8 Tips For Running an Energy Efficient Home

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past decade the words energy efficient will mean something to you.  I have been trying to improve the way my home works for me and my family over the last five years or so.  I was inspired to do this after learning about the build-up of CO2 in the atmosphere.  Another great motivator for me was saving money, and this has become more and more important over the last year.

I have some great tips on how to make your home more energy efficient so I thought I would share them with you today.  You may have heard them before but there might be some ideas which you have not put into action yet.

‘A Rated’ Efficient Tips :

  • Improve the appliances in your home.  I’m not saying chuck out your fridge and washing machine and go and buy replacements immediately. Not everyone can afford to do that. However, when the time comes to upgrade remember to buy ‘A rated’ appliances, they use less energy and will save you money in the long run. If you can’t buy brand new look for second hand ‘A rated’ goods.
  • Check your boiler and consider updating. Old boilers don’t make good use of energy. Buy a new boiler and you will notice the difference.  If you can’t afford a new one remember to have it checked often to make sure it’s safe to use and buy an insulating jacket to try and help stop heat escaping.
  • Install a thermostat and use it to help stop your home from overheating or overcooling and using energy when it’s not necessary.
  • Check your window and door frames for gaps that allow air to escape and to get in. Cover your letter box with a brush cover and use keyhole covers to help reduce the drafts.
  • If you can afford to replace your windows then do, especially if you have single pane windows. Dress your windows with heavy lined curtains to further retain the heat and keep the cold air out.  For the best results use full length curtains and add a pelmet to the top of the curtains.
  • Keep radiators clear from obstructions and furniture if you can.  It’s best to let the heat flow throughout the room. You’ll feel the benefit by moving your sofa or chair to the other side of the room.
  • A water heater which takes water directly from the mains is far more efficient than one which uses a water tank. A combination boiler is a good option and you can enjoy hot water as soon as you turn on the tap.
  • Remember to turn off the lights you don’t need as you move from room to room.  If there are rooms you hardly use go in and unplug everything electrical to save energy and consider keeping the curtains drawn.

There are lots of great tips to follow to help improve the efficiency of your home.  The problem is forming a new habit can be difficult. The best way to create the habit is to repeat them frequently. You will be glad you did when your bill arrives.

Use qualified professionals for all plumbing work when replacing old boilers to ensure the work is done safely.

3 Ways To Make Your Home Eco-Friendly

One of the lasting trends of the new millennium is to go green, which basically means reducing your cost of living and effect you may have on the Earth’s natural resources. It is such a popular topic and trend in today’s society that just about anywhere you go, you will find green products, whether it be household cleaners, appliances or even clothes. When it comes to your home, changing it to become eco-friendly is not only worth it for your budget, but it is also a great selling feature. The process is rather easy, and it isn’t hard to start, so begin by doing small things and eventually, you will reap big benefits.

Change the Windows

A great way to make your home eco-friendlier is to change the existing windows for ones that are high-efficiency, meaning that they are well worth the initial cost, which may be troublesome to some folks. Windows are an important part of any home as it allows natural light to come through and a way to let in fresh air, so checking windows regularly  for cracks is a great thing to do so that you are fully aware of the windows’ condition. Windows that are damaged only cost you more in utility bills and could possibly lead to infestation problems, which no homeowner wants. In order to make the necessary window changes so that your home is more eco-friendly, look for windows that are doubled-paned as this will decrease how much cool or hot air comes through and out.

Install Energy-Efficient Appliances

Long gone are the days of using hand-me-down appliances simply because they aren’t worth the maintenance costs. Also, older appliances drive your energy bills higher because they aren’t made with today’s advanced technology, so invest in purchasing high-quality energy-efficient appliances, such as stoves, refrigerators and dishwashers, so that your energy bills are lower. There are many advantages of purchasing energy-efficient appliances and one of them being  that you can use the purchase(s) as tax deductions, so in a way, you are being rewarded for being eco-friendly. Many home appliance stores, such as Sears, have high-quality  appliances for low prices and reasonable finance plans.

Use Natural Energy

There are many ways for you to be eco-friendly without dishing out a lot of money upfront. If you need to take the time to save money, then know that there are several ways to be green by using natural energy. Allow more natural light to come into your home instead of flicking on the lights, and if it is a cool day, open your windows to allow the breeze to come through. You can also harvest the sun’s energy by using solar panels and turn that into reusable energy for various things. Also, limit your use on washing and drying machines by doing loads of laundry by hand in a scrub bucket and a clothesline. Start canning your own fruits or vegetables by gardening. Just going back to the basics of living can be considered green and eco-friendly.

If the amount of energy that is being used concerns you, then take these words of advice and make an action plan to change your lifestyle or home. Going green involves being strict about your lifestyle changes, but they are well worth it in the end as it will eventually cost you less in utility bills and everyday purchases.

Sherry Walker writes home improvement blogs. Her blogs also provides national and international data on the number of new construction or housing plans.

We’ve Got it Made in the US: Plumbing in Other Countries

If you’ve travelled much outside the US or even seen Slumdog Millionaire you’re aware plumbing outside the states is a bit…different. Here are a few notable ways in which plumbing has evolved over the years and a few reasons to be thankful you (and your posterior) live in the United States where you’ve got access to things like plentiful toilet paper and reputable plumbers like the guys at Pell Plumbing.

The Chinese Throne: Discovery of a working toilet complete with seat and armrests dating from around 3000BC in China proves the Chinese have the knowledge to build a great toilet. So why do most toilets in modern-day China consist of little more than a hole in the floor? Many Asian cultures believe relieving oneself in a squatting position is actually good for the body…try telling that to any Westerner vacationing in Beijing. Chinese toilets feel more like camping than “rest” rooms.

India’s Pay System: Public toilets first came into play in India around 1550AD when they were installed by the then king. They quickly became, of course, an eyesore (and a nose-sore) to the public space due to poor cleaning practices and use. Today in India public toilets are a private affair with national companies installing public toilets in major cities that can be used for a fee – usually around 25 cents. The government is hands off and the system is privatized so citizens know which “brand” is best but as expected, the toilets are often filthy and barely functioning. Facilities range from above-ground outhouse style buildings to permanent brick-and-mortar buildings.

The European Solution: While Europe is leaps and bounds ahead of the aforementioned Asian toilets (from an American point of view) their facilities still pose a few problems. One of the more common complaints from foreigners is the lack of standardization – the flush handle can be anything from a lever to a button to a pedal on the floor. The Chinese squatting-style toilet makes a few appearances in Italy and Greece to much chagrin and facilities are often unisex which sometimes leaves ladies appalled. Then again, France is a country that brought us the bidet and the first ever national toilet law wherein residents must have proper restrooms in their homes.

Squeamish or not, using the restroom in a foreign country is a great way to feel grateful for home. America has its problems but isn’t it nice to know any nearby McDonald’s has as least two functioning toilets AND toilet paper?