Upcycling involves recycling or reusing an object so that it becomes more attractive, useful, or valuable. It's a great way to keep objects out of the landfill and update your home with unique pieces that reflect your sense of style.
The start of fall offers many things to look forward to, with warm days, cool, crisp nights, and beautiful foliage to enjoy. It's also the perfect time to make sure your HVAC system is ready for the winter, which is why National Tune-Up Day is observed on September 25th. National Tune-Up Day is a reminder to have your heating system serviced by the pros, to maximize efficiency and address any issues before the cold weather arrives. Our real estate agents have the details on five local HVAC companies that can service your system.
Why It's So Important to Have Your HVAC System Serviced
Whether you've just moved in after shopping for West Virginia real estate or have lived in your home for a long time, your HVAC system is key to comfort during the winter. Regular maintenance ensures your system is working at maximum efficiency and helps identify small issues before they become big ones. Having your system serviced by the pros before the cold weather arrives will make life much easier, which is why National Tune-Up Day happens every year at the start of fall.
January 10 is National Cut Your Energy Costs Day. In our last blog, we discovered ways Staunton home buyers use to save energy and money in their living spaces. Ahead, our REALTORS® explore how homeowners throughout West Virginia and Virginia save energy in their homes too.
Whether you've fallen in love with one of our sprawling single-family homes or a quaint residential condo, there's one thing every buyer looking at Staunton homes for sale can agree on — low utility bills are a must. Even in the largest homes, it's possible to significantly reduce your monthly electrical bill with a few simple decisions. Our REALTORS® have found that many homeowners in the area use these six tips to decrease their utility bills and run a more energy-efficient home.
Summer is just around the corner in Staunton and your A/C system will soon be working overtime. There's nothing like stepping through the door of your comfortable, air-conditioned home after a day in the summer sun--the good news is that keeping your home cool doesn't have to break the bank. Our REALTORS® have created these simple, money-saving, home cooling tips so you don't have to sacrifice air-conditioned comfort this summer.
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.
Green living is a popular topic these days, and for good reason. We're better equipped than ever to see the benefits that environmentally friendly habits have on our surroundings, and there's a real public push toward greater efficiency at home. The real secret to the popularity of going green, however, is that it will also save you money. Ahead, we'll cover why that's the case, along with how you can take advantage of the environmental and financial benefits of green living.
Going green is really about improving efficiency, so you can make the biggest early gains by targeting the home systems that are traditionally less efficient. Your heating and cooling system is the perfect place to start, because there are a few simple fixes that apply to nearly every home. The best part? Most of our green living tips are inexpensive to implement, and will be a boon to your budget long-term.
Even just a few short years ago, it would have been hard to imagine saving the environment and saving money at the same time. Green living is more than a passing trend. It's here to stay, and you won't have to change your lifestyle to feel the benefits.
Are you searching for the perfect home to create your own green-living oasis? Old Dominion Realty, serving Virginia and West Virginia, offers everything you need for a seamless home-buying experience. Contact our experienced REALTORS® for answers to all of your big questions, and begin the journey to your dream home.
Summer officially arrives this weekend on Sunday, June 21. Just because temperatures will be on the rise doesn't mean your electric bill needs to increase also. If you are looking for ways to reduce the costs of using your air conditioning system this summer, consider these tips from us at Old Dominion Realty. With a few small changes, you can enjoy energy savings all summer long.
Dining out may not be cost effective, but cooking out can help prevent heat gain by using your oven or stove. Grill outside as much as possible or use the microwave and crock pot to cook your food without heating up your home. Using the oven during hot days will cause your air conditioner to work overtime.
The summer sun beating through your window can cause quite a bit of heat gain. Eliminate this by closing the blinds to block out the warm rays especially when you are not home to enjoy the light. Your air conditioner won't have to work as hard and you will enjoy energy savings with one simple step.
The air moving through your air conditioning system is dirty and grimy. Unfortunately, much of that grit ends up in the air conditioning filter. Over time, a dirty filter can lessen the efficiency of your system overall. For simple energy savings, keep the filter clean . US News and World Report recommends cleaning the air conditioning or replacing the filter once a month.
It's easy to forget to increase the temperature in your home at night or when you leave for the day. Use a programmable thermostat. You can save up to 30 percent on energy savings every year by increasing the temperature when you leave for the day during the summer so the air conditioner works less. Raising the temperature by as little as five degrees for the eight hours you are at work can lower cooling costs by three to five percent.
If you leave your electronics, including your TV and radio, plugged in when not in use, you are using up electricity unnecessarily. Electricity still flows to these items, and then when they do not use it, back through the cord, and this causes some electricity to be lost. Either learn to unplug these items when they are turned off, or use a Smart Strip that will cut power to them.
Unless you are an HVAC professional, you have no way of knowing if your system is working efficiently. Have your air conditioning system inspected at the start to the summer to rule out any problems that may be increasing your energy costs.
Fans cost less energy to run than the air conditioner and create a cooling effect in rooms. To make the most out of your fans, only run them in rooms you are using. The wind effect does not actually lower the temperature of the room, but only how comfortable you feel, so turn the fans off when you leave a room.
Everyone needs to pay attention to energy savings especially when the temperatures in Virigina and West Virginia start to soar. If your summer plans include buying or selling a house in the area, contact Old Dominion Realty.
Conserving energy in a home is important for a number of reasons. Not only will home energy conservation keep a residence adequately cooled or heated, it will also reduce utility bills. Homeowners should follow some important steps to make sure that their residence is efficiently using energy:
Use An Efficient Air Conditioning System
Air conditioning machines should have a good EER (energy efficiency ratio). The United States Department of Energy advises that homeowners use an air conditioning system with an EER of at least 10. Also, be sure to keep air conditioning devices and filters clean so that they can work to their fullest capability.
Improve Windows And Screens
High-performance windows are designed to ensure that cold and hot air is not lost. Once these windows are in place, it is important to periodically make sure that they are in good condition. High-performance windows and screens often contribute so much to home energy conservation that they could reduce the amount of strength that is necessary from a home heating or air conditioning system.
Use CFL Bulbs That Are Appropriate Sizes
Compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs give off the same amount of light as regular bulbs but use less power. Also, be sure that bulbs are the right size and wattage. The proper size and wattage for the bulbs in a home is determined by what kind of socket the bulbs are placed in.
Wash Clothes In Cold Water
Because of the increase in the efficiency of modern laundry detergents, cold water is usually just as effective as hot water is for cleaning clothes, except for heavily soiled clothing. Much of the energy used from doing laundry comes from heating up water used in hot water loads. For this reason, most clothes should be washed in cold water to save on energy costs.
Purchase Appliances That Are Energy Star Certified
The EPA's energy conservation standard, Energy Star, certifies consumer appliances for energy efficiency. Most Energy Star products use between 20 and 30% less energy than federal standards require them to. Buying appliances and electronics that are Energy Star certified will help homeowners meet home energy conservation goals.
Using less energy will reduce homeowner costs and protect environmental resources. In today's age of technology, there are more devices than ever that use some form of energy. Follow these home energy conservation tips to keep your home as efficient as possible. Are you looking for an energy efficient home? Let the experts at Old Dominion Realty assist you, visit: www.ODRVA.com