Your Home’s Energy

The summer heat is here.  While we are outside enjoying the sun-filled summer days and the warm summer nights, high energy bills seem inevitable.  Whether you are running your air conditioning or using electricity to run fans, here are 10 tips that will help place the power of energy in your hands this summer.

  1.  Close all shades, drapes and blinds during the day, especially on the east and west sides of your home.
  2. Don’t choose a lower thermostat temperature when you first turn your A/C on.  It won’t cool faster as it will always run as fast as it can.  It will only cool longer, not faster.
  3. Use fans when weather is cooler instead of turning on your cooling system.
  4. Light up your outdoor grill.  The stove or oven can raise the temperature in your kitchen as much as 10 degrees.
  5. Use clothes lines – they are a great alternative to using your clothes dryer. (I know . . . we don’t have clothes lines anymore! Just thought I would remind you back to the day when we had a bag of pegs.)
  6. Air-dry dishes instead of using your dishwasher’s heat cycle.
  7. Take shorter showers.  They use less water than a bath!
  8. Plant shade trees.  Shade on the east and west is most important.  Outside shade can actually reduce air conditioning costs up to 30%.
  9. Delay heat producing chores such as laundry and dish washing until the end of the day.
  10. Spend more time outside.  Spending time outside of your home will help curb your energy consumption.

Planting Paradise

Real estate practitioners know that curb appeal is important, but what landscaping features have the most visual impact?  You can spruce up a lawn by overseeding, but you need time for a new lawn to grow in.

For homes on the market, here are some recommend easier fixes.  If there’s an unsightly view of a neighbor’s home and yard consider adding a screening hedge of hollies, spruces, or arborvitae.  Color can be a big eye-catcher, so a large seasonal bed in front, giving life to an area where shrubs may be old and tired.  Color can be added at a mailbox as a focal point.

How much can home owners spend on a yard and still get a paycheck?  It depends on the home’s value.  For high end homes, I would suggest investing 10 to 12 percent, but if it’s a smaller less pricey home, maybe 8 percent.  An outdoor living area; with a fireplace, kitchen, pergola, or water feature; is a great way to enjoy a home without adding to it structurally.