Showing posts with label home improvement remodeling. Show all posts
Showing posts with label home improvement remodeling. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

5 Ways to Save Money and Stay Warm this Winter

As winter approaches, it may seem like all you can do is count your losses and accept spending more on your heating bill. While you likely will be running your heat more, you don’t have to be like everyone else and start shelling out the big bucks to stay warm. Follow these 5 tips to not only stay warm but also save money this season.

1. Unplug Unused Appliances

Yes, you’ll be using more electricity this winter to heat your home, but that doesn’t mean you can’t save money elsewhere. Make a habit of unplugging any unused appliance in your home to cut costs on residual use. Even though turned off, appliances like your television, washer and dryer, and other limited use appliances suck power. Unplugging these items eliminates this energy waste.

2. Improve Insulation

Insulation is your home’s primary defense against high energy bills. It is what keep your home from losing the warm air in the winter time and the cool air in the summer. It literally functions as a force field of sorts, against heat loss. Adding in insulation presents an upfront cost; however, the money you’ll save this season and throughout the year will offset that investment. Depending on how old your home is, you may want to consider gutting the walls and replacing the old insulation with something more energy efficient. 

3. Maintain Your HVAC System

Obviously your heating system will cost you money through the winter, but did you know it could also save you money? When your HVAC system is functioning effectively, it wastes less energy, which equates to dollars saved for you. Call an HVAC technician like those from Academy Mechanical Services Inc., to complete a comprehensive inspection of your system and to get recommendations for saving on heating costs this season. A seasonal maintenance checkup is also important to keep your system in good working order.

4. Install a New Thermostat

A thermostat is the key mechanism for controlling the temperature in your home. If you thermostat isn’t functioning properly, you could be wasting hundreds of dollars on heating your home. Consider installing a new thermostat that reads the appropriate temperature to save on heating your home this winter. Also, when selecting a new thermostat opt for one that is digital and can be programmed throughout the day. It doesn’t make sense to heat your home when you’re not there, so set the thermostat to regulate itself with your schedule.

5. Heat Used Space

Most families don’t use all of their home all of the time. You can save a load of cash by only heating the space that is used. Consider investing in a space heater for the room you spend the most time in and heat only that room. This investment alone could save you nearly $200 for the season. With technology today, you can also invest in a thermostat for each room and control the temperature of each room. This way you can keep the heat on in the rooms you are in the most and the heat off if not at a lower temperature in the other rooms. If you have an old home with a fireplace or a wood stove, consider using this to its full advantage. You won’t be able to control the heat in each room, but it will keep most of if not all of your house warm this winter. This way you can turn your furnace down or completely off.

Winter weather does mean that you’ll have to beef up your heat, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot doing it. Implement these tips and you’ll be warm and still save money all season long.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

6 Eye-Catching Apartment Add-Ons that Won't Cost You Your Deposit

So you’re moving back into an apartment. The only problem is that it's a little outdated and those white walls and basic carpets aren't as stylish as you had hoped. Don't worry, there are still plenty of ways you can make your apartment your own, and you won't have to worry about making your landlord mad or losing your security deposit.

There are several ways you can turn your plain and boring apartment into a decorative and modern abode without making any permanent changes. These ideas are simple, inexpensive and best of all: temporary.

Area and Throw Rugs

You might not think that rugs can make a big difference in an apartment, but the right patterns and colors can change the entire mood of a room or an entire apartment. Consider the shape and side of each room in the apartment and choose a rug shape, pattern and color that will highlight the accent furniture and wall decor in the room.

Tired of hardwood or laminate flooring? Cut large rugs to the precise measurements of a room and use heavy furniture to help hold it in place. A dramatic or colorful rug or carpet will draw attention to the center of the room and pull the entire look together.

Curtains and Window Treatments

Never underestimate the power of a great set of curtains. If you have large windows in your room or apartment, your curtain choices are that much more important. A person's eyes are naturally drawn to the windows in a room because of the light they bring in.

Choose curtains that are bold enough to be eye catching but subtle enough to not take your attention away from the rest of the decor and furniture. Consider bright or bold, solid colors that compliment your furniture, rugs and window moldings. Floor-to-ceiling models add depth to the room, and even offer the illusion that the celing is taller than it is. Blinds and shutters are another option that will help improve the look of an apartment.

Bedding, Throw Pillows, and Accents

Bedding and throw pillows can brighten and set the color scheme or theme for any room. Patterned pillows and bedding are a great way to bring several colors together in a room. Choose throw pillows in fun shapes that match your decor and don't be afraid to toss a couple of throw blankets on the back of your couch or chairs. Not only will they be convenient for yourself or guests who might get chilly while visiting, but they will also add a nice splash of color to whichever room they are in.

