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6 Ways to Improve the Energy of Your Home

As energy prices continue to rise, now is the time to make your home more energy efficient. Fortunately, this doesn’t take a lot of time or money. Below are six ways to boost your home’s energy efficiency.

Clean Furnace Filters or Replace with New Ones

If your home is heated by a forced-air gas system, cleaning or changing out the air filter on a monthly basis can save money during the cold months. Cleaning can usually be done with a standard vacuum, and new ones are often cheap. You can choose filters that eliminate allergens from the air.

Use Compact Fluorescents and LEDs

Individual bulbs might not use too much energy, but altogether, an average home spends 11 percent of its energy bill on lighting. However, you can drastically reduce this figure by trading your incandescent bulbs for energy-efficient compact fluorescent lighting and LEDs. This reduces lighting energy costs by up to three-quarters.

Install Energy-efficient Windows

Between 25% to 40% of a home’s heating and cooling costs literally go out the window. To save money, you can trade your regular windows for energy-efficient models that prevent drafts and have higher insulation ratings.

Adjust Laundry Techniques

For energy-intensive processes of washing and drying clothes, don’t wash clothes until you’ve accumulated a full load. Use cooler temperatures when clothes aren’t extremely dirty. Empty the lint trap with each dryer load, or better yet, dry your clothes on a clothes line.

Try to Plant Trees Around Your Home

Shade trees can keep your home cool in the warmer months and reduce your energy costs. In fact, cooling costs can be cut by as much as 40% by shielding the sides of your home from the sun’s rays. This is most effective for walls that face the sun.

Ensure that Your Attic and Walls are Insulated

Keeping these crucial parts of the home properly insulated can prevent loss of heating and cooling through invisible air leaks. If your home is old, you’re more likely to have poor insulation in the attic and walls. While you might spend a fair amount on this project, the investment will easily last a long time.


Home and Kitchen Improvement: 5 Tips to Keep the Kitchen Neat and Tidy

One reality in any home is that the kitchen is one area that’s quite difficult to keep clean, neat, and tidy. The hub of activity that takes place in the kitchen never fails to ensure that there’s always some sort of mess to clean-up. The preparation and presence of food probably has a great deal to do why the kitchen can be such a difficult place to maintain. The preparation, consumption, and aftermath of cooked meals or snacking in addition to plates, cups, and utensils are likely to leave the area in a somewhat untidy state.

So how exactly do you go about maintaining the kitchen and keep it clean, neat, and tidy?

1. Make a Cleaning Roster

If you’re sharing a household with other members of the family or even flat sharing with friends, be sure to draw-up a cleaning roster so that everyone gets involved in the cleaning and tidying up. It’s not fair to leave the kitchen cleaning to just one specific person, like your mother.

2. Have Sufficient Storage Areas

The problem for many kitchens is containing clutter. Thus, having sufficient storage spaces to keep all of your items is vital. For instance, utilize kitchen cabinets, jars, and counter/ceiling hangers to minimize the amount of unnecessary clutter that can appear on your kitchen countertops.

3. Post Inspirational Notices

To remind everyone who makes use of the kitchen of their responsibilities, small cleverly-positioned notices or mini-posters on the fridge or kitchen cupboard can act as a piece of inspiration for people to keep the kitchen tidy.

4. Have Clean-up Products Handy

Always be sure that you’re properly stocked up on cleaning products that will help you to manage and control any type of mess or spill. Cleansing wipes, kitchen towels, disinfectant sprays, a dust-pan, brush, broom, and a mop are amongst the essentials that you should always have at hand should you suddenly need them. Take special note that pets love to hang out in the kitchen because that’s where the food comes from.

5. CLAYGO (CLean As You Go)

One of the most productive and time effective ways of keeping a kitchen clean is to clean while you’re doing something in the kitchen, like cooking. Instead of leaving all of your pots, pans and other equipment in a heap to the side as you prepare a meal, use time in between cooking to clean-up your surfaces and wash the dishes.

Home Improvement Guide to Make Your Doors Burglar Proof

Fancy burglar alarms are good safety tools, however, one of the easiest ways to keep the bad guys from breaking in is to make your doors burglar proof.

Replace all hollow exterior doors or those with windows with solid ones

Though less expensive, hollow doors only belong in the interior of your house. All exterior doors that allow entry into a home, including side, back, and attached garage doors should be made of Solid wood, Wood core, Fiberglass, or Reinforced metal. Those with windows should also be replaced since the glass can be broken and the intruder can reach through and down to unlock the door.

Sliding glass patio doors

These are easily breached, but these can be easily reinforced with clear poly-carbonate panels that are secured behind the glass on the interior. The same is true of first level windows. Install locks at both the top and bottom. Placing an unbreakable metal or wooden stick or dowel in the sliding door’s track will also block entry by making it impossible to slide the door open with the stick in place.

Exterior doors should have a high-quality deadbolt lock in addition to the doorknob

All exterior doors should have deadbolt locks installed in addition to the doorknobs. Make sure the deadbolt you choose is high-quality Grade 1 or 2 level with a bolt that extends at least an inch into the door “slot” mechanism or a “throw bolt.”

Check door frames

Replace both door frame and door if the door frame is splintering or warped, because any ill-fitting doors can give intruders easy entry. If you do replace both the door and frame, consider using doors are made of fiberglass, with security hinges.

Install a deadlock

A deadlock is like a deadbolt, but it only locks from the inside and there is no keyed entry. This can provide extra security, since an intruder cannot gain entrance unless they can destroy the door frame or lock.

Use heavy-duty strike plates

The metal plate on the door frame that reinforces the hole where the locking bolt enters is called the “strike plate.” These should be heavy-duty and reinforced on exterior doors. The screws that secure the strike plate to the door should attach to the underlying studs in the door, not just the door jamb.

Always lock your doors and windows

All of these safety features are worthless unless you lock up when at home or out. Most intruders simply gain access through an unlocked door or window. Make sure your doors and windows have the reinforcements listed above, and then use them.