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5 Upgrades that Boost Your Home Value

By on Aug 13, 2018 in energy efficiency |

There’s really only one word to describe the current housing market in Cleveland: HOT. It’s truly a seller’s market, with newly-listed houses getting snatched up by eager buyers practically overnight. This is a trend that’s actually sweeping across the nation, with home values up nine percent year-to-year. If you’ve been thinking it’s time to sell your current home, whether because your family is growing and needs more space or because you’re ready to downsize to a more manageable option, now is definitely the time. However, it might be a seller’s market, but you still want to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck when you list your home. The Best Ways to Increase Home Value If it’s a seller’s market, why should you be concerned with making any changes to your home? Well, for that same reason! Because the market is so hot, you might be faced with paying slightly more for your dream home right now. And that means you’ll want to make sure you’re getting as much for your current home as possible, so you can put that money into your new home. However, you should focus only on the upgrades that provide the biggest return on your investment. Here are the top five upgrades that can increase the value of your home: Make it energy efficient. The average American spends over $2,000 on home energy every year, and letting potential buyers know your home is energy efficient can definitely increase your profits when you sell. Focus on adding energy-efficient lighting, replacing drafty windows and doors, or upgrading to energy-efficient appliances that will stay with the home. Make it smart. Smart home technology is all the rage these days, and you can bet potential buyers will be looking for these upgrades in a home. Most smart tech isn’t very costly, and it can add a lot of appeal to those buyers. Consider swapping out your old thermostat with a smart thermostat, for instance, or adding smart door locks and lighting. Add some curb appeal. First impressions are everything, and if your home looks drab on the outside, some potential buyers may not even consider checking out the inside. Paint your front door an eye-catching...

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New Year’s Resolutions for a Healthy, Organized Home

By on Jan 8, 2018 in energy efficiency, Residential |

You know the phrase: new year, new you. The start of a new year represents a perfect time to create some goals designed to improve your life in some way, whether it’s to work out regularly, eat more vegetables, or spend more time with family and friends. However, while you’re making this year’s resolutions, don’t forget about one more important aspect of your life – your home. 5 New Year’s Resolutions for Your Home – and How to Keep Them Home is where the heart is, and you and your family deserve a comfortable, clean and healthy space to live your lives. That’s why one of the top New Year’s resolutions is to get the home organized and tidy. Additionally, we recommend making sure your household is running as smoothly and as efficiently as possible. Here are 5 achievable goals you can set for your home this year: Get rid of the clutter. Did you know that clutter can actually add to the stress in your life? It’s true! Clutter can overwhelm and overstimulate your mind, as your brain has to work extra hard to process everything it’s seeing. It’s time to downsize some of your belongings. Start with items you know you don’t use or need regularly. Then stick to the rule where for every new thing you bring into your home, you must purge one item. Conduct an energy audit. When your home isn’t energy efficient, you’re simply paying too much on your monthly energy bill. Start by swapping out old incandescent light bulbs for LEDs or CFLs. Secondly, check your windows and doors for drafts and make sure to seal them up using caulk and weatherstripping. Just a few small steps can result in a major monthly savings. For bigger savings, it could be time to upgrade your HVAC system or your appliances this year. Organize your storage spaces. Make it a goal to go through one storage space every month, whether it’s the junk drawer in the kitchen, the coat closet, or the basement shelves. Get rid of broken items, donate extra items or things you no longer use, and arrange the spaces in a way that makes sense. For instance, combining all hats, scarves...

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The Basics of Energy Efficient Lighting

By on Nov 6, 2017 in energy efficiency |

Did you remember to set your clocks back this weekend? Daylight savings ended early yesterday morning, so you’ll now notice a much darker sky earlier in the late afternoon/evening. And, this means when you’ll be getting home from work you’ll be flipping those light switches right away to see your way around without bumping into furniture or stepping on your cat. If you’re still using some of those old, incandescent light bulbs, it’s time to consider swapping them out to more energy-efficient options. In fact, according to Energy.gov more than 70 percent of homes in the country are still using inefficient bulbs, and 5 percent of the average household’s energy budget is dedicated to lighting. By making the switch to energy-efficient options like halogen incandescent, compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) or LED lightbulbs, you might notice a saving of as much as 75 dollars a year! As an added bonus, you’ll be reducing your carbon footprint and helping the environment. Top Options for Energy-Efficient Lighting Since 2012, traditional incandescent lightbulbs have been phased out and replaced with more energy-efficient choices. Let’s take a look at each of the energy-efficient lightbulb options available today that will help save you some money on your monthly energy bill: Halogen Incandescent Lightbulbs Halogen incandescent bulbs are more energy-efficient than the traditional incandescent bulb, but of the energy-efficient lighting options, they actually only meet the federal minimum energy efficient standards. Available in a wide variety of colors and sizes, they contain a capsule that holds gas around a filament to increase bulb efficiency. Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) You know those long tube lightbulbs you may have in your office building? CFLs are smaller, curly versions of those. They’re a little pricier than the traditional incandescent bulbs, but after about nine months you’ll have saved enough on your energy bill for them to have paid for themselves, and they’ll also last ten times longer than your old bulbs. And then the real savings kicks in. Compared to halogen incandescent bulbs, CFLs save around a third of the energy of those. LED Lightbulbs Light-emitting diodes, or LEDs as they’re much more commonly known as, use only about 20-25 percent of the energy of a traditional incandescent bulb...

