connie vallone

5 Ways to Save Money and Energy This Summer

In Home Buying, Home buying in West Houston, Home Improvement, Home Maintenance, Home Selling, Home Values, Houston Real Estate, Investment, Selling Your Home, Tax credits, Texas, West Houston Real Estate, West Houston REALTOR Connie Vallone on July 19, 2016 at 7:33 am

Home improvements may improve the value of your home, but they often cost you a lot more. What if you could improve your home and save money at the same time? Summer is one of the best times of year to make some changes around your home that can help save energy, and therefore, save you money as well. These five home projects are designed to help make your home more energy efficient – even during one of the most energy-heavy times of year – so you can save and enjoy your home more this summer.

1) Maintain Your HVAC Unit

Your HVAC and AC unit need to be serviced each year, usually sometime in the spring or summer. Doing so can not only help ensure that it’s working when the temperatures hit their peak, it can also help save you money as well. Air conditioning maintenance helps ensure your unit is working at peak efficiency by keeping it clean and replacing any worn parts. This quick, yearly visit by a technician will help ensure your AC unit is working the way you want it to, when you want it to.

Cost

The cost of annual air conditioning maintenance averages out to around $100, but can go as high as $150, if you wait until the days are at their hottest.

Tips to Save Even More

Your AC’s filter is your best defense against dirt building up inside. Make sure you change it regularly to help the unit run more efficiently, which will help keep your monthly bills down.

DIY or Not?

Your HVAC unit should always be inspected and maintained by a qualified technician.

2) Repair Window Leaks

Did you know that even if your window isn’t leaking water when it rains, it could still be leaking air and raising your energy bills? Poor air seal or a large gap around your windows can account for as much as 40 percent of the money you use to heat and cool your home – a significant amount that just flies right out the window. Replacing your windows can help fix the air seal and save you a lot of money on your energy bills each month thereafter.

Cost

The average cost to replace your windows is about $830 for a vinyl sash window, but can go as high as $2650 for a wooden bay window replacement.

Tips to Save Even More

Replace only the worst windows first, then use caulk to seal up the edges of the other windows to help stop energy loss while you wait to replace them all.

DIY or Not?

Window replacements should be carried out by professionals, but you can seal up air leaks yourself in the meantime.

3) Install an Attic Fan

The attic is often overlooked as one area that is responsible for a lot of the heat gain in your home. Attics often become superheated in the summer months with the combination of rising heat from below and the sun beating down from above. Installing an attic fan can help drop the temperature in your attic, which will prevent heat transfer back down into the rest of your home, making it more comfortable and lowering your energy bills.

Cost

The average cost of installing an attic fan is around $275 for a fan that can cool up to 2,500 square feet. Total costs can go as high as $321 for a fan that can cool 3,000 square feet.

Tips to Save Even More

Install a solar powered fan, which will cool your attic and won’t cost anything to run.

DIY or Not?

Attic fans should always be installed by a licensed electrician to minimize the risk of electric shock.

4) Install Window Shades

A lot of people assume that installing draperies is enough to give you the privacy and light blocking that you need. But if you live in a climate that sees a lot of sun in the summer months, drapes alone may not be enough to stop solar heat transfer through your windows. Installing window shades can help dramatically reduce the heat gain in your home, keeping things cool and comfortable inside, while helping to keep your energy bills down.

Cost

The average cost of installing window shades is around $500 to $600 for eight honeycomb shades. Total costs range from $250 for eight roller shades to $650 for eight Roman shades.

Tips to Save Even More

Make sure that your shades have a white, reflective surface on the side facing the windows to ensure that they will truly block the light and heat from entering your home.

DIY or Not?

You can easily install shades yourself with minimal tools and a few hours of time to save even more money.

5) Insulate Your Attic

The vast majority of homes are under-insulated, which means that a lot of the money you spend to heat and cool your home is going to waste. Attics in particular are in great need of extra insulation, because of the heat gain from the sun beating down on your roof, which can lead to your whole home rising in temperature. Adding some attic insulation will help keep your whole home cooler and more comfortable all summer long, resulting in lower AC bills.

Cost

The average cost to insulate an attic is around $897 for blown-in cellulose insulation in a 1,500 square feet space. Total costs range from $617 for R-13 roll insulation installed DIY to $1501 for R-19 roll insulation.

Tips to Save Even More

  • Insulate the underside of your roof deck as well as your attic to help block additional heat transfer.
  • Use the highest R-factor insulation that you can afford to get the most energy savings.

DIY or Not?

It is possible to install roll insulation yourself, but blown-in insulation should be done by a professional.

Save Energy, Save Money

No one likes to take on projects during the dog days of summer, but these five projects can help make your home a lot more comfortable and energy efficient once you’re done. Take on these five projects any time this summer to help get the most out of this time of year. To find out more about what things cost on typical home improvement projects, be sure to visit both of these Cost Guides.

