How to Keep Your Home Energy Efficient

One of the concerns among homeowners lately is making their homes as energy efficient as possible. Doing so is not only good for the environment by conserving our natural resources, but it can lower your heating and cooling bills as well. Here are a few things you can do to keep your home as energy efficient as possible.

Improve your lighting. Skylights are placed on your home’s ceilings to allow natural light into your room. This allows you to use less artificial lighting, which will save you money on your electric bill and save energy as well. Another option in regards to lighting is to replace your incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. These save ¾ of the electricity used by the regular bulbs and last much longer, too.

Improve your water system. There are a few ways to improve the hot water situation in your home. Installing low-flow, energy efficient fixtures in your shower or bath is a very simple upgrade. You can also turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting. Lastly, insulating your water lines will prevent them from cooling down as quickly between uses.

Practice proper ventilation. It’s commonly known that hot air rises, so in warmer months opening a few windows will release the heat and cool down your home without the use of air conditioning or central air.

Install the proper insulation. To keep your home warm during colder months and cooler during warmer months, it’s important to have quality insulation. Insulation slows the rate that heat flows in and out of your house. Speak to a professional about which type will work best for your home and watch as you have to use your heating units less and less.

Try solar heating. Although it’s certainly not for everyone, solar heating is an eco-friendly option. The solar heating panels collect the sun’s heat and transfer it to a collector or directly into your home. This is a great way to take advantage of sunny weather and reduce your carbon footprint.

Check doors and windows. Old windows and doors may need to be replaced if they are old or leaky. There are a variety of more energy-efficient windows on the market today if you are looking to completely replace them. If not, checking for any cracks or gaps can help prevent air from coming in and out. The same goes for your doors- make sure to check the bottom, top and sides for any drafts. Any open spots should be caulked so they are airtight.

Change filters. Something that is often forgotten about is changing the filters. You should periodically change the filters on your furnace and air conditioner, for example. This will keep the machines clean and running smoothly and more efficiently.

Prepare Your Home for the Winter Season

Fall is the perfect time to start planning and preparing your home for the upcoming winter season. With winter comes significantly cooler temperatures and poor weather conditions (snow, ice and freezing rain). This affects your water systems, heating systems and your home’s energy efficiency. Preparing a few months ahead of time is the best way to plan for a disaster before it happens and keep your home and family safe. Here are a few ways you can prepare your home for the winter season.

Update your water systems. Winterizing your water systems is an important task that most homes require in some form. These water systems that should be dealt with include faucets, sprinkler systems and pools. A home in a mild climate may not need their faucets to be dealt with, however colder regions may need some attention. In this case, shut off the water system and then pull off any attachments. Open up drain valve and leave the faucet in the open position for the winter season. For your sprinkler system, turn off the automatic timers first. Then open the pressure valves and drain out water from any section that might freeze. Lastly, if you have a pool you will need to do a few things. This includes removing any loose parts, lowering the water level and draining the pumping system.

Check windows and doors for drafts. In order to keep your heating bill from going off the charts, it’s important to check your windows and doors for drafts. Make sure that the edges of windows and doors are properly sealed and that the caulking has no cracks, gaps or holes. If they do, seal them with new caulking.

Inspect and clean your fireplace. In the warmer months, fireplaces are rarely used. Once winter rolls around and the temperatures begin to cool down, it becomes a frequently-used item in the home. During the fall, you should inspect and clean out your fireplace to make sure there is no build-up of debris. This debris, creosote, builds up and could start a chimney fire when you least expect it. Wood and gas fireplaces should also be swept once a year before winter and inspected as a precaution. This is also a great time to check for any cracks in the brick or mantle and have those repaired as well. Lastly, clean up any smoke marks or discoloration for a nice and clean appearance.

Inspect your furnace. Having a professional come in to service your furnace before winter is a very smart idea. They will clean various parts, check for carbon monoxide leaks and make sure that everything is running smoothly. Every few months you should change the air filters to keep the furnace clean year-round.

Library Ladders

rolling library ladder

A simple way to add functionality and style to any room in your home is with a rolling ladder. The purpose of a rolling ladder is to access those hard-to-reach places with ease. An added bonus is that the ladders provide a classy look to your home and can become the main attraction of your room.

There are so many uses for rolling ladders, so there’s no need to doubt that they will work in your home. One of the most popular uses is for a library ladder. Not only will this help you reach books on the highest shelves, but it also offers an expensive and elegant look. Even though a library is usually the first place that pops in your mind, there are other common uses for these rolling ladders. These include using one in your wine cellar to reach your finest vino, in a bathroom to reach guest’s towels and toiletries, in a closet to access stored clothing or even in a kitchen or pantry to reach for canned goods or pots and pans.

They allow you to reach all those items that you have stored higher up in order to optimize your storage space- something that is crucial to most homeowners.

One of the many features of these rolling library ladders is their ability to be customized. When selecting a ladder, you get to choose from your favorite type of wood, shade of finish, type of upper guides and style of ladder wheels. These options allow you to find the ladder that matches perfectly with your home’s style and décor. Popular finishes for the hardware include antique brass, bronze and satin nickel, while popular wood choices include oak, maple and cherry.

It’s important to make sure your ladder is properly installed for the safety of you and your family. It’s best to have a professional install the ladder to prevent any accidents from happening. Make sure everything is properly measured and that the space of the room is taken into account when ordering your ladder. After all of this, just customize the aesthetic to your liking and you have a new addition to your home.

The Finishing Touch for a Library

If the kitchen is traditionally the woman’s focal point of a perfect house, the library is the man’s. And it is not just lawyers who have a wall full of bookshelves from floor to ceiling.

Both a design element and a functional necessity, the rolling ladder can be simple wood in simple styles or it can be an antique brass or bronze highlighted masterpiece. Either way, it makes it easy, and safe, to access top shelves when a foot stool is either too short or too unsteady. The rolling library ladder can also add functionality to large closets, wine cellar, kitchens and pantries, or even to access lofts; anywhere you want to reach those out-of-the-way places. And remember that a man’s library can also have that hidden flat screen TV; it can still be a “man cave” only with a touch more class than the norm.

Remember, though, that a ladder is only as good as its base and its hardware; buy the proper mounting hardware and install it properly, or have it professionally done. And, along that same line of thought, remember that a ladder is never ornamental, or “just for show” … even if you know it is not really meant for climbing, will all the guests who visit your library?

When you think of that perfect finishing touch for the library or access to any high location, the rolling ladder is the perfect accessory. And remember that Custom Service Hardware is here to help!

Thanks, as always.

Ken, for CSHardware

Your First Tool Kit in a New Home

When it comes to having a household tool kit, it is all about getting started and starting with quality.

Unless you are a self-certified handyman around the house, and if you are this discussion is probably of no value, you are interested in doing that list of little things, or handling an emergency until the cavalry arrives. The big things, planned or unplanned, you’ll have the professional or that trusted family/friend handle! So what tools do you need to start with? Continue reading “Your First Tool Kit in a New Home”

Is your Home Door Properly Secure?

Proper home security is, as with many things, in the eye of the beholder – whether the beholder is the good guy on the inside or the bad guy on the outside. One thing all the experts agree on: All exterior doors should be fortified, especially secluded doors. You can do simple things as a home is being build or remodeled. There are fortified door knob adapter plates and door reinforcers, or strike plates and latch guards. With existing doors, you can add dead bolts, latches and guards – and for windows and sliding glass doors, you can easily add patio and window locks. Continue reading “Is your Home Door Properly Secure?”