Articles Tagged "Energy Efficient Homes"

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October
4

Home Improvement: How to Prioritize All Your Projects

Home Improvement

Do you feel overwhelmed at the idea of tackling home improvement projects? If you're like most homeowners, you can just walk through your home and see so many tasks awaiting your elbow grease. If you're thinking of listing your home among Sarasota homes for sale, you may want to get a handle on prioritizing projects.

One of the first steps is to decide how you want to categorize your repairs and renovations. You might jot down categories such as these, and then under each one, list projects that fall under that heading:

  • Safety
  • Damage prevention
  • Cosmetic
  • Updating to increase home value

Here are some additional tips for organizing your thoughts and knowing which projects to tackle first.

  1. List Projects that Affect the Safety of the Home
    Safety should always come first. Maybe there are electrical problems that threaten the safety of the home's occupants. Do you need to install security lighting and cameras outside the home and replace failing door hardware and locks? Is the HVAC on its last leg, and does it need replacement, or will some repairs get it into good working order? In most of these cases, you will likely need to call an expert, so plan your budget accordingly. 

  2. List Projects that Prevent Damage to the Home
    After you worked on projects causing an immediate safety hazard, look for ones that prevent potential damage. Do rain gutters need repair to save the roofline? Are there severe drafts in winter because of structural problems or because the windows need weatherstripping and caulking? Is the plumbing or roof leaking? Do trees need to be cut back, so they don't damage the roof? Once again, some projects you can likely tackle while others will need an expert. 

  3. Consider Cosmetic Changes
    Once you prioritize the must-dos for safety's sake, assess the cosmetic changes you think you'll need to sell your home, or if you're not going anywhere, to make you feel better. Cracks in the wall? Do the bathrooms need new tile? Could some of the rooms use a new coat of paint? Tackle one room at a time. You'll feel encouraged to move to the next project once you complete the first one on your list. If you're able to do it yourself on some of these, so much the better. 

  4. Consider Projects that Increase Value
    Exercise caution when it comes to initiating renovations to increase home value. Some will do just that, and some won't. Some projects that will add value: bathroom remodels; kitchen renovations; replacing old appliances with matching, energy-efficient models; remodeled attic or basement; adding a deck; boosting curb appeal by cleaning, trimming, and planting some color in the front yard; and increasing energy efficiency by air sealing your home, adding insulation, and installing efficient windows. Projects that won't increase value include luxury upgrades, garage conversions, and swimming pools. Before starting one of these projects, consider whether you plan on being in your current home for a long time. 

Do you need advice on prioritizing your home improvement projects before listing your home among the Bradenton homes for sale? Our real estate agents can help. Contact us today.

January
4

Simple Ways to Cut Your Energy Costs

Energy Costs Sarasota

If extreme temperatures are rapidly increasing your home's energy costs, it's time to look for ways to lower your home's energy usage. Our real estate agents recommend homeowners conduct an annual appraisal of their home to find easy ways to lower their energy costs. 

Making your home more energy efficient is also beneficial if you plan to add it to the inventory of Bradenton homes for sale; buyers appreciate a well-maintained property that incorporates environmentally-friendly features. Here are some simple tips to help your household lower its energy usage. 

  1. Raise Your Thermostat When You're Away
    One of the most pain-free ways to lower your energy expenses is to raise your thermostat when you're away from home. Since you won't be there, it makes little sense to keep your home at its typical refreshing temperature. Before you leave, make it a habit to raise your thermostat three to five degrees.

    Worried that your home won't be comfortable when you return? Or, do you dread adding another item to your to-do list? Replace your current thermostat with a smart thermostat. With a smart thermostat, you can program temperature changes to occur automatically. You can put your thermostat on a timer, so it automatically raises the temperature when you leave for work and then lowers it shortly before you arrive. 
  1. Only Run Your Appliances with a Full Load
    Make it a goal only to run your appliances when you have a full load of laundry or dishes. Even if your washing machine or dishwasher has a setting for smaller loads, it's still using almost as much water as it would for a full load. If you run small loads because you need to wash a specific dish or piece of clothing, wash this item by hand. You'll use much less energy than if you use your appliance to launder or wash it. Or, if you frequently run small loads because you have items that must be washed a certain way (for example, with the delicate cycle or bulky cycle), try to plan so you can wash all these items together.

    As your appliances wear out, replace them with energy-efficient models. Sarasota homes for sale that include new appliances will also show well with prospective homebuyers. 
  1. Unplug Your Appliances and Devices When You're Not Using Them
    When an appliance isn't in use, remember to unplug it. Even when not in use, these "energy vampires" still use a small amount of energy. While one device may not make a huge impact on your energy bill, a bunch of unused devices can increase your energy bill by a whopping 10 to 20 percent.

    If the idea of having to unplug a bunch of devices doesn't sound appealing, invest in some smart power strips. When a device isn't in use, a smart power strip will cut the power to it. 
  1. Seal Your Windows and Doors
    Keep uncomfortable air outside by sealing any cracks around your windows and doors. If you feel a gust of air when you're around a window or door, it needs some attention.

    Inspect the frame and drywall for cracks. Seal them using a small amount of caulk. You should also check your weatherstripping. Old, worn-out weather-stripping does a poor job of insulating your home. It's easy to replace it with fresh weather-stripping that will be more effective at sealing the spaces between your doors or windows and their frames. 

  2. Don't Forget About Your Pool
    If you have a pool, reducing the amount of time you operate your pool pump will also cut down on required energy. Decreasing filtration time to six hours a day during the summer months and four hours a day during the chilly Florida winter months. Before cranking up the heat in your pool, remember that energy consumption increases 10% – 30% for each temperature degree rise. Using energy-efficient pool pumps can save you money and help protect the environment. They can use up to 65% less energy than standard pool pumps and save hundreds of dollars in energy bill costs.

Ready to explore other home options? Contact us today to get started!

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