Archive for the ‘DIY’ Category

Is Your Home Energy Efficient?

October 23, 2014

Infographic

Pictured above is a snapshot of an infographic about your home’s efficiency.  The full version can be found on our website.  Our homes are one of the biggest investments we make in our lifetime.  We, as homeowners, should be determined in getting the most out of our home and that starts with its energy efficiency.  There are many ways you can make your home more energy efficient on your own like we talked about in our last post, Home Energy Saving Tips.  Kudos to you if you began to implement them!

There are, however, a number of things in your home that can’t be seen by the naked eye or fixed on your own.  For example, outside pollutants can seep into your home through small holes built into the structure of the home.  This isn’t something you would see.  It often translates itself into uneven temperatures in your home or unhealthy living conditions.  If you are experiencing either of these, the chances are you won’t find the culprit.  Since a lot of the holes are in the structure of the home, they will be behind walls or between floors where our naked eye cannot see.

At GreenHomes, we understand home efficiency.  We know the importance of conserving our resources and our pocketbooks.  And we specialize in home energy audits.  A home energy audit uses tools that can identify the holes that may be in the structure in your home.  It does more too.  We can tell you where energy is being used, where you are losing energy, and how you can save energy.  And of course, with saving energy, comes saving money.  Not to mention, your home will be more comfortable than ever before.

Feel free to share this post with a neighbor; let’s all play a part in saving energy this October!

Thanks for stopping by!

-April

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Home Energy Saving Tips

October 9, 2014

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This month, with the focus on energy, we want to encourage every homeowner to take action no matter how big or how small to conserve energy.  Here are a few tips to get you started:

  1. Cooking is like a puzzle. Match your pot to the size of your stovetop burner.  Using smaller pots waste heat when used on large burners.
  2. Don’t soak. Take short showers instead of baths.  If you want to save even more energy, use a low-flow showerhead.
  3. Power off, completely. If you aren’t in the room, turn off lights, TVs, computers, etc.
  4. Unplug battery chargers when not in use. Many chargers continue to burn energy even when the device isn’t plugged into the charger.
  5. Slow down. Drive safe and slow down.  Not only is speeding dangerous, it wastes fuel too.
  6. Upgrade your thermostat. Using a programmable thermostat may save you an estimated $180 a year.  It saves energy, too.
  7. Use cold water. Washing clothes with cold water can save you 40 cents per load.
  8. Forget the dryer. Dry your clothes on a clothesline or drying rack and save an estimated $252 a year.
  9. Ditch the incandescents. CFLs and LEDs are more energy-efficient and give off the same amount of light.  More information can be found on our fact sheet.
  10. Get an energy audit. Find out where your home is using and losing energy.  More than likely that lost energy is also costing you money.  Learn more in this video.

Sources:  Duke Energy, ENERGY STAR, Energy Information Administration, Choice Home Warranty

Back to School, Back to Learn

August 14, 2014

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As summer winds down, the school year is right around the corner.  With that of course comes back to school shopping for supplies and new clothes as well as the anxiety of starting a new school year.  Here are some tips to pass along to your student to help them excel in the classroom.

  • Eat breakfast. It’s true, when you’ve eaten a good breakfast you are more alert and perform better in class.
  • Put the phone down and sleep.  Teens need at least 8.5 hours of sleep to feel rested.
  • Use your study hall. Doing more work during the school day while not in class can reduce the work you will have to do at home.  You’ll be more focused, too.
  • Make friends. Join school clubs or teams and get to know people.

I’ll end with our favorite tip to give students before the school year.   “When you know better, you do better.” This quote is by Maya Angelou.  It’s true, as we continue to learn, we continue to improve.  Education doesn’t stop after high school or even college, it continues into the workforce and into your life.  At GreenHomes we are constantly in the classroom learning more about homes and how they work.  We are keeping up with the latest building codes, tools, products, and services so that we can do better.

We continue to learn and for good reason, the more we know the better we can serve you.

Share this post and encourage someone to keep learning.  Best of luck this school year and thanks for stopping by!

-April

Desperate for a Cool Down?

July 10, 2014

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As summer continues to heat up, we all end up desperate for a cool down.  Nothing is more frustrating than running the AC constantly and still having hotspots in our homes or hot rooms!  I won’t even mention those high utility bills.  Good news!  There are options to look into that can help even out the temperatures in your home, reduce your utility bill and give you that cool down you are looking for.

  1. Get an energy audit – Here’s a video to help explain.
  2. Do the improvements – We usually start with Air Sealing.  You could save 5 to 30 percent on your energy bill by making efficiency upgrades that a home energy audit can identify.  (U.S. Department of Energy)
  3. Enjoy your comfortable home – Go ahead, picture it.

We all need a break from the heat, sometimes a cool drink or a scoop of ice cream just doesn’t cut it.  Give yourself a more lasting cool down, keep the heat outside.  Relax, save money and be cool in the comfort of your own home.

Feel free to share this post with your fellow homeowners.  Let’s not leave anyone desperate for a cool down.

Thanks for stopping by!
-April

America, it’s Who We Are

July 3, 2014

Extended family enjoying at home with their pets.

America isn’t just in our name; it’s who we are and where we work. Here at GreenHomes America, we spend a lot of our time serving homeowners all across America.  We are privileged to meet a lot of different people in different regions.  This Friday as we celebrate Independence Day and our freedom, we want to celebrate each of you, the people who make up this great nation.

Thank you for inviting us into your home.  We are honored to help and serve you and your families.

We wish you and yours a safe and happy 4th of July!

-GreenHomes America

 

It’s vacation time!

