Winter will soon be upon us, and it is time to start thinking about how to winterize your home. But where should you start? Here are six easy tips that will keep your home warm, secure, and efficient during the cold winter months.
Cold drafts can make their way under doors and through windows, which will force you to turn up the heat and thus increase your heating bill. The U.S Department of Energy has stated that reducing drafts in your home can save 30% of your annual energy usage.
You can install draft guards to block the draft and keep the heat inside your house. You can purchase draft guards for as little as 10 dollars, or make a DIY draft guard with a rolled up towel or blanket.
Install Storm Windows and Doors
Installing storm windows and doors will block drafts and provide more warmth without having to bump up the thermostat.
Storm windows and doors will increase the amount of light that is able to enter your home, and they will help minimize the amount of airflow from outside. This will be a great help when the temperature starts to drop and the cold winds begin.
Seal Leaks and Cracks
If you’re going to seal a drafty door or window, it makes sense to also seal any other cracks or leaks in your house. Whether it’s a leak in a window frame, cracks in the wall, cracks in brick, cracks near your chimney, or even the small holes where wires or pipes are installed, these openings can allow cold air into your home.
You can either hire a professional to seal these leaks, or you can easily do it yourself with caulking or weatherstripping. This type of winter home maintenance is crucial for staying warm and keeping your home energy efficient.
Sealing cracks and leaks is a great start when insulating your home, but there is more you can do.
Using fiberglass insulation will help your home hold in the heat while keeping the cold outside where it belongs. While it might not look pretty, insulation can save you from cold nights and spending a fortune on your heating bill.
You can install fiberglass insulation around attic and basement doors, windows, air conditioners, and especially the floor in the attic. Insulation is a cost-effective tool when you winterize your home; it can be done inexpensively as a DIY and it will save both energy and money.
Use Energy Efficient Water Heaters and Furnaces
New technology has made water heaters and furnaces increasingly more energy efficient; upgrading to the most recent models can be a lifesaver this winter. If you can’t afford to replace your older heater or furnace, at least consider a tune-up or a look-over: you don’t want it to break down on you in the middle of winter!
Be Mindful When Heating Your Home
With cold air and wet snow, it is tempting to crank up your thermostat and leave it on a high temperature 24/7. Not only can this waste energy and monumentally increase your energy bill, it isn’t necessary.
For every 1 degree that you turn down your heat, you can save 1% of the money on your energy bill. That can add up quickly to give you great savings.
When you’re leaving the house, remember to turn the heat down significantly. There’s no need to keep it on when no one is there. You should also layer clothing while at home, using sweaters and sweatshirts, so that you don’t need to turn your heat quite so high.
Winter can be long and hard. But between saving energy, saving money and staying warm, this winter can be a great one with these six simple tips for winterizing your home.
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The holiday season is now upon us. It’s time for family visits, warming up by the fireplace, and holiday decorations.
What house is complete during the holiday season without holiday lights? Here are some tips to make hanging your holiday lights easy and fun so that you can focus on how good they look instead of worrying about proper installation.
Make a Plan
This step is key: hanging lights without a plan will be frustrating and difficult.
Think about what kinds of lights you want to put up, how many you’d like, the size of your yard, your budget, and the overall design you want to see. Do you want colored lights? White lights? Large bulbs? Miniature bulbs? Animated displays?
You should know the answers to these questions before you get into the actual task of hanging them. Be sure to take measurements of where you want the lights to be, take notice of the surface where you’re hanging the lights, as well as how much this is going to cost. Having a specific plan will keep you on task and will make the whole process easier.
The planning stage is also the best time to test your lights before you hang them. Imagine spending hours hanging lights all over your yard and on your roof only to discover they aren’t working when you plug them in. It’s best to find out they’re faulty before you spend long, cold hours on your rooftop!
Get the Right Materials
Getting the right materials will ensure not only that your light display will last throughout the holiday season, but it will also ensure your safety, as well.
Check that the lights you are using are suitable for outdoor use. You should also use waterproof lights if you live where it snows.
If you’re using older lights, make sure the cords aren’t damaged, as this can be a huge safety hazard.
Also, make sure that the color of your lights are what you want. Different brands, different types of lights, and lights made during different years will have a slightly different color to them.
As with the lights, you should only use extension cords that have been approved for outdoor use. You should set up the extension cords so they are above the ground, away from water and snow.
But also be aware of where you set extension cords so that they won’t trip anyone.
Clips and Holders
While some of the lights will be wrapped around columns, railings and trees, some will require something to hold them in place, like those along your gutters or on your roof. In order to keep them secure, you should purchase special light clips or holders.
Do not use nails or tacks of any kind; this is a huge safety hazard. You’re better off using clips, holders or staples.