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Biggest Myths about Energy Usage

By on Sep 4, 2017 in energy efficiency |

We all want a home that’s as energy efficient as possible. However, many homes waste energy on a daily basis for a variety of reasons. You might have drafty old windows and doors, an old HVAC system, or old appliances that not only use a lot of energy, but also cost you a lot of money on your monthly utility bills. That said, there’s also a lot of confusion around home energy usage. From 2008 to 2030, world energy consumption is expected to increase by more than 55 percent. This is why it’s vital to understand the facts about energy usage and how to make your home as energy efficient as possible. Energy Efficiency Myths Debunked Some of the common myths about home energy usage include: Myth #1: Don’t turn out the lights. Do you remember your parents yelling at you to turn off the light when you left your bedroom? It turns out they were right. You might think leaving the light on instead of constantly switching them off and back on does not actually take up more energy, but leaving lights on draws more energy than the small burst needed to turn them on and off. Myth #2: Ceiling fans cool the air effectively. While the wind produced by ceiling fans cools your skin, it does not actually cool down the air in your home. And, this might allow you to turn off the air conditioning for a time, however, in the long run, leaving a ceiling fan running nonstop will waste energy, too. Myth #3: Unplugging appliances doesn’t save energy. There’s been some confusion about “phantom” energy and whether it actually exists. We’re here to assure you that yes, this is actually a thing. While turning off appliances when you’re done using them helps cut energy usage, when they’re left plugged in they’re still drawing electricity. Consider using a power strip for small kitchen appliances, as you can easily power all of them off at once with a single switch. Myth #4: Home energy use is largely consumed by your HVAC system. HVAC systems are becoming more and more energy efficient, and an efficient system is responsible for about 48 percent of your home’s energy usage....

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Selling Your Home? Upgrading Your HVAC System Can Help

By on Mar 20, 2017 in Air Conditioning, energy efficiency, Furnaces |

When you’re getting ready to put your home on the market, there are often a lot of questions about how you can ask and receive the highest price possible. Many buyers today are looking for a house that’s move-in ready; updated kitchen and bathrooms, gleaming hardwood floors, and a fresh coat of paint tend to go a long way in increasing home value. However, there’s another thing to consider too: Upgrading your current HVAC system. How an HVAC Upgrade Helps Ensure a Quick Sale Generally speaking, if your current system is less than ten years old and is in fine working order, you don’t need to worry about replacing it to appeal to those potential buyers. Obviously, upgrading an HVAC system is major investment, and as the saying goes – “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” However, potential buyers do like to know that all the mechanicals in the home are working properly, and many buyers are also concerned with energy efficiency. If your current furnace and air conditioning unit are getting up there in years, there may be worries that they’ll have to replace it themselves in the next year or two. Plus, the system probably isn’t running as efficiently as today’s newer versions. Prospective homebuyers are well aware that HVAC systems are not designed to last forever. And, while you might be somewhat hesitant to make such a large investment in a home you’ll be leaving, remember that the cost of the new system can be built into the sale price. In fact, a study conducted in 2015 by the National Association of Realtors, called the Remodeling Impact Report, revealed that sellers can expect to recoup 71% of the cost of replacing their HVAC system. In other words, if the system cost $7,000 to replace, sellers will recover up to $5,000 of the costs when they put their home on the market. Another great reason to upgrade your HVAC system is to increase home energy efficiency, which as mentioned before is something a lot of potential buyers are looking for in a new home. Today’s homebuyers are more financially savvy than those of the past, and they’ll be not only evaluating the cost of your home,...

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How Better Insulation Can Lower Utility Bills

By on Dec 5, 2016 in energy efficiency |

According to Energy.gov, in the average American home, heating and cooling account for 50-70 percent of all energy used.  Even if you’ve recently upgraded to a more energy-efficient HVAC system, keeping your home warm and toasty throughout the frigid winter months can be expensive. This is especially true if you live in an older home, but even if your home is new, there’s one fairly simply way to reduce your energy bills this winter: adding or upgrading your insulation.                   Why Should You Upgrade Your Insulation? Newer homes should be better insulated than older homes, as new building energy codes have gotten stricter over the past several years. However, many homes today are still not insulated to optimal levels. In fact, some experts estimate that as many as 40 million single-family homes in the United States could use more insulation. However, adding insulation to your attic can provide some easy results. Since hot air rises, you’ll want to make sure the top floor that meets the attic space is sealed and insulated. You should also check for other places around the home where warm air may be escaping, like around windows and doors or anywhere you have vents or outlets. Even a ceiling fan or lighting fixture that was improperly installed could be allowing warm air to escape! These small leaks can be closed up with inexpensive insulation like spray foam, caulk or weather-stripping. If you find that heat is escaping through your walls and or roof (and these types of leaks can be found by purchasing a leak detector from a hardware store) adding more, or better, insulation can help. The type of insulation you use will depend on how extensive the project itself is; if you’re adding insulation to unfinished walls in between the studs, you’ll have far more choices than if you need to add insulation behind already existing drywall. As mentioned above, adding new insulation to your attic and/or basement is one of the easiest routes to take to help stop all that warm air from escaping throughout the winter months. Head up to your attic and take note of the current insulation. If the insulation is lower than the floor joists or just...

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