June 24, 2014

If you have plans to travel this summer, ensure your home will be in good shape when you go. The sun is out and you should be too, but keeping your home safe and energy costs down is important. Vacation Here are a few tips:

  • Use a programmable thermostat.  Depending on where you live, programmable thermostats can help regulate the temperature and humidity in your home.  When programming it, remember you don’t need to cool your home as much when you are away and no one is home.
  • Check your insulation.  Believe it or not, having enough insulation and duct work that works properly can help reduce your energy costs.  Let us explain, watch this short video.
  • Leave a light on, but only if it’s a CFL or LED.  It’s good to leave a light on or two maintain the appearance of being home.   Save money and energy by using CFL’s or LED’s.  Changing your lightbulbs is an easy thing to do.  More facts about lightbulbs can be found here.
  • If no one’s using hot water, turn it off.  If you plan on being gone for a while, think twice about leaving your electric water heater on.  Turning it off at the breaker will help you reduce energy costs.  Your water heater might even have a vacation setting too.

Have a safe trip!

 

Photo from MrJack  on http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sonnenaufgang_Frankreich.JPG

Do you drive with the windows down or blast the AC?

June 12, 2014

This summer you might be spending some time on the road.  It’s a great time to vacation.  Seeking fuel efficiency in your vehicle means going easy on the pedal, but how do we keep cool on the hot summer road trips?  Do we drive with the windows down or blast the AC? Road Trip Efficiently Apparently keeping your windows down is more efficient  than blasting the AC.  We can safely argue that it is not as efficient as keeping the windows up and not using the AC.   I wouldn’t recommend this for a summer trip unless you want to know what that bug feels like under the magnifying glass! Cranking up the AC at home means comfort of course, and for some it’s a matter of health and safety especially when it gets hot.   We wouldn’t think of not using the AC when the temperature is soaring outside, but like your car, you can run your home more efficiently. How?  Keep your AC tuned up!  Regular maintenance helps avoid unexpected repairs.  While you are at it, tune up your house too.  Recommendations from an energy audit help you keep the cool where you want it, inside and the hot where you like it, outside.  In fact air sealing and insulation improvements can reduce the amount of cooling you need. Thanks, Jason Photo from Nicholas A. Tonelli under  creative commons license

Are you Spring Cleaning and Considering your Ductwork? Ask why First!

April 7, 2014

Having your ductwork cleaned can be a good thing. With the arrival of spring some of us throw open the windows and start cleaning everywhere, but it’s probably best to find a pro for ducts. They have the right equipment and training to do a thorough job.

If you think the ductwork in your home needs a tune up, it pays to do a little homework first and ask why. Are they musty or dusty? Do they go through a crawlspace, basement or attic? Will you be fixing the problem or just a symptom?old duct uninsulated no airseal (3)
Duct cleaning is not a cure all, and in some cases, unsubstantiated claims are made from contractors taking advantage of our fears of mold and poor indoor air quality. Some unscrupulous contractors present pricing so high that for the same price you could get a new set of ducts installed instead! I’d suggest finding someone who understands that ductwork is part of a house as a system. In other words choose a home performance contractor to do the work, since cleaning ducts won’t help if they constantly pull dirty air from attics and crawlspace every time they run. That’s treating the symptom and not the problem.

Take a look at what the EPA has to say and do it for the right reasons, and have them cleaned knowing you are doing the right thing!

Thanks,
Jason

Don’t eat your Boots

March 24, 2014

For those in the eastern part of the country, experiencing record breaking cold temperatures and another round of storms, you may be wondering if the continent has shifted north to the arctic, or if winter will ever go away. To cheer myself up, I’ve been reading a book called “The Man Who Ate His Boots: The Tragic History of the Search for the Northwest Passage” by Anthony Brandt. Winter doesn’t seem so bad anymore, nor does Spring.

Wintering over in the arctic at -30F with your ship frozen in the ice just so you can go further North when it thaws seems… kind of crazy. It’s not for me, but what I did find fascinating with this history, was the ingenuity that came from these voyages over two centuries ago and how little it transferred to home.

One explorer, Captain Parry spent some time with a stove maker to design a better system that not only kept the ship warm and melted ice for the crew, but also handled condensation build up in their makeshift home for the winter. Below zero outside and 70 degrees inside must have felt pretty good. It was not simply a better stove. It was a system. Insulation was added, heat was distributed and in addition to comfort, they burned less fuel. Just like your home should be!

Brand writes: “Mr. Sylvester and Captain Parry had invented a remarkably efficient form of central heating. It’s a shame the system was not applied to British housing, which remained heated entirely by coal fireplaces into quite recent times.

Past explorations led to eating leather boots to survive and worse, and Captain Parry learned a thing or two. Don’t eat your boots to survive at home. Consider making your ship more bearable for the rest of this season and for the next! I’m guessing the good Captain made himself comfortable at home too.

Spring is coming!

 

Thanks,

Jason

image from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AIcebergs.jpg

 

A Healthy Heart is like a Healthy Home!

February 7, 2014

Heart disease is a significant issue for many Americans and encompasses a number of conditions.   The American Heart Association is a great resource to start with if you have concerns.  February is American Heart Month and you may ask what that could possibly have to do with a home.  heart

Where do you start when it comes to a healthy heart? Your doctor is a good place.  Being diagnosed with cardiovascular disease means a change, but it is change you won’t be working at alone, that’s why we visit one doctor for physicals and see a specialist if need be.

We take the same type of scientific approach to diagnosing homes and making recommendations.  We start out as a general practitioner would in your home looking at everything.   When we find something that needs special attention we can bring in the specialists.   It might be the ductwork or the cooling system.  Maybe it’s the insulation in the attic.  But you won’t know until you get that physical and you won’t get better until you take action!

We know Home is Where the Heart is and this month help yourself and your family to a check up for your heart’s sake and also for your home!

Thanks,

Jason


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