This post was originally published on RISmedia’s blog, Housecall. Check the blog daily for top real estate tips and trends. RISMedia Tracking Snippet *** Do Not Remove *** End RISMedia Tracking Snippet

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2016. All rights reserved.

If you are looking for Classic Real Estate Services from concept to closing, please contact Connie Vallone by phone (713) 249-4177, email connie@knowsrealestate.com or visit my website at www.houstonenergycorridorhomes.com or www.vallonehomes.com .

What Makes a Home a Home?

In Buying a new home, Home Buying, Home buying in West Houston, Home Improvement, Home Maintenance, Home Selling, Home Values, Houston Real Estate, Sellers, West Houston Real Estate, West Houston REALTOR Connie Vallone on July 15, 2016 at 7:19 am

Some may say a house, some may say family. Some might say comfort.

Home is all of the above—and then some. The Life at Home report, released annually by IKEA, surveys thousands of people around the world to determine what makes a home a home. The findings this year pose an idea of home that transcends the need for shelter—a haven where “space,” “things,” “relationships” and “place” meet:

The ways in which we design, construct and live in our homes are reflections of the world around us. Our basic feelings and needs at home are constant, but changing values, lifestyles and societies force us to meet these needs in different ways and different places than before.

The Fourth Dimension

Home is defined by our senses—a “fourth dimension” of sight, smell, sound, taste and touch, according to the report. The senses interpret what constitutes a “homey” atmosphere, as well as evoke memories. Sixty-three percent of those in the report said they cook to feel at home; 59 percent play music to do the same.

Light and noise pollution have compromised two of the senses. Eighteen percent of those in the report said their home is too bright, and a portion of those studied living in India said muffling urban noise would “improve their well-being.”

For better or worse, being at home is as much a sensory experience as it is tangible—the senses, the report suggests, can be the best indicator. 

Where There’s WiFi…

Home is now centered on relationships formed and nurtured virtually. Forty-eight percent of those in the report identified home as the “place where they have their most important relationships,” but 23 percent believe it is more important to have WiFi than a gathering space in the home to accommodate them.

Internet-based social interactions have become more essential to relationship-building than at-home get-togethers, mainly for those who move often, own second homes, or have part-time live-in children, the report found. Developing more WiFi-fostered relationships in the home has shifted the perception of home to anywhere there’s a connection—be it school or Starbucks.

Good Fences

Home extends beyond four WiFi-enabled walls. Thirty-eight percent of those in the report grouped their neighborhood in with their sense of home—an association that may be tied to participation in community organization, such as mingling with neighbors or utilizing communal amenities. Forty-two percent felt at home more so outside the home than inside, a testament to the indoor-outdoor turn homes have taken. Just 7 percent limited their sense of home to a specific place.

All Things Home

Homes are filled with things of sentimental value. Forty-three percent of those in the report assigned importance to objects that facilitate meaningful activities—a book shelf for bedtime stories, for instance, or a table for shared meals. This attachment speaks to the desire to care for these objects: 32 percent said they would rather repair a broken object than replace it. Fifty-three percent said the objects in their homes reflect who they are and/or hold memories; just 22 percent said the objects in their homes are “strictly functional.”

Though the nuclear living arrangement has changed—micro-housing, single heads of households—the notion of home, ultimately, is connected by space, things, relationships and place:

Different as we are, our feelings of home are strikingly similar. People all over the world, in all kinds of homes and households, use similar words to describe the essence of what makes a home to them.

 

This post was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. Check the blog daily for top real estate tips and trends. RISMedia Tracking Snippet *** Do Not Remove *** End RISMedia Tracking Snippet

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2016. All rights reserved.

If you are interested in buying or selling real estate in West Houston, please contact Connie Vallone with First Market Realty at 713 249 4177, connie@knowsrealestate.com   or visit www.houstonenergycorridorhomes.com  or www.vallonehomes.com .

 

NEW LISTING! 16022 Allenwick Lane, Houston, TX 77084 – MLS# 66407476

In Home Buying, Home buying in West Houston, Home Selling, Houston Real Estate, Relocate to Houston, Relocate to Texas, Sellers, Selling Your Home, Texas, West Houston Real Estate, West Houston REALTOR Connie Vallone on July 8, 2016 at 7:20 am

NEW LISTING! 16022 Allenwick Lane, Houston, TX 77084 – MLS# 66407476

16022 AllenwickBeautiful one story open concept floor plan. Step into foyer with leaded glass front door that leads to spacious dining that flows to the huge living area opens to the island kitchen with granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances. Tile flooring, high ceilings and tons of big double paned windows make this home light and bright. Relax in your master suite with double sinks; soak away the days stress in your garden tub. Split plan with 3 full bedrooms plus a study! Desirable Cy-Fair Schools!

HAR Link: http://www.har.com/16022-allenwick-lane/sale_66407476

If you are interested in buying or selling real estate in West Houston, please contact Connie Vallone with First Market Realty at 713 249 4177  or visit www.houstonenergycorridorhomes.com  or www.vallonehomes.com .

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