Joseph Reidy's Blog
Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (or HVAC) is a technology used by homeowners to provide heating and cooling. A good HVAC system will ensure that your home is comfortable, especially in extreme weather conditions. HVAC systems are known to last for more than a decade, but you shouldn't rely entirely on 'vintage' heating/cooling units, so you don't get disappointed later on.
Replacing your HVAC system can be expensive. Here are some factors that will let you know that your HVAC system needs an upgrade.
Aging HVAC system
Ventilation and air-conditioning units last well over a decade, but as they add years of usage, their efficiency also drops. If you have been using the same system for more than 15 years, it's advisable to upgrade to a modern one. Innovations have been made to increase the efficiency of your HVAC system, and enhance your comfort also. With an upgrade, you enjoy the benefits of smart initiatives out there. An intelligent thermostat, for example, will help you keep your home in the right temperature without you having to do much about manual functions.
Increasing energy bills
40% of your home's energy is used up by HVAC systems. You'll agree this is a considerable figure, and it tells a lot on your bills. Inefficient ventilation and cooling systems increase your home's utility bills. Over time, deterioration sets in, and with it comes electrical faults which in turn lead to large siphoning of energy. You can lose energy through leaks and cracks, in the form of escaping heat. A regular inspection, anyway, will help to check for leaks and crevices around your home. Upgrading your HVAC system, and opting for smarter options, will ensure you spend less on energy.
Do you hear weird noises when you run your air conditioners/heaters? If you have, this is another sign that your HVAC system needs an upgrade. The sound could be as a result of some fault that you should fix. It could also come from repair work it has endured before.
Longer running periods
If it takes longer than usual for cold air or heat (depending on your choice at the moment) to fill the room, you should consider upgrading your HVAC system. A unit that takes longer to run will not only cost you more money by increasing energy consumption, but it also decreases your comfort.
Call an HVAC technician to help you inspect your unit today to recommend the most effective course of action for you.
There are apps for tracking your data usage. There are apps for monitoring your credit. Are there apps that can monitor energy usage? Yes, there are! Moreover, the great thing about these apps is that they are free! Here are the best apps you can use to monitor your energy usage:
For users of Simply Energy with working smart meters, this is unarguably one of the most straightforward ways to keep track of your energy costs and usage. The application helps monitors the amount of energy you use in your home and when you use it. This is a great way to know when your household consumes more energy so you can take quick steps to minimize it. You can also use the application to pay your utility bills at the snap of a finger, so you don't have to worry about missing out Pay on Time discount.
Energy Rating Calculator
Next, on the list is the Energy Rating Calculator. This application was developed by the Department of the Environment and Energy to help homeowners make wise choices as they shop for electrical appliances. With this application, you can input the model you are thinking of buying, and the app will swiftly make a comparison of its running costs. By doing so, you will be able to consider the long-term costs before purchasing the appliance.
Light bulb saver
It is a well-known fact that the right lights can make any home more energy efficient. However, picking the perfect bulb can be a headache. Watts or Lumens? CFL or LED? Moreover, your old halogens, what do you with them? Just like the name, Light bulb saver is here to save you. Developed by the Department of the Environment and Energy, this application makes your research easy by helping you choose the perfect lighting for your home. That's not all this application will also show you the amount of energy you might save by making a change.
Green Outlet was developed to allow users to know which appliances in their home use the most energy. To get it started, the application only needs some personal data before it will calculate an average monthly cost. One exciting feature in this application is that it comes with a notification sound to alert users if they are exceeding their carbon usage.
Energy Consumption Analyzer
This is another smartphone application that can help you track your energy consumption by including meters for several kinds of energy. This application will help you calculate your average rate of energy use: hourly, daily, weekly, and monthly. It runs on both Apple iOS and Google Android platforms and is extremely useful in tracking energy usage.
If you plan to conduct a house search, there is no reason to settle for inferior results. Instead, you should dedicate the necessary time and resources to conduct a comprehensive search for your dream house.
Ultimately, there are many reasons why it pays to perform an in-depth home search. These include:
1. You can avoid the risk of buying a subpar house.
As a homebuyer, it is paramount to discover a residence that meets or exceeds your expectations. Because if you purchase a house that falls short of your expectations, you may suffer the consequences of your decision for years to come.
For example, if you want to acquire a home quickly, you may be tempted to submit an offer to purchase the first house you view in-person. You might even choose to ignore house problems that are discovered during an inspection.
In the aforementioned scenario, you may wind up purchasing a home that will require costly, time-intensive repairs in the foreseeable future. Perhaps worst of all, you may struggle to generate equal value for your residence if you decide to re-sell it at a later date.
2. You can boost the likelihood of finding a house that matches your budget.
If you have a limited homebuying budget at your disposal, there is no need to leave any stone unturned in your quest for your ideal residence.
By dedicating time and resources to conduct an extensive house search, you'll be better equipped than other buyers to find a first-rate residence at a budget-friendly price. Plus, you may be able to pounce at the opportunity to buy a home that matches your budget as soon as this residence becomes available.
3. You may be able to capitalize on a buyer's market.
A patient homebuyer may be able to wait out a seller's market, i.e. a real estate market that features an abundance of buyers and a shortage of sellers. And in this situation, a buyer could capitalize on a buyer's market, i.e. a real estate market that boasts an abundance of sellers and a shortage of buyers. As a result, this buyer could choose from a wide selection of top-notch residences in a buyer's market and select a residence that offers a great combination of affordability and quality.
