How Upgrading Your Windows Can Save On Home Energy Costs

Windows aren’t usually high up on a homeowners list for repairs and improvements, but they should be! Upgrading your windows can increase curb appeal and have a direct impact on your monthly electric bill. As the summer months roll in, be sure that you don’t let the cold out of the house!

What is an Energy Efficient Window?

Energy-efficient windows will showcase the ENERGY STAR certified sticker on the window and may also have NFRC labels as well. Typically, these windows are not your single-pane options but will have at least two panes and may contain gas between them or other features.

Double or triple-paned windows offer a better u-flow and may have infrared treatment or not. There are also options for gas-filled windows where the gas, usually argon or krypton, will act as insulation. These gases are colorless, odorless, and non-toxic. Insulated windows ensure that either heat or cool air stays in or out depending on the season. It’s easier to keep your house at the ideal temperature.

A double-paned window may help homeowners move toward energy efficiency. However, if you’re in a northern climate, you might consider windows that allow in infrared light, which would help keep heat within the home. Other windows may have triple panes for their higher insulating capabilities.

How Else Can You Improve Window Efficiency?

You can improve your window efficiency without fully upgrading, although you should still opt for energy-efficient windows. These are many small things that contractors will do or suggest when installing energy-efficient windows. You can do some of these yourself or bring in a handyman to help out.

Use window treatments that block UV rays, or use a solar control film. Additionally, you can caulk or weatherstrips around all the windows to help reduce air leaks. Finally, you might think about adding exterior shade through an awning or overhang.

Should You Consider Replacing Your Windows?

Yes! Window replacements offer many benefits, and if you choose to use energy-efficient window replacements, you can directly impact your energy bill. With ENERGY STAR windows, you may even be able to access other benefits. Ultimately, these are better windows for your home and can help you lower the general costs of heating or cooling.  

Planning A Basement Finishing Project

How much space do you have, and what do you imagine for your basement? Many people purchase a home knowing that the basement has tons of opportunity, but it isn’t finished. You can change that and dramatically increase your living space within your home. Finished basements can serve as dens, home offices, bedrooms, and more.

Start By Assessing Your Space

Most people looking to furnish their basement aren’t planning to move plumbing or wiring. That’s good because you can create many high-functioning layouts that fit within your basement. Take stock of your space, measure your usable areas and get comfortable with exploring different layouts.

If the basement has substantial space, you may get the use of multiple rooms from the space. Evaluate your layouts and determine what would work best with the current plumbing and electrical configuration.

Schedule An Inspection

There are ways you can inspect your basement by laying down plastic sheeting, but it’s best to get a professional inspection. Testing for rot, the quality of the seal, ventilation, and the state of the floor joists are imperative.

A contractor can certainly help with an inspection, and many do them for free as a consultation. They can also help with permits and advice on scheduling or prioritizing repairs.  

Make Repairs

Few basements can pass a thorough inspection without needing some type of repair. You can schedule your repairs so that your basement goes through a gradual change or plan to do your repairs all at once.

Aside from repairs such as eliminating mold or fixing plumbing, you may need to make “repairs” to get your basement up to code or in a livable condition. For example, you may need to dig down and lower the floor if your basement doesn’t have the proper height clearance. Another example is insulating your pipes. These aren’t necessarily repairs because they’re often older or simply not updated.

Plan Your Walls and Get to Work

There are a few different ways to install walls in a basement, including interlocking panels or insulated stud walls. Once you decide on your flooring and wall materials, you can get started. Lay down your plans, and put up your walls.

Ceiling Options for Basements

There are many different ways and options to finish your basement ceilings; you can go for a more rustic look by simply spray painting the joists and boards, or you can get your contractor to install sheetrock for good sound proofing, but one of the most popular choices is to install a drop ceiling, or suspended ceiling. The benefit of getting a drop ceiling installed for your basement is that you can hide any pipes and wires nicely, and also easily access them when needed since a drop ceiling is installed as tiles with a metal framework that supports them. So when necessary you can take out a tile or two and perform the repairs, and replace those tiles when done.

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