Green Sickle

Green Home Improvements

Green Heating and Cooling Advice

Thankfully, people are more conscious about the amount of energy they consume and use now more than ever. From driving less to using less electricity at home, it seems like a majority of people make conscious decisions to use less energy. Whether it’s for financial reasons or to contribute to the prosperity of our planet, there are numerous benefits to lowering our dependence on electricity and other fuels. However, did you know that the largest energy expense isn’t our cars or electronics it’s our home heating and air conditioning units.

According to energy.gov, cooling and heating costs account for over 55% of the energy use in the average American home. When you run the numbers that means the typical U.S. household will spend annually between $700-$1,700, depending on whether they heat with natural gas or oil. There are a number of home heating and cooling solutions to choose from and they all have their pros and cons. If you have the choice on which type of energy source you would want to use for your HVAC system, it is best to have a checklist and go through all of your options. Some questions you may want to ask yourself could include:

Does my home have access to natural gas? If not, choosing an all-electric heating and cooling system may be your best option. If natural gas is available, is the minimum charge worth choosing that option? If the natural gas company charges you a fee even if you don’t use any gas, it may not make sense to choose natural gas for your home.

What are the local electric rates? The cost of electricity can vary from place to place. Knowing what you are going to be charged per kilowatt and then determining the average amount of energy you use in your home can help you to determine what your monthly bill would be if you decided to choose an electrical system for your home’s heating and cooling system.

Being able to answer these two easy questions can allow you to make the right decision for your home’s heating and air conditioning in Annapolis MD.

Common Car Repairs

Tips for Choosing the Right Auto Repair Shop for Your Vehicle

my mechanic working on an engineWhen your looking for a good car or auto repair shop it can be confusing because most of them have different specialties. The confusion about the services and repairs they offer often comes from the name of the business. Some companies have names like Aarrow Transmissions, or Bobs mufflers and brakes because they are known for a particular part of their work. But do you think these shops are created equal? Not at all, let me explain.

This is where you have to do your research because Aarrow, while known for their work on transmissions, also has an expertly trained staff of mechanics which can take care a wide variety of car repairs in Richmond VA where they service. This includes general car repairs from a simple oil change or inspection to complete brake work to even more complicated tasks. They are adept in repairs for car electrical systems as well as heat an ac service for your vehicle. I take my car to Aarrow for everything from a check engine light to when I need my cars air conditioning tuned for the summer.

car back on the road after repairsRemember how I mentioned all mechanics were not the same? A quick trip to Bobs mufflers and brakes would reveal a different story. While they may know their mufflers and can put on a brake pad, if this company really existed, they probably wouldn’t do much more. Many such car repair shops will overcharge for simple work like an oil change or tire rotation because its simply not in their range of specialty. So if you need more than a new muffler, its not something I would recommend.

Nomatter who you choose to take your vehicle to, do some research and find out what the garage is really good at fixing. Find out their prices, talk to them on the phone and make sure they have an experienced staff that can  do the job you need to be completed.

How to tell if you need Roof work

Spring is a great time of year to get outside for some of those external home projects you didn’t have time to think about over the winter and holiday season. Now that the weather is nice, I am doing an exterior check of my home to inspect things like siding, my gutters, how my deck is holding up, and also the roof of my home. This is such an important thing to do because if you are anything like me, these things go unnoticed during the everyday rush of going to work and getting the kids to school along with weekend activities.

Do a Thorough Roof Inspection

But if you take the time and do a thorough check you may be able to save yourself a good deal of money in the long run if you spot a problem. This was the case with me when I saw that one corner of my roof was beginning to sag and there was some water damage underneath. I knew I had to do something about it quickly so I called a builder specializing in roofing in Richmond VA. I’m lucky I spotted the damage when I did but for anyone who doesn’t know how to properly inspect their roof I have a few tips for you.

How to Spot the Damage

water damage on my roofLike I did, take careful notice of any places your roof might be sagging, it’s a dead giveaway for some structural or water damage underneath. Also be on the lookout for discoloration or water spots, another sign of damage from moisture. If you have at attic, try turning the lights on when its dark out and look for any light peering through from the outside of your home. This is a great way to find any little cracks or holes in your roof.

Remember, if there is any doubt simply find a friend or neighbor who knows more or even call an expert for an inspection. Many home improvements and fixes can be done much more affordably when you take action right away. If you want more ways to save money check out my post on efficient home improvements that can help reduce energy bills over time.

High Efficiency Andersen Windows

When you deciding to find a green product for your home it will be important to make sure that it will last long period of time, increase your home value, and keep your home insulated. By choosing a top brand window manufacturer can insure that you obtain all of these great benefits. If you are a really concerned citizen about the environment then then these factors will not only benefit your wallet but also lower landfill capacity and reduce the amount of pollutants pumped into our atmosphere. I have found one window manufacturer that provides a window product that meets all the standards mentioned previously and those are the windows of Andersen Windows.

