Thursday, July 19, 2012

Reasonable Home Improvements To Add Value

Improving our home is always top of mind.  To us home improvements don’t mean we have to completely overhaul a room or the entire house.  We don’t even always take on major tasks like replacing tile, carpet or painting often we take on simpler more inexpensive fixes.  Even simple things like adding some fresh flowers, plants or art can completely liven and change a space.  Read on for simple pick me ups for your home.

Let’s start in the living room.  Our room has a ton of windows and doors letting in major amounts of natural light but often appears to be a bit dark.  There are several fixes to our problem.  Some more major than others.  We considered adding skylights which is a bit costly but helps save on electricity bills in the long run for we would not have to have lamps lightening the space.

Another option that is reasonable is to lighten the color paint we have on the wall.  We tend to stick with beige which is neutral but a color such as yellow can add warmth and bring coziness to a space. Another option we have considered is replacing the dark wood furniture in the space with lighter colored furniture or coating it with white paint.  Lots of options are available to add light to a space.
Next we move on to the kitchen.  So much happens in this area of anyone’s home. It is a central hub for families and friends to gather.  Improving on a space such as this is to add function, coziness without deleting spaciousness and functionality.  Adding built ins can really improve a kitchen space.  One example is the microwave.   Having this item stacked above the stove instead of on a counter adds a tremendous amount of space.

Another great tip for the kitchen is to add an overhang from the counter tops for a mini-meal space.  Bar stools are convenient ways to add seating without taking up space in a situation like this.  I also like adding in a fresh herb assortment to add a fresh feel.  Instead of using a counter add mason jars on shelves or hooks with the herbs growing from them.  This can really improve the feel of a kitchen.
Home improvements aren’t always necessarily items that we can immediately see.  Adding insulation to improve the heating and cooling performance of your homes air conditioning system and home heating system are great examples of this.  Adding energy efficient appliances as well as heating andcooling units save you money over the long haul which is a huge improvement to your home and can increase the home’s value tremendously in the eyes of future buyers.

Home improvements come in all shapes, sizes and budgets. How you improve your home and why is up to you.  Some people are updating and upgrading for resale value only.  Others want to make their homes cozy havens to relax and enjoy.  Whatever the reason for your next home improvement, big or small, remember the end result will make it all worth the effort put into it.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Tips For Energy Savings For Your Home

It is so important to be comfortable within your home. With the temperatures reaching into the high nineties comfort has come from our central air conditioning unit.  The same is true when the temperatures dip into negative digits in the winter.  It is important for us to keep the temperature within our home constant to keep comfortable.  For us in the winter we are good at or above sixty-four and the summer seventy-four is just right.  There are some basic common sense tips we have implemented in our home to help us in this effort.

The first step in home heating and cooling efficiency is having a professional come in and evaluate your current furnace and air conditioningunits.  Professionals come in and see that the units are truly energy efficient and might only recommend yearly maintenance to keep them tuned up and running smooth.  They also come in and explain if your system is outdated and could use an upgrade. It is important to take their advice.  An update heating and cooling system will save you money and increase the value of your home.

Additional Tips To Energy Savings:
  • It is important to use weather stripping to keep drafts at a minimum.  Adding weather stripping is a cheap and easy to install heating and cooling efficiency product.
  • The next tip is something we practice as our children are culprits of not shutting doors.  We have installed automatic door closers on all of the doors leading outside of our home.  This prevents us from yelling about the doors not being fully shut and keeps the kids out of trouble. I am sure this saves us several dollars a week, at least.
  • We have added blackout shades and room darkening blinds to door walls and windows.  This keeps the weather outside out and the inside temperatures in.  This makes a huge difference in the sleep we get without the sun peeking in our windows in the summer months as well.
  • In the winter months keep blankets handy.  Wrapping up and taking the chill out of your skin helps reduce the likely hood you will reach the furnace dial to turn the heat up.
  • Another tip I strongly suggest is to change the room’s temperature by one degree from what you would usually set it on.  Believe it or not this can save you as much as seven percent off the heating and cooling bill.
  • The location of your thermostat is important as well.  If your thermostat is in a very drafty space it will run even when other rooms in the house are at a decent temperature.
  • Another great tip for heating and cooling comes more from basic care of one’s self.  Don’t layer clothes on in the summer when you are cooling the house and the opposite is true in the winter.  It is not smart to walk around half dressed when you are trying to heat the home.  In the summer you can cool your body easily by jumping in the shower.  In the winter warm up with some cocoa or hot soup.  Trust me it really works!