remodel

8 Tips to Make Your Remodel More Energy-Efficient and Your Home Healthier

January 2013 Blog 2

As long as you’re remodeling, why not cut your utility bills and make your home a bit healthier too?
Here are eight tips that can help save energy and create a healthier environment inside your home.

Check for water intrusion, condensation and excess moisture before you begin the project.
Excess moisture encourages mold growth. Fixing those issues during remodeling can improve your home’s indoor air quality.

Use the least amount of framing allowed by your building code when adding walls
Not only will you have to pay for less lumber, the contractor will have more room to put insulation in your walls, making your home more energy-efficient.

Resist the urge to splurge on multiple showerheads
Opt for a single low-flow showerhead rather than installing a car wash-style plethora of showerheads.

Add new HVAC ducts to parts of your home that are heated and cooled
Try not to place ducts in a space with unconditioned air (like the attic). If that’s not possible, insulate the ducts. Have an HVAC diagnostician analyze your system to make sure it’s sized correctly and balanced to properly exchange old and new air.

Insulate around recessed lights that protrude into uninsulated attic spaces
These are major sources of air leaks.

If you’re wasting water, you’re wasting energy
Look at high-efficiency or solar water heaters, and insulate your water pipes. If you want hot water faster, move the water heater closer to the faucet or install demand pumps to drive hot water to the fixture.

Install wall-mounted efficiency toggle switch plates
Install wall-mounted efficiency toggle switch plates to make it easy to cut off the power to electronics you’re not using such as your television and computer.

Install a humidistat that automatically turns on the bathroom fan
Reducing bathroom moisture reduces the chances that you’ll have mold.

Should you move or remodel?

Deciding whether you should move or remodel is a big decision. The most important things you need to consider, before you make this decision, are the four things you can’t change: 

*Your home’s value compared to the rest of the neighborhood
* How much you love your neighborhoodThe size of your lot
* The cost to move your stuff to a new house 

Just about everything else — remodeling costs, the hassle of living in a construction zone, or the ability to live happily without one more bathroom — is a personal preference.

 1. Will remodeling make your home better than everyone else’s?

To make the right move-or-remodel decision, you have to know:                      

*Your home’s value. Easy. Just ask a Realtor® to estimate it and tell you how it compares with the value of the other homes in your immediate neighborhood. Ask your Realtor® what your house will be worth after the improvements too.

*Your neighbors’ home value. Hit some open houses. Seeing the inside of area homes will inspire you; help you make good choices about finishes, room sizes, and how much to spend; and, admit it, entertain you.

*Your remodeling costs. Once you’ve got your renovation vision, get a quote from a home improvement contractor or, if you’re remodeling it yourself, tally the costs of the items on your supplies shopping list.

 *Then add the remodeling costs to the value of your home. If the number you get is more than 10% above the average value of homes in your neighborhood, you’re over-improving and probably won’t be able to sell for what you put into the remodel.

 2. Do you love where you live?

Want to keep your kids in the same school district, but can’t find or afford a bigger, better house? Love the neighbors? Have an easy commute to work? Stay put. If you’ve soured on the traffic, the neighborhood’s crime rate, or the nosy neighbors, move on. 

3. Do you have room to expand?

If your remodeling plans include increasing the overall size of your home, the size of your lot may be the deciding factor in whether to move or remodel. If you live in a 1,500 sq. ft. ranch on a 3,000 sq. ft. lot, you might be able to add a second story to turn it into a 3,000 sq. ft. two-story, but you’re not likely to add 1,500 sq. ft. at ground level. And if you have a septic tank and well, the location of those will limit how and where you add onto your home (or cost you a bundle to move).

 4. Can you afford to move?

Consider these moving costs: closing costs for your existing home, shipping your household goods, buying window treatments and possibly furniture for the new house, costs to fix up your existing home before the sale, higher utility costs (if your next house is larger), insurance cost differences, and property taxes.

 For help with making the final decision on whether to move or remodel, contact your local Realtor®.