This company has been providing windows and doors for over 100 years and they are experts in all things glass. They have perfected the custom building and installation process of their products and no other brand is able to provide the quality that they bring to their customers. The reason why their windows are top class is because of the way they are built and installed.

Every single window frame is custom built for each specific window opening that a customer has. They don’t have standard sizes that they just through into your window opening, which means that you don’t have to alter your home to make these windows fit correctly. The service professionals of Andersen Windows take your custom built windows and install them in your home ensuring that they operate at optimal performance and make sure that they insulate your home properly.

It takes a very long time for these windows to wear out but when they do Andersen also has a replacement window provider called Renewal by Andersen that assist in the replacement of Andersen Windows. You can visit Brooklyn Replacement Window in Brooklyn New York to see the type of prices and services provided by Renewal by Andersen affiliates. You can expect only the best from these Andersen products and the most energy savings as well. With these windows properly installed in your home your home efficiency will increase dramatically and you can instantly see your savings on your next bill.

Green Your Home with 3M Window Film

Any true environmentalist knows a low cost way to upgrade your home while lowering your carbon footprint is through installing residential window tint in your home. 3M window film from Solar Concepts is a truly green product. For every meter of solar film you have installed on your home windows you are reducing your greenhouse gas emissions by thousands. In regards to auto window tinting services in Carmel IN, applying the 3M film to a car’s windshield has been proven to increase fuel efficiency by over three percent.

Window Film Carmel IN

Solar Window film is a product with no downsides. The United States Environmental Protection agency even includes insulating your home as #4 on their list of tips to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The EPA states that a knowledgeable homeowner or skilled contractor can save up to 20% on heating and cooling costs through improved home insulation techniques such as 3M window film.

Most people agree that to curb the vicious cycle of global warming, multiple measures from individuals and industry need to be taken. Homeowners are using this window of time to upgrade the energy efficiency of their home. At this time homeowners are able to cash in on state or national incentives to lower their carbon footprint. An individual’s “carbon footprint” is a term that is often used when referring to the amount of carbon dioxide a person is responsible for emitting into the atmosphere.

Investing in residential window tinting installation for your home in Indianapolis is truly an immediate cost saving measure while having a long-term environmental impact. To learn more about residential solar film in Indianapolis visit, http://solarconcepts1.com/residential.html , and learn how fast and easy you can begin your window film installation.

Green Windows

When thinking about improving the green value of your home you will have to consider windows from windowreplacementrichmondva.com. They provide high quality Anderson windows that help save you money on your energy costs every month. These windows are built to insure proper insulation of your home during the coldest parts of winter and the hottest times in the summer. Richmond and Northern Virginia are known for their sporadic weather changes. We could experience snow one day and a beautiful spring day the next.

With this drastic change in temperature changes it is important that your window frames don’t warp, expand, and contract. If you choose a cheaper type of replacement window product you will find these issues and it could cause a malfunction in the operation of the window and a lower energy efficiency level. It can be difficult at first to shell out the extra amount of money for a higher quality brand because you can’t physically see the difference between the cheaper brand and the higher quality product.

You can’t depend on seeing the return on investment immediately but over time you will find a great amount of savings in energy costs. Not only will you save money on energy costs but you will also save money on replacement costs because the higher quality brand will last longer than your cheaper vinyl style windows.

I am not saying that vinyl windows are cheap and don’t work properly but they don’t perform on the same level as the quality Anderson windows. Vinyl windows will work well in some regional locations but not in the drastic temperature change zone of the Mideast. By purchasing these higher quality windows you will also be saving your environment because your home will be consuming less energy. This will lead to less fossil fuel spent to supply energy to your home and the less pollution is pumped into the environment.

What To Look For In Replacement Windows

When its time to replace the windows on your home, what do you need to look for? It all starts with what you need. Do you need to repair something or do you need to replace it completely? Ask yourself those questions before you start and you’ll save yourself time in the future. Knowing what to look for in replacement windows is half the battle. The other half is finishing the job.

andersen window replacement sampleThe easiest way to go about replacing your windows is to hire an expert who can tell you what you need. It will cost some money but it is worth every penny, especially when you’re dealing with windows. They’ll know if your windows need to be replaced, depending on how old the windows are and the material they were built out of.  Once they figure out your needs, Renewal by Andersen can then help you choose the windows that will work best for your house. Replacement windows can enhance your home’s aesthetics, efficiency and your overall comfort living in it. If you’re looking to improve the energy efficiency of your home, look for windows that have argon in them. This is a gas that insulates better than air. Better insulation means lower energy bills and this will save you money in the long run.

