Friday, June 15, 2012

Energy Saving Tips

Slash home energy costs this summer

Many first-time homeowners come up with a budget after buying a home to ease into the costs of utilities, maintenance and other property-related responsibilities. There are several ways that homeowners can keep their energy costs low and, in some cases, maintain their properties during the hot summer months.

Take inventory

Most homes lose energy through drafty windows and doors, cracks and holes that allow air to escape. So the first task a homeowner should complete is walking through the house to look for areas where air may be leaking though, according to U.S. News and World Report. Plugging up small cracks and holes is simple, and individuals can find caulk or other items they need at home improvement stores. This is especially important for homeowners who install window-unit air conditioners, because if they are not fitted to the window tightly enough, air can easily escape.

Individuals can also save significantly by making sure their home is properly insulated. This keeps cool air in during the summer months and has the same effect on heat during winter.

In addition, keeping air filters clean can have a large impact on energy bills. Dirty air filters can get clogged and make it more difficult for cool air to escape. As a result, it may take longer to cool a home and homeowners will be forced to run their air conditioning units longer each day. Other small actions, such as unplugging items that are not in use and keeping the shades drawn can help reduce energy bills and keep the sun from shining in and creating a greenhouse effect.

Invest in upgrades

Getting rid of an older thermostat in favor for one that is programmable can pay homeowners back over the years. Individuals can let their thermostat naturally run at a higher temperature during the day when they're at work, which won't make the system work as hard. They can then program it to a certain temperature that will kick in before they get home so they are not wasting energy throughout the day.

In addition, upgrading air conditioning units to more energy-efficient models can save homeowners money on their bills without sacrificing quality. The same is true for major appliances, including refrigerators, washers and dryers. Lastly, tossing old light bulbs for compact fluorescents will generate less heat and save homeowners money on utilities.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Simplified Home Maintenance for First-time Homeowners

May 17, 2012
Posted by Lindsay Listanski in Uncategorized

Buying a home is an exciting, large, and worthwhile investment. After the home-buying process is over, many new owners focus on the best ways to maintain their property. Proper home maintenance can save homeowners thousands of dollars in repairs and upgrades over the years. It is common for first-time owners to be unaware of the types of maintenance they need to complete each year.
Owners can simplify the process by creating a quick checklist and information sheet that can be used for years into the future.
Create a contact list
There are several types of professionals that homeowners may need hire to complete projects or audits on their homes. It can be helpful to create a list of potential service providers, their contact information and the type of work they specialize in early on, according to AOL Real Estate. Homeowners can begin by asking for recommendations from neighbors, friends and family about the best service providers in the area. In addition, consumers should do their own research on contractors, electricians, plumbers and other professionals in the area.
Another good idea is to contact your local Coldwell Banker real estate office to see if they have some preferred contractors they can recommend. If anyone knows who the best contractors are in your area, it’s your local Coldwell Banker office, who probably calls on contractors on a regular basis to help get homes ready for sale. (learn more about finding the right contractor)
Having a list of professionals on hand can help homeowners respond to potential problems quickly or plan for basic maintenance tasks.
Create a supply kit
Individuals who moved from an apartment to a new home may forget to purchase basic items, such as flashlights and shovels when they move into a new home. Let me tell you, from experience, being caught in a snow storm with out a shovel as an apartment dweller is NOT FUN! Homeowners can better prepare for home maintenance tasks by creating a list of home items they need and making the purchases. Over the years, homeowners may need ladders, tool kits, lawn and garden items and other instruments to complete basic work around their homes.
Visiting a home improvement store and speaking with a professional or simply walking the aisles can clue homeowners in to the tools they may lack. Of course, neighbors are often willing to lend a tool or ladder when needed as well.
Create a month-to-month checklist
Create a month-to-month checklist
There are several tasks homeowners need to complete on a monthly or seasonal basis. Developing a calendar that outlines each action that needs to be completed can keep homeowners on target and help them avoid forgetting about maintenance actions. The list can include items as simple as conducting an energy audit and cleaning the gutters to weeding the lawn and laying down flower beds. In addition, homeowners should create a timeline for replacing roofing, boiler systems and appliances.