Tag Archives: money

Why it’s Important to Have an Energy Audit

The reason why an energy audit is such an important thing is due to the fact that it plays a vital role in your budget’s health. Poor insulation, outdated equipment and similar structural and infrastructural issues can be a reason why you’re spending twice the amount of energy, thus increasing your monthly utility bill and boosting your home’s carbon footprint. In other words, performing an energy audit is a frugal, smart, pragmatic and eco-friendly decision. So, here are several other reasons why having an energy audit is a smart choice for every single homeowner and business owner.

1. Wall and attic insulation

The first thing that needs to be visited during an energy audit is the insulation of the building in question. Namely, the ability of your home to maintain the desired heat level is a key factor in your energy spending during extreme heats and blizzards alike. In the summer, a properly insulated building is easier and cheaper to cool down and keep at that target level. In the winter, this same building is cheaper to heat, which is a massive factor on your utility bill.

A lot of people miss out on checking an attic while handling the insulation of their homes, thus, coming short of optimal efficiency. Remember that some countries and states provide insulation grants, seeing how going through with this particular home remodeling project works to everyone’s benefit.

2. Quality of windows

The next thing you should address is the quality of windows. Properly installed, quality, double-glazing PVC windows can reduce the energy loss of your home’s interior by as much as forty percent. Sure, the project of getting them installed isn’t necessarily frugal; yet, it’s a price definitely worth paying. On the other hand, you can’t merely observe your windows as just another feature or fixture on the shelf. Their orientation is pivotal to their overall efficiency, which is why you should always have someone who knows their job to take a look at them.

3. Checking your installations

Inspecting your safety grid should definitely be at the very top of your priority list for several reasons. First, it’s vital to the safety of your household, second, it puts your appliances at risk, thus, causing some potentially expensive property damage. For both of these reasons, it would be wise to have a phone number of a local emergency electrician, even if your grid seems to be doing just fine at the moment. Apart from being a safety hazard, bad energy grid situation also makes all of your appliances less efficient.

4. Finding leaks

The reason why mere home inspection can never beat the efficiency of the energy audit is due to the fact that the auditor uses a wide array of specialized tools that guarantee efficiency at every step. They might start by depressurizing your home and proceed to use a thermal imaging camera to see cold areas. In this way, you’ll easily reveal any leaks or blind spots that a casual inspection wouldn’t have done. Apart from this, they might also use an infrared thermal imager in order to notice something you might have missed during the insulation process.

5. Getting a detailed report

Let’s be honest, the chance that replacing a single window, replacing one appliance or plugging a single leak in your insulation will solve everything are quite unrealistic. It’s far more likely that you’ll be facing a set of problems, not all of which will be of the same gravity. This, on the other hand, also means that they’re not of the same priority. With that in mind, if you lack the budget to tackle all of them at once, you can start by focusing on the most pressing issues leaving all minor flaws for later on. The extensive report that an auditor you hire will provide can serve as an unofficial to-do list.

6. Recognizing an impostor

The greatest problem with this particular process lies in the fact that you might hire someone not qualified, experienced or equipped for this job. The first raised red flag should be their outreach method. A professional and reputable auditor will never offer their services with a door-to-door method. Second, make sure to ask for necessary certification. People who get offended by such a simple and common background check usually have something to hide. Finally, make sure to inquire about the nature of their process.

Lastly, you need to figure out if the auditor you’ve hired has an agenda. For instance, it wouldn’t be that hard to imagine that an auditor working for a windows installation company might suggest that your windows are at fault. While they might be 100 percent right, it’s hard to trust them when you’re aware that there’s a conflict of interests involved. Therefore, your safest course of action would be to look for independent auditors to do this task.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, living in an energy inefficient home is something that has to be resolved as soon as possible, seeing as how every day you postpone it puts you more and more behind (financially). On the other hand, as soon as you diagnose your problems and start fixing them, you will get some immediate results, further reinforcing the idea that you’re on the right path.

5 Stunningly Basic DIY Upgrades That Can Help You Sell Your House

The trick to selling a house quickly? Sellers should know it’s all in the details.

A glance at homes for sale in Woodinville WA shows competition is fierce. So how can a seller compete with other listings? Fortunately, if you are a DIY-er, you have a leg up. You likely love fixing up the little nooks and crannies of your house. This means when the time comes to sell, your house will sell fast.

Here are 5 of the top ways for DIY-ers to make upgrades on their house that will take it to a top contender in buyers’ minds. The best thing about these fixes? You can do most on your own, even when on a tight budget.

  1. Repaint your kitchen cabinets.

As HGTV frequently likes to remind us, a fresh coat of paint can turn “dreary and drab” into interiors worthy of Martha Stewart. And the makeover starts with your kitchen cabinets.

Rest assured, this does not involve a kitchen renovation. Home renos often come with a price tag that is unjustified when compared to a house’s market value.

What it does involve is you + a bucket of paint, sandpaper, and the will to make it work. YouTube tutorials on how to get this done abound. This is a quick and cheap way for any DIY-er to get a new look to their kitchen that provides a lot of “wow” with hardly any “ouch” to their wallet.

  1. Build a swing set out back.

Buyers are impressed by anything that adds a touch of convenience. Build a tree swing outback, and your backyard transforms into a playground. No longer will the prospective buyer need to accompany their children to the park when they can keep an eye on Little Jane from the kitchen window.

If not a swing set, consider adding other appealing outdoor items outback. For example, a barbecue pit, or an outdoor fireplace hearth. Recent trends show that buyers want a merge of outdoor spaces with indoor comfort. So, anything you can do to bring comfort to your backyard gets a huge thumbs up from potential prospects.

  1. Plant a garden.

Buyers want to know that their house has curbside appeal. It’s part of the whole keeping up with the Joneses that we’re all susceptible to. No one wants to be the eyesore on their street. And if your house falls anywhere near that category, you will lose prospective buyers before they set foot ‘neath your roof.

Planting a few flowers and cultivating a garden is a simple way to spruce up the outside of your house. Not only that, but it also gives your home a warm appearance, one of care and thoughtfulness that buyers will want to partake of.

  1. Give your exteriors a scrub.

Does your house have a dull look to it? Have years passed since its last spray down?

Because you believe in doing things yourself, versus hiring labor out, you’re going to pick up your hose and get to work. Dirty windows can also detract from a house’s appearance, so be sure to get to that, too.

Do it yourself, and you will be saving yourself a couple hundred dollars in the process. Only do a pressure wash if the grime does not come off through other means. Pressure washes are good for particular types of siding but can wreak havoc on brick and your carefully chosen petunias. Additionally, they must be used with caution, so proceed carefully if you use a pressure washer.

  1. Put up a deck.

For the more advanced DIY-er who also dabbles in handyman work, why not try your hand at building a deck? Decks allow you to enjoy the sunrise or sunset, beverage in hand, from the comfort of your front porch or back lawn. Extreme selling point: Buyers will no longer need to fork out extra cash for a restaurant with that sunset view.

But just how doable is this for your average DIY-handyman? One girl, with little carpentry experience, got it done on her own. She saved herself between $6000 to $8000 if she had hired it out.

Check out your closest Home Depot. Most stores will sell a ready-to-assemble kit that gives you all the pieces you need. Of course, depending on your deck plans and the shape and size you want it to be, you might want to further tailor it. But all that to say, a deck could be the crowning glory and a deal breaker for home buyers.