After you know what to look for in replacement windows and you’ve found what you want, you want to install them correctly. If you’re buying custom windows, installation can be very complicated. Hire a local specialist to help you out if you haven’t already. They will make your life easier and they will make sure the windows are installed correctly. You don’t want your expensive replacement project to go to waste! Ask your friends and neighbors about window contractors and find out who they trust. Once you do, you’ll be enjoying your brand new windows in no time.

Greener Ways to Clean Your Drain

While many drain cleaning products are effective, it’s easy for me to understand why folks in Naperville don’t want to use them to rid their sinks of clogs and odors – some of those chemicals are pretty nasty. Depending on what you’re using, your cleaner is liable to be highly toxic, to cause harmful fumes, to injure skin and eyes, and even to burn through clothing. You have to be extra careful when using these cleaners in a home with small children or pets.

So occasionally I’m asked if there are any greener, less potentially harmful, means of removing clogs and odors from your household sinks. Thankfully, there are several products you’re liable to already have in your pantry or refrigerator that can also be used. They may not be as potent a solution as their chemical cousins, but they can be quite effective – especially if used before the problem gets serious.

First, let’s consider solutions for unpleasant odors. Not too many people call Naperville’s plumbers to solve their odor problems, but we often encounter them on service calls. If you’ve got an odor problem, try an application of white vinegar. Pour one cup down the drain, let it sit for a half-hour, and then rinse with hot water.

Another potential solution is baking soda. Pour one cup of baking soda down the drain, and then chase it with three cups of boiling water to remove drain odors. This method can also be used to remove partial clogs. If you have both white vinegar and baking soda at your disposal, they can be used in tandem for even better effect.

Sometimes baking soda and vinegar succeed in loosening the clog, but don’t completely free your drain pipe. In that case, let’s consider another solution for clogs: plungers. Sometime a little plunging is needed to finish removing that loosened clog.

It’s always a good idea to keep a small plunger on hand to clear clogs in the sink. When you plunge, always be sure to press firmly to create a tight seal. For best effect, plunge multiple times – and rapidly.

Use these green methods, and you’ll find that you don’t need to call my local plumbing and drain cleaning company as often. And that’s okay. There are plenty of times where a professional plumber is needed to correct an issue, but there’s no sense in calling one when the vinegar and baking soda in your pantry can do the job.

Get Those Appliances Fixed

Don’t Live in the Stone Age

common home appliances - refrigerator, microwave, oven, and washing machinecommon home appliances - refrigerator, microwave, oven, and washing machineTechnology has come a long way in the past century, even just around the home. Think about how much easier things are these days to do simple things like doing your laundry, cooking a meal or washing the dishes. But if your appliances are not in working order you may as well be in the stone age because you may have to wash dishes by hand, hand scrub your own clothes and hang them out to dry. Hopefully you don’t have to learn how to start a fire just to prepare a meal but how else can you cook when your oven or range is broken?

Thankfully these days you don’t have to live common home appliances - refrigerator, microwave, oven, and washing machinein the past even if you don’t want to pay for expensive new appliances. You have the option of getting appliance repair service right in the comfort of your home. If you find the right service it will be much cheaper, faster, and more environmentally friendly to get a repair rather than replace a whole appliance.

Most people often think of these machines as disposable for some reason instead of the way they think about their cars, something that should be repaired when broken instead of simply replaced. Anyone who has bought new appliances recently can attest to how expensive they are, so look into a new part before looking at a new refrigerator, oven range, or washer and dryer. That way you can stay in the modern age while keeping your wallet intact too.

High Efficiency Home Improvements

Everyone wants to help save the environment and keep their home costs as low as possible. A great way to accomplish both is by using products on our home. What we mean by “green” products is that they are energy efficient and help decrease the amount of damage done to our environment. There are many different types of products that you can use to achieve lower energy costs like high efficiency windows, doors, and siding. If you are thinking about replacing any of these items on your home then I suggest you read through this article before making your final decision on the type of products you will be looking for. You can find great examples of these types of products by visiting Metropolitan Contractors of Northern Virginia. They are professional contractors that can complete any home improvement project that you are looking for.

Replacement Windows and Doors

By installing high efficiency windows and storm doors you will be able to insulate your home from losing heat and air. Over time your standard glass will lose its UV protection coating and your glass will heat up or cool down depending on the time of year. This means that the external temperature is entering your home through your glass and you HVAC system will have to work twice as hard keep a constant temperature in your home. When your HVAC system works harder then it uses more energy and raises your consumption costs.

Efficient Siding

Choosing the right siding material can make all the difference for the environment. If you are always purchasing vinyl siding then you will have to replace your siding every ten years or so because of damage or fading. This will lead to higher land fill capacity which will harm your community and environment. By choosing a new age product like fiber cement you won’t have to replace your siding as often and will end up saving money and the environment.

Always keep high efficiency in the back of your mind when making home improvement decisions. It may be more expensive upfront,  but over time you will actually find savings and lower replacement costs.