Go Green

Energy, in general, is a big issue for everyone today. You can do your part to help the environment while making an investment in your home that will pay for itself in the long run. With some simple additions, you can make improvements to your home that will save you money down the road.

  • New thermostat- Air conditioning and heating are the biggest energy hogs in your house. A modern thermostat can help you maintain a more exact temperature. It can also be programmed to use less energy while you are not at home. Keeping the house a little cooler in the winter and warmer in summer will save you a lot over the year. You can do this by programming your thermostat to change the temperature while you are gone all day. You won’t have to remember to reset it during your morning rush; a modern thermostat will do it for you.
  • Insulation- Insulation can be put in walls and in your attic. It keeps your house at a set temperature longer, by helping to block the temperature outside. Over time insulation wears thin and needs to be updated. A quick update can cut your utility bills down immediately.
  • Weather stripping- Any opening in your house can let hot or cold air in. This means that doors and windows deserve special attention. The edges of these openings need to have an insulating material, called weather stripping, applied to all of their borders. Simply putting up weather stripping will have an immediate impact on your electric bill and will also be noticeable right away when you walk by a previously drafty door or window.

All of these improvements can have another financial effect. They will all take some of the workloads off of your air conditioning unit, meaning that you will have to pay for fewer repairs and will experience a longer life for the unit.

Foodies’ Favorite Remodels

Kitchen remodels are increasingly popular projects. They can instantly add value to a home and will make it more desirable when you do eventually move to sell it. The National Association of Home Builders reports that a kitchen remodel adds more value to your home than any other project. For this reason, a kitchen remodel can be a good monetary move, as well as one that will make your house more functional.

  • Cabinets and counters- These are arguably the biggest decision you have to make in your kitchen remodel. They will be the most expensive part and will dictate the overall look of your kitchen for years to come. Make sure to pick out cabinets that fit your budget without going too cheap. If you save a few dollars now, you will probably wish you had spent a bit later. In the spirit of spending on these materials, make sure to choose countertops that are durable. You don’t have to go as far as marble if that is out of your budget, but remember that cheaper materials might mean having to pay to fix a countertop down the road after several years of basic use.
  • Appliances- This is another area that can carry a hefty price tag. If you are happy with the look and the functionality of your current appliances you might want to keep them for a bit to get your money’s worth. If not, then do some comparison shopping. Pick out the appliances that meet your needs without going too far out of the box. If you have a three-bedroom house, you probably don’t need the largest capacity units available. Also, stainless steel looks clean–and is far easier to clean, but you can save a few bucks if you bypass it in favor of another finish. Mechanically the appliances from the same series are exactly the same; you are paying a premium for stainless steel plates to be bolted onto the front of the units.
  • Flooring- Think durable, easy to clean, and neutral. Flooring should be able to stand up to the heavy traffic a kitchen endures. We suggest tile but do keep your personal tastes in mind, as they may differ from ours. (Obviously, carpet is a horrible option here.) You also want something that can easily be wiped up and cleaned, so go for a darker color grout if you choose tile. When it comes to color, the floor needs to match the cabinets, but avoid going for a color that is too vibrant. Part of the value of a kitchen remodel is to appeal to future buyers, so don’t turn them off; you might love fuchsia but that doesn’t mean other people will.

About Keith Anderson

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