Wintertime brings a whole host of issues to homeowners. If you're not dealing with shoveling snow or insulating your pipes, you're probably agonizing over your recent energy bills. Nothing affects the budget like costly heating during a cold, wet winter. The good news is your energy bill doesn't have to create such a large impact. Here are some energy saving tips to get you through another Winter Storm Jonas or any additional Snowmageddons without breaking the bank.
When the weather is below freezing outside a draft can quickly work against your heating system. If you didn't take time in late fall to go around the house and find any spots where air is getting in, it's not too late. Check windows, doors, plumbing vents, furnace ducts, recessed lights, attic openings, basements, and wiring holes. Any place you feel the breeze, seal it with the correct materials, like caulk, spray foam, and weatherstripping. Remember sealing from the inside is more effective. Also add heavy curtains over your windows if you can't afford to replace older, drafty panes quite yet.
It's hard to turn down the thermostat when your home feels so good toasty warm. Just remember, the Department of Energy tells you for every degree you lower your thermostat your bill will be one percent less. Find other ways to stay warm while taking down the heat a couple notches. Try things like:
Heating water can cost a pretty penny. Make a challenge to everyone in the family to shorten their showers by a few minutes each. If you want to add to your savings, invest in a low flow showerhead.
Your annual budget should always include routine maintenance for your house systems. When systems, like your HVAC or furnace, are working well, it can save you a bundle in energy costs.
Some of the newest thermostats on the market allow you to control the heat of your home from your phone. If you know you're going to be a few hours late, reprogram the thermostat to save energy until you're on the way home.
On sunny winter days open the curtains or blinds over windows with direct sun exposure to let the light in. The sun's natural heat will warm the room, and as the light dims you can close the curtains to hold it in.
It's not the most fun project in the world, but an insulated attic will cut unnecessary heat loss. Talk to the local building department to see what insulation they recommend for your area and the age of your house.
If your fireplace draws cold air from outside, you're going to want to get a pair of airtight doors for your modern insert. Older fireplaces can be reworked as well, but the doors will need vents. Just remember to only keep the vents open when the fireplace is in use. Another solution is a chimney-top damper that stops heat loss.
Making little changes can be an effective way to add up the energy savings. If you're looking for a new house this winter, make sure to contact the team at Old Dominion Realty.
Real estate is an excellent career for those with self-direction, motivation, and a desire to help people find a place to call home. It can be a good fit for people looking for a little flexibility, and who enjoy variety in their everyday work life. If you've always been curious about becoming a real estate agent, here are 5 reasons to consider it for your next career path.
What are today's home buyers looking for in a home? If you're selling a house, you might be thinking ... That's a good question! Homes differ and features span a variety of tastes and needs. However, there are some aspects the majority of home buyers appreciate. We've listened to what our clients have told us. Here is our list of ten features home buyers want in a home.
Laundry rooms have become a coveted space. Filled with cabinets for organization and Energy Star-rated washers and dryers, these rooms are convenient and helpful. According to home experts, counter space, a utility sink, and ample storage are key components for the laundry room. When creating yours, make sure each step of the laundry process is represented in the space.
Reality home shows have shown the benefits of having excellent storage systems. An area that's often overlooked is the garage. Creating spaces to put tools, outdoor equipment, and other odds and ends helps leave room for cars. According to a few surveys floating around the internet, around 1 in 4 people have too much clutter to park in their garage.
The more research that's done, the more people are seeing the perks of natural lighting. Many older homes were built compartmentalized with small, ill-placed windows. Buyers love the airy openness of rooms with large windows, well-done skylights, and expansive doors that let the light in.
They say once you've had heated floors you'll never go back. Gone are the winter mornings you have to swing out of bed and place your feet on ice-cold flooring. You don't have to invest in radiant heating throughout the whole house. Bathrooms are usually good enough for the average buyer.
5. Kitchen Eating Areas
Most families would rather walk a short distance to get dinner on the table. While dining rooms are a pleasant space to have if you entertain a lot, most people prefer to eat in the kitchen. A nicely done breakfast nook appeals to most buyers.
The outdoor area doesn't have to be fancy, but a well-thought-out garden design with designated use areas are popular. If it's easy-care, it will be more attractive. Think of the outdoor area as an extension of the home. It's an additional living space people want to use.
It's helpful when towels, toiletries, and various paper goods are easily accessible. Bathroom linen closets are back on buyers' radars.
As an environmentally-friendly nation, efficiency is a hot topic for many buyers. They look for Energy Star appliances, double-pane windows, and anything else that maximizes the efficiency of their home.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but what people are looking for are exhaust fans that do their job well. If there are dated fans (or worse, no fans) that increase the risk of excess moisture and mold-producing conditions in the bathroom, it's a definite turn-off for savvy consumers.
As a tech-obsessed culture, Smart Homes are becoming as desirable as Smart Phones. Some unique smart features that appeal to the masses are the Learning Thermostat, wired homes, automated lighting systems, and security systems controlled by your phone.
What features do you want in your next home? If you're in the market to buy a house in 2016, contact Old Dominion Realty for real estate help and advice.