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Prepare Your Home for Cold Weather

Posted on May 15, 2014 by Jon Hill
Homes using natural gas and electricity for heat will both see significant increases in heating costs, as high as 13 percent, from last year, according to the U. S. Department of Energy. Being proactive and taking steps to prepare your house for the winter will help lower your utility bills, increase efficiency and ultimately protect your investment. From window maintenance to furnace inspection, learn what you need to do in order to thoroughly prepare your home.

“Preparing your home for harsh winter weather doesn’t only include having a working heater,” says Jon Hill, general manager of Hill & Company. “There are some key actions you can take around your home to combat cold weather and even save money.”

Hill & Company, a locally-owned heating, ventilation and air conditioning maintenance and installation company, is offering the following tips to make sure your home is prepared for winter weather.

Check smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. It is recommended that smoke alarm batteries be replaced twice a year, and if your smoke alarm is between five and 10 years old, it should be replaced. Make sure there is at least one alarm on each level of your house, and one near each bedroom. The same placement recommendations go for carbon monoxide detectors, as well. Try to keep both detectors away from gas appliances and fireplaces, as each give off small amounts of carbon monoxide when first turned on and could trigger a false alarm.
Make your home airtight. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that 10 percent of air that leaks from a house exits through the windows. Do a thorough visual inspection of the exterior and caulk window frames with gaps wider than a nickel to reduce air leakage. Use weather stripping around exterior doors to prevent cold air entering the home. Lastly, check for gaps around any pipes and fill them in with foam sealant or caulk.
Maintain your furnace properly. Enlist a licensed HVAC professional to do a thorough inspection of your furnace to ensure the system is clean and functioning properly. Purchase enough filters to last through the winter and change them monthly. Furnaces operating with clogged filters won’t operate as efficiently, causing energy bills to rise.
Add insulation. Just like anything else, insulation deteriorates over time, becoming less efficient at retaining your home’s cold air. Do a visual check of your attic and evaluate the need for added insulation. Experts recommend roughly 12 inches of insulation in all areas.
Check for old pilots. Be sure to know what type and how old your furnace is. Many older systems have standing pilots that can only be checked and repaired by a professional. It may even need to be completely replaced. If you have a loved one who is elderly, there is a chance they might be using one of these older systems. Remind them to have a professional check their system, as they may be unable to do repairs themselves.
About Hill & Co.
Established in 1967, Hill & Company is Oklahoma’s premier heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) company. Located in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, they are a family owned and operated company dedicated to customer service and the highest standards. Hill & Company services all brands of plumbing, heating and air conditioning equipment and proudly stand behind Trane equipment, a world leader in air conditioning systems. Hill & Company has earned the designation of Trane Comfort Specialist.

The Murdock Team

As builders and now as Realtors too, we have years of experience. We look at homes in different ways. We point out the extras the builder put into the home and the cost and benefits. When we list a home that is years old we notice things that have been updated to todays standards. This shows the buyer that the home owner cared about their home. We also make recommendations for the home seller to improve their home. This helps to sell faster, make more money and also repair items so inspections will go smoother. We have all the phone numbers and contacts for contractors. We try to make your buying and selling experience easier. We walk you through step by step and answer your questions. This is our job and we take it to heart.
If you want to have a home custom built we can sell your home and build your new one.
Call us let us know how we can help you 405-757-1962.

Home Improvement Can Make or Break the Sale

When preparing to sell a home it makes sense that you are going to want to tidy things up a bit. Sure there are the occasional, “do it yourselfers”, out there who are looking for a ,”fixer upper”. But more often than not potential buyers are starting families, have careers or are just looking for that place to call home for the autumn years of their lives.

A little home improvement can go a long way to keeping potential buyers in the front door. But how much is too much. What’s worth the time, effort and expense.
First step is to give the home a one over from the perspective of a buyer. Maybe invite some friends for an outside opinion. Be reasonable not, “critical”, however. Stressing over every detail can be more of a headache than its worth. Remember that you lived in this home. And buyers know that homes are lived in.

Things to Consider

A fresh coat of paint in some areas; the kitchen, the bathroom, the bedrooms give those areas a fresh feeling without much expense.
Sometimes homeowners over the years may have modified the landscape to fit their taste. You might consider returning it to a more uniform standard that fits the rest of the neighborhood a bit.
And finally of course, patching up wear and tear.
Living in a home for several years, things tend to get broken, dented, scuffed. And you might not even notice it. “Face it, you live there”.

Brad Officer, a Re/MAX real estate agent in Jacksonville, Fla., says sellers shouldn’t overlook the garage. “Have the floors painted with garage floor epoxy. It’s amazing how many people comment on a clean crisp garage with a painted floor.”

He adds that removing the window screen and cleaning the frames can also boost curb appeal. “Most window screens darken a home and trap dirt. Removing them and cleaning all windows before the home has been photographed will give it a much brighter appearance, inside and out.”
Inside the home, there are numerous improvement projects of varying price tags that can speed up the selling process.

Things You Might Want To Avoid

Some homeowners might consider upgrading the kitchen. This is not entirely a bad idea. People like using the latest appliances. But upgrade a few of the essentials at a reasonable expense.
“A big mistake a lot of home sellers make is they upgrade the kitchen thinking they will make so much more money on the house. But the rest of the house still needs upgrading or repairs,” says Michael Corbett, Trulia’s real estate expert. “Home sellers have to look at repairs as a whole rather than a sum of parts”, he says.

# Appliances REplace or REpair !?!?!

appliance-repairAt what time is it best to replace or repair an appliance. As for myself we try to keep and appliance going until there is no life left. This is not always the best way to go. Something age teaches you over time. Understand if I have a warranty on an appliance it will be fixed. However if to get an extended warranty cost almost as much as a new appliance forget it, I will buy new. Reasons for buying new 1. Age of Appliance . 2. What is really wrong with the Appliance can my husband fix it?? He is pretty good most of the time. 3. Do I need a repair person pay the trip charge then the repair. Trip charge range from $60 – $85 then add parts and time. At this time new starts to look pretty good. Depending on the item cost of old VS new. These are the typically life expectancy of appliances. Give or take!
Refrigerator: 15-19 years
Clothes Dryer: 13-14 years
Clothes Washer: 11-13 years
Range: Electric 12 years Gas 13 years
Water Heater: Electric 14 years Gas 11-13 years
What I have found out, the newer appliance are for the most part more Energy efficient this is the pro the con is they seem to take more time to clean. My examples are the washer and a energy efficient dishwasher. So I plan my schedule accordingly. The newer item my washer has more buttons to chose from and it chimes when I change setting. I am sure my grandmother would have loved it.

Thank you for your time. When you think of buying a new or an existing home. Please think of me, Colette Murdock 405-642-3481 I am with Keller Williams.
Information provided in this blog from my good friends at Hill & Company 405-949-5555 www.TopAHill.com