You can add a flash of color and your own personal style to any room through accents. Look for unique shower curtains at JCP to spice up your bathroom, and unique decorative trinkets to complete the look.


Adding new finishings to kitchen cabinets, furniture or sinks is a great way to update permanent furniture and fixtures. In most cases, the landlord won't mind or even notice the changes and you can always keep the old ones and switch them back when and if you move out of the apartment. Finishings are inexpensive and easy to install, they are also available in thousands of different styles, colors and materials.

Accent Furniture

After moving into a new apartment, paying a deposit and other moving expenses, few people have the money to shop for all new furniture. A few pieces of accent furniture can be inexpensive, change the look and feel of a room and even make you appreciate your other furniture. Small tables, stands, lamps, stools and even chests add personality to a room and can be moved around and repositioned as needed.

Wall and Shelf Decor

Choosing what to hang on your walls and place on your shelves can be difficult. Too little decor and your apartment will look boring and drab. Too much and your risk creating a tacky or gawdy apartment. Choose your decor wisely and start with a wall hanging added to the center of focus point of the room. Choose a few other small wall hanging or shelf decorations that will compliment the focus point and pull the entire apartment together to create a harmony of patterns and colors.

Living in an apartment that is plain or boring can prevent you from ever feeling like you are truly at home. Just because you can't make permanent changes to the apartment doesn't mean you can't make it your own with some unique, fun and temporary updates and changes. Have fun and enjoy making your apartment into a home you will love and feel comfortable in.

Author Bio: Calvin Sellers is a freelance writer from Tampa, FL. Follow him on Twitter @CalvinTheScribe.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Home Improvement Tips to Save Money This Summer

Summer means great outdoor weather, fishing trips, lying on the beach, camping with the family, BBQ with the neighbors, and many more fun activities. On the other hand, it also means having to deal with soaring electricity bills because of the oppressive heat. Homeowners can push back by initiating fairly simple renovations geared towards reducing power consumption. They can finance these projects with a small fund and recoup the cost through long-term savings. Some excellent examples are listed below: 

Seal the Gaps

Air can leak through tiny cracks on the walls as well as through gaps around doors and windows. These force the cooling system to work extra hard to maintain the desired temperature. A practical way to deal with this is to use caulk to seal the cracks. Weather stripping can also be employed when necessary. These are low cost, high impact solutions to the energy problem. The first thing to do is to locate each of the air leaks. Utility companies may offer this service for free or charge a nominal fee. List them down and sealed them off starting with the biggest gaps for maximum effect.

Insulate the Shell

Heat can quickly build up inside the house if the walls and ceilings are not properly insulated. Remedy the situation and slash up to 30% off of the problematic air-conditioning bills. The type of insulation that should be used depends on the existing house materials and the particular application. There's fiberglass, vermiculite, urethane foam, rigid foam, cellulose, and mineral-fiber, among others. Hire a reputable contractor for this project to ensure a thorough sweep. Good insulation keeps homes cool in the summer and warm in the winter so this project will be beneficial all year long.

Mind the Windows

During daytime, draw the curtains to let the sunlight in. Having the rooms bathed in natural light means that the artificial ones can be kept off until night falls. The windows could even be flung open to allow the breeze to flow inside the house. Opening two opposite windows creates cross-ventilation, a technique to cool the house naturally by promoting air circulation. Of course, if the air-conditioning unit needs to be used then the windows have to be closed shut. Consider replacing them with modern argon-filled double glazed windows, which have better insulating properties.

Color It Light

Physics has taught us that dark colors absorb light, which explains why dark things heat up faster than light ones. This is also why we wear light-colored clothing during summer. It only makes sense to do the same for our homes. Dark roofs contribute to the heat inside the house. If the roof is painted with a more reflective coating, then the interiors could remain relatively cool despite the harsh summer sun. The air-conditioner will not have to draw as much power as before to do its job, reducing the energy bills to a more manageable level.

Maintain Efficiency

Cooling systems must undergo periodic maintenance to make sure that they continue to operate at peak efficiency. Oftentimes, problems with the air-conditioner can be traced to clogged filters. Clean these regularly for better cooling. Check the ducts for any leaks and seal them off right away. Insulate parts that run through unconditioned spaces so that they don't affect the air temperature.

These simple home improvement tips are easy to finance and are certain to result in substantial savings. Consider implementing some or all of them to bring down the cost of your energy bills so that summer can go back to being the fun season that it was always meant to be.

Author Bio
William Stevens is a writer who creates informative articles in relation to technology. In this article, he describes a few home improvement techniques to save money and aims to encourage further study with an Ohio University Online Master in Electrical Engineering

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