If you want lights all over your house, you’ll definitely need to use a ladder. We’ve all seen the movie gag of someone trying to hang lights and falling off a ladder: don’t let this be you. You could be seriously injured.
Get a sturdy, safe ladder for hanging lights in high places to avoid injury.
Time to Get to Work!
You’ve got your plan and your materials, so now it’s time to start! It can’t hurt to have someone helping you as you work: they can hand you materials, steady the ladder, and even help hang things themselves to speed up the process.
Start with the easier jobs, like wrapping lights around railings and trees, and stringing them through bushes. Next, get out your ladder for the slightly harder to reach places, like around your windows, up higher in trees, and along your gutters.
Finally, you can make your way up to the roof if that’s a part of your plan. Be extremely careful, as it can get icy and slippery up there.
Use a Light Timer
Before you can sit back and admire your work, there’s one last thing to do: install a timer.
Light timers can be set so your lights will turn on and off at specific times. This way, they won’t be on all day or throughout the night. Because holiday lights can use a lot of energy, a timer can save energy and money on your next electric bill!
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While selling your home during the holiday season might be challenging, it is not impossible. For those venturing out into the real estate market during this time of festivity and sometimes stress, we have compiled a list of tips to help you with home staging during the holidays.
Use Décor To Highlight Your Home
Festive winter decorations are a great way to make your home feel inviting and cozy. A wreath on your door and some baubles here and there can go a long way in making your house feel like a home.
You can also use these decorations to your advantage. Use the decorations to highlight the key selling points in your home.
You can put a Nutcracker figurine on your mantle to highlight a gorgeous fireplace. You could put up a large tree to showcase high ceilings and a spacious living area. And you could have an inviting, edible display on your dining room table.
Each of these things will serve to make your home feel warm and festive while also showing off the best parts of your home to potential buyers.
Don’t Go Overboard With Decorations
While decorations can help make your home feel warm and welcoming, there is a fine line between what is considered to be too much and what is just right.
Try not to use every decoration you have, as this type of clutter can distract potential buyers. Having too many unnecessary decorations can also cover attractive areas in your house: you don’t want an overly large tree to distract from or hide a bay window in your living area, for example.
You should also pack away some of the more gaudy items, like large Santa figurines or light-up reindeer. These might be your favorite items, but they could be a buyer’s worst nightmare. It’s safest to put those away while selling.
Keep décor simple and tasteful, even if it means going with only a couple of nice items, like a wreath, some lights, and a few ornaments.
- Make Sure Everything Matches
Another thing to keep in mind while decorating is that you want items to fit in seamlessly with the rest of your house. If you can, try and follow a similar color scheme and design style so that your home’s style looks orderly and well thought-out.
Put Up Holiday Lights
As with indoor decorations, it is best to keep holiday lighting simple and clean. Skip the animated Santa going down the chimney and instead opt for some white lights strung around your windows, through your shrubs, and perhaps lining your gutter.
Putting up outdoor lights serves another purpose as well. Since it gets darker earlier during the winter months, buyers are more likely to see a house when it is dark out, which means they are likely to see whether or not a home has any outdoor lighting; sprucing up your lighting this way will leave a great impression on buyers.
Use Festive Fragrances
Having a great smelling home is one of the most important things you can do while staging your home. USA Today reported that making sure your home smells nice can actually increase the perceived value of your home.
Since it is the holidays, you can go for some comforting smells that everyone will know and love. Fresh pine, vanilla, apple, cinnamon, and even fresh baked cookies are all smells that people will find comforting during this season.
To get these smells to disperse throughout your home, you can use candles, air fresheners, plants, and diffusers. You can also try putting a pot of cider on the stove with a stick of cinnamon and some cloves to achieve a genuine apple cider aroma.
Be Inclusive With the Décor
You’re going to have all sorts of people viewing your home. Remember that not everyone celebrates the same holidays or religious traditions as you and your family, so be sensitive of that when you’re decorating.
You should definitely have some holiday specific items, like a Christmas tree or a Menorah, and non-specific winter decorations, like wreaths, lights, and pine cones. But be thoughtful about religious figurines or sayings so that you don’t create a barrier with a potential home buyer.
Amy Powers, the owner of Accent Home Staging & Interiors, says that, “You want to keep neutrality throughout, so you can attract any type of buyer.” You want people to come in and see themselves living there; you don’t want to make someone feel like they don’t belong.
Selling your home during the holidays can be challenging, but these tips can help ease the process. Leave a comment down below if you have additional tips to share or have questions.
These posts were written for Realty Executives by Elliot Walsh. Elliot is a dual-degree graduate from the University of Rochester with a B.S in Cell Biology and a B.A in English Literature. He is a full-time freelance writer from Boston, specializing in veganism, humor, and health. His articles have appeared in The Rival Rochester and his work experience can be found here: www.linkedin.com/in/ewalsh17.
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