If you plan to pursue a home soon, you may want to hire a real estate agent. Because if you have a real estate agent at your side, you can receive plenty of support throughout the property buying journey.
A real estate agent understands what it takes to conduct a thorough home search. He or she will keep you up to date about new houses that become available in your preferred cities and towns and offer expert homebuying recommendations. Also, if you want to submit an offer to purchase a home, a real estate agent will help you put together a competitive homebuying proposal.
Simplify the homebuying process – work with a real estate agent, and you can streamline your house search.
The market’s hot in your area and you want to sell your home, but your everyday life is busy. How do you find the time to prepare your home while still living there or plan a move and keep all the other plates spinning and balls juggling?
Prioritize, Plan, Put it in place
If you’ve lived in your current home for very long you may not be able to estimate how long it will take to get organized and ready. When fitting it in between everything else, you must prioritize so that you can focus on one thing at a time. In general, consider these five or six categories and the focus on just one: maintenance you can do, upgrades or repairs that require a professional, discards or trash, items to sell or give away, furniture and belongings to store, necessities to keep on hand.
You’ve been putting it off, but you know the gutters need cleaning or a couple cracked cover plates need replacing. These are items you can do yourself, you just need to make time to do them. Once you’ve made your list, take stock of supplies, tools, and parts you need. Plan a single trip to the hardware store on your way home from work to minimize time lost. Pick the easiest one, the one that you can do in a single evening. Do it right when you get home before other priorities interrupt you. Then on to the next one.
Upgrades or repairs
Some repairs—and many upgrades—are best when done by a professional. When your house needs to shine, a less than stellar repair job, uneven paint, or a visible patch could detract from your sale price. If you don’t know a qualified contractor for your needs, ask a family member, friend, or neighbor, or utilize one of the contractor's lists available online, or check with your local hardware store contractor’s desk for recommendations.
Let’s face facts, most of us keep far too much stuff. The first to go should be items that are no longer useful. Get all the trash out of your garage, attic, closets, and drawers. If it’s broken and not easily repairable, let it go. Contact your trash service to find out when the next bulk pickup day is or arrange for extra service. Having a date creates a deadline and may motivate you to do it quickly. Get the whole family on board to help.
Sell or give
Place items on Craig’s List, Offer Up, or Facebook Marketplace if you can. But remember, your time is a valuable commodity so taking the time to sell objects online or at a yard sale could have diminishing returns. If your neighborhood has a community sale date, box items up and set them aside for that one day. Otherwise, give your items to charity. Be sure to list all the items you give and get an acknowledgment receipt from the charity. The IRS has tables of fair-market value for well-cared-for and useful items, so pass the list along to your tax preparer.
If you have extra furniture, collectibles, or seasonal items, it pays to put them in storage while your home is on the market. Cluttered and overfilled homes tend not to show as well as those with more streamlined furnishings.
Organize the necessities
What you can’t get rid of or store—those pesky necessities of life that keep your home operating smoothly—organize! That way, when your real estate professional calls, your home is ready to show at a moment’s notice.
If you’re getting ready to buy a home, you know it will be one of the most significant purchases of your entire life. However, are you fully prepared for all of the expenses that buying a home will bring? You don’t want to buy a house to find out that you can’t afford it after all.
Many expenses go into buying a home that you can plan for ahead of time. Other costs aren’t as exact that you will need to add in your budget. Read on to learn more about many of the expenses that throw first-time home buyers for a loop.
Closing costs encompass a whole bunch of expenses that you’ll incur buying a home. These include:
- Application fees
- Attorney fees
- Title insurance
- Recording fees
No matter what the closing costs include, you should plan for these expenses to be about 2-5 percent of the price of your home. Costs can vary widely, but it’s good to have a bit of extra cash on hand.
Maintaining Your Home
While most homebuyers are prepared for the initial costs of buying a home, they don't know how much it costs to maintain a home. Each year, things will come up on your property that needs to be addressed continually. These tasks include:
These routine tasks are independent of other costs like replacing a stove or fixing a furnace. Homeowners need to be prepared for these expenses as well.
Taxes can increase or decrease for any given year. You can lookup taxes in the area where you’re planning to buy a home in order to prepare yourself. You should make sure that your property taxes are comparable with that of other homes in your area.
Utilities are what your home runs on. Depending on the climate you live in the number of utilities you pay can vary. Take into account these things:
- Air conditioning
Most neighborhoods have one or two choices for services, so you can ask people in the neighborhood what providers they [refer and how much their bills are each month.
You’re required to have homeowner’s insurance when you get a mortgage. Even if you don’t take out a mortgage and pay cash for a home, it’s a wise decision to protect your investment. Estimate how much a yearly policy will cost you ahead of time.
This insurance will protect your property from things like theft and fire. You can shop around for the best rates based on policies that suit your needs. It’s easy to price out policies online. See where you can save including discounts for security systems or multiple policy discounts.
If you live in an area where floods or earthquakes are prevalent, you should be aware. You’ll find you need additional policies to cover damage in the event of these disasters. The most important thing about your homeowner’s insurance policy is that you check the details for all of the fine print.