With the holidays right around the corner, it is safe to say that the majority of families across the Upstate are in the process of planning celebrations for their guests, as well as many homeowners planning last-minute DIY home projects.
According to HUD and the U.S. Census Bureau, these homeowner do-it-yourself (DIY) projects account for nearly 40 percent of all home remodeling projects. While they may look manageable at first, many homeowners fail to consider the “real” cost of their project.
Remodeling can be complex and full of surprises, even for experts like an Approved Professional Remodeler. It is therefore important to take into account the hidden costs, safety risks and time delays before attempting a DIY home improvement project. Before beginning, please consider the following:
Although many products purchased for the DIY market are designated by a name brand, they are not always the same quality available to contractors. It is also important to verify the terms of the product warranty since many warranties are voided by improper installation.
Without the proper training and preparation, a DIYer can, and has, landed in the emergency room. Unfamiliarity with new tools and techniques can lead to life-threatening accidents. A good rule of thumb for any homeowner is to avoid projects that require a license or require you to change the structure of walls, roofs and floors.
Troubleshooting unexpected issues often takes more time and expertise than originally planned. Hiring a professional will ensure that you have a contract with a completion date and that the Approved Professional Remodeler will bring the necessary help to finish the job on time.
DIY projects should be rewarding and fun, but if your project can’t be completed in the planned price range or your safety is at risk, leave the work in the hands of the professionals.
Whether you are turning up the heat or turning on the holiday lights, energy usage tends to increase greatly during the winter. However, there are many ways to stay warm while using less energy this holiday season. Here are a few simple tips to get you started.
Don’t Heat an Empty Home
If your home will be empty during this winter, adjust your thermostat to limit wasted heat. While you can manually do this each day, there is also a programmable smart thermostat that can automatically keep your house cozy and save energy when everyone is away.
In fact, there are many new thermostat models that can keep track of how much you would save based on your region, size of home and heating type. In many cases, this investment results in significant savings.
Control the Air Flow
By sealing air leaks in your home, you can cut your monthly energy bill by 10 percent. The use of caulk to seal any cracks or small openings on surfaces such as where window frames meet the house structure is another good way to reduce your monthly bill. It is also smart to check your home’s weather-stripping and replace the ones that are deteriorated or cracked.
Sealing windows and doors will help, but the worst culprits are cutouts for pipes or wires, gaps around recessed lights and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets. The materials needed to fill those gaps can be found at your local Lowe’s Home Improvement Center.
Use Energy-Efficient Holiday Lights
During this time of year, holiday lights, especially when left on, contribute greatly to your home’s energy consumption. Fortunately, there are now energy-efficient options for holiday lights, which last much longer than traditional ones. Wouldn’t it be nice if you had fewer burnt out lights to chase during the holidays, in addition to using less energy?
Seek Professional Help
The best way to know exactly what will reduce your home’s overall energy consumption is to hire a professional energy auditor to evaluate your home and identify any inefficiencies.