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If you are looking to do tasks that will give you the best return on investment then you should check out this great Home Remodeling list. It has over 50 projects that you can do that will save you money, energy and the environment.
Start with an energy audit as stated previously. Many utility companies provide this for free. If not, you should be able to find one for $200-$300 and it's well worth the money. You will earn this investment back. You should have a blower door test done, which will tell you the leakiness of the home. Your air changes per hour (ACH) should be at about 1/3 per hour (that's recommended under ASHRAE 62). If it's less than that, fantastic! But you would need mechanical ventilation. Never let anyone tell you that the house needs to breathe (from unknown sources). You want to control that breathing with mechanical ventilation.During the blower door test, the rater should be able to show you where the home is leaking. You may be surprised. That will direct you where to put that caulk, and not just be guessing where.They should also have an infrared imaging camera. During the blower door test (while the home is depressurized) they can go room to room and determine leaks, and heat/cold conduction.They should also be able to do a duct blaster test. If you have forced air furnace for heating or cooling, this will tell you how leaky the duct work in the home is, and you can address those areas as well.What all that will do for you is to give you a blueprint of which areas to focus your attention on. Then after that, have the home retested to see how much you've tightened the home up.
bungalowMo,Love how you restored the windows...we bought and sold a century old home after 15 years...wish we had thought of this. We ended up replacing with crappy vinyl windows and then they never fit right because nothing is square any longer. How beautiful!
In 1997 all my windows (including two huge sliding glass patio doors) were replaced with Sears colonial style triple-panes with inert gas between each layer. The cost for my home was $15,000. I have never regretted this purchase as my home remains comfortable year-round, and my energy costs are reasonable considering I maintain 73 degrees in the summer and 75-80 degrees in the winter.Triple-pane windows are heavy (with sliding doors so heavy they could theoretically crush someone like a pancake if they fell) so make absolutely sure you get experts to assess the strength of your residential structure and install the windows correctly. Sears did a good job, as evidenced after 13 years use (with only very minor stress cracks on the paint around the rims of the kitchen windows which is barely noticeable).Classy colonial style windows truly truss up a home!
One of the most beneficial solutions for retrofitting a home for more energy efficiency is to improve attic insulation. Heat rises, and escapes thru poorly insulated ceilings. Do-it-yourselfers can rent an insulation blower for free from most home improvement stores with the purchase of the cellulose insulation. Use caution not to blow the insulation over the walls into the vented spaces near the eaves of the home. Also, many homes can benefit from better attic ventilation, where summertime heat can act to raise radiant ceiling temperatures in many homes.Best regards,Matt Evans, REALTOR Valparaiso, Indiana
Karen wrote:"Of course, windows, insulation, and an updated heating system is where a homeowner can save the most upon investment!"I don't agree that new windows are the answer. Do you have any idea how long it takes to recoup a $15k (as mentioned previously) window installation? Trust me, you won't live that long.I do agree that insulation & heating maintenance are key, but the push for replacements is all about the profit for the company doing the installation.If any of you have an older home (and I mean 1930's & older) and you still have the original windows, do yourself a favor & find a local architectural restoration business & they will be more than happy to do this for you for 1/3 of the cost of replacements & you will be saving the original history of your home too.If we continue to "replace" historic structures, there will be no history left. It will all fall apart. There is a lot of truth in the saying "They just don't make things like they used to"!
....she decends from her soapbox...
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