, odds are a potential buyer will see them, too.