Save energy and avoid the risk of leaks by replacing your hot water heater. With new technology and tax credits on efficient models, now is the time!
Gas or electric: what’s right for you? If you don’t have an available gas line or propane hook-up, electric might be your only choice. For most homes with natural gas hook-ups, gas models are preferred. You can compare the efficiency of different water heaters at energy.gov.
Tank or tank less? Tank less water heaters promise unlimited hot water on demand and energy savings. Instead of storing a tank full of water that is constantly heated, tank less units only fire up when you run hot water. Cold water passes through a heat ex-changer and is rapidly heated, then piped off to your shower or sink. When the faucet’s turned off, the burner turns off to save energy.
Tank less units aren’t right for every house because they cannot share a vent with your furnace. They require a dedicated vent to the outside of your house. Also, you’ll need to buy the appropriate size for your household. If several people live in your home, you’ll need a high-capacity model which is more costly. However, your long-term energy savings can help offset the up-front cost. Ask a qualified contractor to determine if a tank less unit is right for your home.
What about solar? Solar water heaters come in a variety of designs, but they all use the heat of sun to heat water. Some systems heat water directly, while others use a special liquid to absorb the sun’s heat, which is then transferred to water. If you live in a warm and sunny climate, a solar water heater may be worth looking into. Be sure to ask about tax credits! Water heaters that meet certain efficiency criteria are eligible for a Federal Income Tax Credit. Ask your retailer, or check out http://www.energystar.gov for more information.
FEMA reports that each year more than 2,500 people die and 12,600 are injured in home fires in the United States, with direct property loss due to home fires estimated at $7.3 billion annually. Most home fires can be prevented. Here are some ways to prevent fires.
1.Install smoke alarms outside of every bedroom and on every level of your home. It should be properly installed and maintained. According to the National Fire Protection Association, almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in properties without working smoke alarms.
2.Never overload circuits or extension cords, electrical fires could result. Inspect outlets and power cords on a regular basis.
3.Chimneys should be inspected annually.
4.When using space heaters, allow enough room between the device and items such as clothing or flammable liquids.
5.Do not leave pans on an open flame unsupervised, most residential fires begin in kitchens.
6.If you must smoke, do it outdoors. Cigars and cigarettes common culprits of fires.
7.Instead of standard candles, consider flameless, they provide the same functions, but are a lot safer.
Even if physical or financial constraints keep you from expanding your home’s living space it’s possible to give your home the appearance of looking larger with a few simple projects. An added benefit is that space will be freed up and you actually will have more room to move around without knocking down walls or building additions to the house. Here a few ideas:
Take it outside: The cheapest and easiest addition is utilizing your yard. Depending on its size, a backyard is a great spot for a deck or gazebo. Either spot can be a nice escape from the indoors and be utilized as places to eat, relax or have family talks.
Think clearly: Also depending on your location or yard size, a wall of windows can brighten a room and draw the eye out to the landscape or yard. If the line of vision is long, the room with the view will automatically appear to expand.
Double up: End tables and coffee tables that have room inside for storage will help with clutter and remove the need for extra storage bins or boxes.
Rise above: Putting shelves on your walls will add floor space and make the room look bigger. If you can’t or don’t want to pound nails into the wall, tall book shelves have similar effects on space, and you don’t even have to use them for books or solely in the living room or den. They also can be used in the kitchen as a form of cupboard space.
Team up: Just because you call a room a den or dining room doesn’t mean they can’t serve as office space or an extra bedroom if needed. A futon or sleeper sofa in the den is all it takes for extra sleeping space, and with electronics such as laptops and printers shrinking each year, you don’t need huge desks or tables to set up shop and work from home if necessary.
Finish the job: If you have an unfinished basement, attic or attached garage that’s basically being used for storage, finishing one of those interior spaces will free up a lot of room and give you a chance to get creative.
Built-in ideas: Whether you add window-seats or built-in bookshelves, small rooms will benefit. Unlike groupings of furniture that can appear mismatched or cluttered, built-ins make small rooms appear quaint, yet spacious.
Think big: The larger the tile, plank or pattern on a floor, the larger the room will look. And if you install tiles in a diagonal pattern, that appearance is enhanced. Seriously, they do studies on these things.
Hang it up: If your closet only has two walls for hanging clothes, hang a rod at head height for long clothing on one wall and on the other hang two rods – one above the other – for shorter clothing. That little move can free up a lot of space.
1.Purchase a high-efficiency shower head. This cuts down on both water consumption and energy costs.
2.Upgrading your appliances? Consider energy-efficient appliances with the ‘Energy Star’ logo. According to the Energy Star site, Energy Star-qualified appliances use 10%-50% less energy and water than standard models. Remember to ask about discounts, especially when purchasing several appliances at once.
3.Get with the program. Set your thermostat to accommodate the schedule of your home. Lower the heat during the day when no one is at home and at night when occupants are sleeping. Also, try to maintain a moderate temperature, instead of cranking the heat or air conditioning to drastically change the temperature.
4.Utilize fans instead of air conditioning. Consider operating fans to circulate the summer air instead of opting for the more expensive and less environmentally friendly air conditioning.
5.Insulate and seal the gaps. Hidden gaps and cracks within a home lead to an abundant loss of heat in the winter and air conditioning in the warmer months. Caulk any leaks around windows and doors, in attics and around fireplaces. Proper insulation installation or roof replacement may be necessary.
6.Replace lights with LED or compact fluorescent bulbs. The cost is more upfront, but the lights use less energy and last longer.
Consider a house sitter. It may be an added expense, but having a trusted person stay at your home is a great defense against burglars.
Don’t advertise you’re away. Don’t leave an outgoing voice mail stating you’re out of town. Also, refrain from listing vacation dates on social media, such as Twitter and Facebook.
Invest in an alarm system.
Put all lights on timers, so it appears someone is home. A lighted home is a deterrent for break-ins.
Have the post office hold your mail and put your newspaper delivery on hold. An overstuffed mailbox and unopened newspapers on the lawn are a signal you are not at home.
Leave all doors and windows locked. When possible, utilize dead bolts and secure sliding glass doors by placing a rod in the door groove.
Alert police and a trusted neighbor to be on the lookout for any suspicious activity.
Remove any spare keys that are hidden outside the house. Instead, give a key to a trusted neighbor or family member to regularly check the house.
1) Use extension cords only on a temporary basis.
2) Replace cracked or worn cords.
3) When disconnecting cords, pull the plug, not the cord.
4) Teach children not to play with cords or outlets.
5) Use only three-wire extension cords.
6) Never remove round or u-shaped prong.
7) Insert plugs fully – no part of the prongs exposed.
8) Never use cord while coiled or looped.
9) Do not overload the cord.