and Home Maintenance
There are certain concerns that should affect every homeowner. This includes the need to conserve energy and to protect their home through routine maintenance and improvements when necessary. These actions, which often complement one another, have the ability to save homeowners money. Energy conservation is the act of using less energy on a daily basis. Both home maintenance and improvements are meant to make one's house more comfortable, appealing, and even more energy efficient. When it comes to energy conservation, it is also important that everyone who lives in the household, whether they are a child or an adult, makes the same effort to conserve energy.
Conserving energy in the home typically requires changing long-term habits and conscious efforts. Children who grow up in homes that practice good energy conservation will continue to do so as adults and will pass on these habits to future generations. For that reason, it is important to teach kids at an early age and for adults to be aware of behaviors that unnecessarily waste energy. Start by turning off lights in rooms that are not occupied, and shutting down electronics that are not currently in use. This includes televisions, video game consoles and computers. When small appliances such as coffee machines and microwaves are no longer being used they should be turned off and unplugged. Unplugging electrical devices reduces phantom energy loss.
Do full loads when using washing machines and dishwashers. When washing clothes use cold water and when using the dishwasher let clean dishes air dry. Another way for families to conserve energy is to reduce the amount of water that is used. Shorter showers help to reduce the cost of heating water.
Home Maintenance and Improvements
Routine maintenance and repairs can go a long way in preventing problems that may reduce energy efficiency. Areas that allow outside air to leak into the house are often problematic as they can increase the need to use the home's climate control system. As a part of regular maintenance, homeowners should inspect the house for areas of air leakage. These areas should be sealed or filled with caulking or weather-stripping. One may also have an energy assessment or audit performed to determine if extra insulation is necessary. When it comes to old windows that leak air into and out of the home, it may be necessary to change them entirely with new, higher-efficiency windows. If one's windows are still relatively new, or if cost is an issue, storm windows are an effective and less expensive option.
Replacing old doors that lead to the exterior of one's house with new and more attractive ones is common when making home improvements. When choosing new doors, check the energy performance rating first. The rating appears on a label that is found on Energy Star qualified doors. It is based on testing performed by The National Fenestration Rating Council, or NFRC, which measures heat gain and loss and sunlight transmittance. This rating can help homeowners choose the right door for the climate in their area. Efficient types of exterior doors include steel skin doors that are designed with a core of polyurethane foam. Steel and fiberglass doors are also an option.
Maintaining one's home also involves making smaller improvements. Replace equipment with energy efficient versions that can further reduce annual energy costs. Tankless water heaters, a programmable thermostat, an energy efficient refrigerator, laundry machine or dishwasher, and a stove with induction elements instead of traditional electrical coil-based heating elements, are all improvements to the home that are beneficial to the environment and one's finances.