BPT—The winter months mean celebrating the holidays, reconnecting with family and friends and planning your resolutions for the New Year. They can also mean a sharp increase to your monthly heating bill in order to stay warm and comfortable. If you’re interested in controlling your energy expenses while maintaining comfort, the tips below will help you make sure more of your money is put towards presents than power.
* Close the doors to rooms that are not in use. Most of us remember to turn off the lights in a room we’re not using but we rarely shut the door. And we end up wasting energy because of it. Don’t waste heat on rooms that aren’t in use. Instead, close those doors and allow the heat to circulate within a smaller area. Your furnace will have an easier time maintaining the temperature and you’ll notice the benefit on your energy bill.
* Invest in a heat pump. Some rooms are simply too important to keep the door closed all of the time. If it’s a child’s play area or your office, then chances are you’re looking for a way to add a little more heat. Investing in a duct-free heat pump system is the perfect solution.
* Check for cracks and gaps around windows and doors. Today’s homes are more airtight than ever before but there is still the potential for cold air to enter your home via your doors and windows. Inspect each of these openings and seal or insulate any gaps you find to prevent the loss of warm air. You should also check for cracks and gaps around the door to the attic and at any locations where outside pipes or cords enter your home.
* Cover your windows. Small cracks or gaps in your windows can create drafts and cold air hits your windows and leaves them cold to the touch, transferring those frigid temperatures inside. Prevent that cold from coming into your home by sealing your windows. This simple procedure takes only minutes and will have a dramatic effect on your heating bill. And don’t forget that heavy weight curtains can also help keep drafts out.
* Check your insulation. Many homes, especially older homes, are vulnerable to cold temperatures because they lack sufficient insulation. Insulation is commonly found in the attic but it also exists in any outer wall. If you are concerned your home may be poorly insulated, you can check the insulation levels yourself or you can hire a qualified home energy auditor who will check your insulation as part of his overall energy assessment.
The colder months are here but that doesn’t mean you have to feel it inside your own home. Prepare for winter with the tips included here and you’ll be ready to enjoy a warm and festive winter holiday season and winter.
Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2014. All rights reserved.
Some years it seems we have more than the usual amount of rain in the summer. Some years we can’t seem to get enough. Excess rain may give us greener lawns, however it is important to remember that the rain also ends up in the storm drainage system. Any fertilizers or pesticides people use for lawn care can wind up in the same storm drains, which eventually drain into our local waters. Excess nutrients from fertilizers and chemicals from pesticides can cause drinking water contamination, massive algae blooms, and affect the fish population.
Here are a few tips that may help to minimize the effect that fertilizers and pesticides have on our water resources:
- Fertilize sparingly – September is the best month to fertilize. Use a slow time-release fertilizer that is water insoluble, or has slowly -available soluble nitrogen.
- Follow the directions carefully, making sure to apply no more than one to two pounds of nitrogen per 1000 square feet of lawn.
- If using a lawn care company, ask about their environmental options.
- Mow the grass high and leave grass clippings on the lawn to help improve the quality of the lawn.
- Avoid using fertilizers or pesticides near wells or within 75 ft. of a waterway.
- Avoid applying fertilizers or pesticides when rain is predicted to help prevent the runoff into the storm drains.
- Try to hand pick weeds when possible, or spot treat. It is not always necessary to spray the entire lawn.
- Sweep the sidewalk and driveway if any lawn chemicals or yard debris gets on them. Anything on the pavement is more easily washed by storm water into the storm drains.
- For Green Gardening, less is better and will also save you money!
Written by Laura Iorio, REALTOR for Calcagni Associates.
On Saturday, May 9th, several of our agents and staff volunteered their time (and muscles!) to the first of 5 Habitat for Humanity Sleeping Giant “builds” at 40 Edgecomb Street, Hamden. The meetings for this charitable organization are held at our Calcagni Hamden office. Our hard-working, hammer-wielding crew, spent the day framing walls that will later be used on the site. For progress on the build, please visit: http://www.sleepinggiantbuild.org/
Today is the official first day of spring. Although the weather outside doesn’t really feel like it quite yet, we have been seeing signs of spring’s approach for weeks: Warmer days here and there, birds chirping, people taking walks outdoors, longer days – I love being done with my work day while it’s still light out! All these signs of spring seem to be having amazing effects on people’s moods, and their motivation to get outdoors, begin exercising more, plan for the warmer days to come. ..This past weekend I was visiting a friend at her home in Northford, and noticed some of the flowers in her yard beginning to poke their way out of the ground… I couldn’t resist snapping the above photo.
Happy Spring everyone!
Written by Camille Urbano, Relocation Coordinator, Calcagni Associates
Earlier this month I had a real estate counseling session with a young couple looking to purchase their first home and the term “PITI” came up in our conversation. We’ve all grown accustomed to asking our buyers to speak directly with a lender first to get “pre-qualified” for a mortgage and we’ve gotten away from having to explain this acronym, which stands for principal, interest, taxes and insurance. (PITI) Too often borrowers are convinced that they can afford a home based solely on principal and interest, but in reality, the true and correct cost of owning a home incorporates both of these things plus monthly property tax and monthly home hazard insurance payment. It’s important that our buyers understand this reality. Adjusting their expectations about the payment they can afford makes for a more realistic home search in a price range that is comfortable and much happier buyers!
Written by Mary L. Malin, ABR, CRS, GRI, REALTOR Calcagni Associates
Posted in Real Estate
Tagged Buyers, connecticut real estate, first time buyer, hazard insurance, home, home search, insurance, interest, mortgage, payment, PITI, pre-qualified, price range, principal, taxes