Tag Archives: interior

10 Fall Home Maintenance Tips That Will Slash Your Energy Bill

The two “extreme temperature” seasons – winter and summer – are the ones that tend to cost homeowners the most when it comes to their energy bills. In winter, homeowners use their heating systems more often, and that’s a major reason why their energy consumption goes up.

However, it’s crucially important to evaluate how well your home retains heat once you’ve spent the time and money to warm it up. That’s why most fall home maintenance tips that will slash your energy bill are aimed at improving your home’s energy efficiency.

10 Fall Home Maintenance Tips That Will Slash Your Energy Bill, by Mid-Atlantic Home Improvement

Use These Winning Strategies to Reduce Home Energy Costs This Fall

Here are 10 proven ways to make small changes and fixes around your home that can add up to big energy savings:

  • Install a programmable thermostat. These inexpensive devices allow you to create custom home heating programs that warm your home to precise levels at peak times while saving energy when extra warmth isn’t needed. And remember, for every degree you lower the thermostat during the heating season, you’ll save between 1 and 3% of your heating bill.
  • Add/upgrade insulation in key areas (including attics, basement ceiling, exterior walls and around electrical sockets) can help reduce your heating costs by keeping a more warm air inside the home and inhibiting thermal transfer. Attics, basements, and walls adjacent to your home’s exterior should all be carefully checked to make sure they’re adequately insulated. If they’re not, valuable heat will just leak right through.
  • Check your caulking and weather-stripping. Cold air seeping in and warm inside air leaking out accounts for major energy waste – simple leaks can sap home energy efficiency by 5% to 30% a year. Weatherizing your home seals off drafty areas around doors and window frames, where cold air can leak in and warm air can escape. Seal off drafty doors with rubber strips, or install new storm doors to help energy efficiency.
  • Tune up your heating system. Annual furnace tune-ups keep your heating equipment running as efficiently as possible, which means they do a better job of generating warmth while using less energy. Replace filters monthly during heating season – dirty filters restrict airflow and increase energy demand. Replacing them regularly will improve your furnace’s efficiency and longevity saving your money along the way. Have a licensed technician perform a check of your furnace to make sure it’s operating as efficiently and safely as possible and is equal to the challenge of keeping your home warm all winter. Keeping your furnace clean, lubricated and properly adjusted will reduce energy use, saving up to 5% of heating costs.
  • Seal cracks, gaps and leaks. Fireplaces, ridge vents, electrical outlets, light fixtures, eaves, ducts, fans, vents, and wall penetrations for plumbing infrastructure are all common culprits when it comes to cracks, gaps, and leaks. Check these areas and seal the leaks. You could cut your home’s energy usage by as much as 10 percent.
  • Dial down your water heater. By default, water heaters are usually set to 140 degrees. That’s far hotter than you’re ever likely to need, and it also creates a safety hazard. Instead, dial it back to 120 degrees to save 6 to 10 percent on your water heating costs. You can also wrap water heaters and exposed indoor pipes that transport hot water with insulation to help prevent any energy loss.
  • Use window treatments strategically. Thick curtains create an added barrier that traps warmth in your home during the winter, just as they ward off heat gain during the summer.
  • Upgrade your windows and doors. Energy Star-rated windows and doors can also go a long way toward inhibiting heat transfer. If your windows and doors are old, thin, and drafty, chances are it will make more financial sense to replace them.
  • Change the direction of your ceiling fans. Make sure your ceiling fans are set to rotate clockwise during winter. This will push warm air down, helping it circulate through the lower reaches of the room more easily. Changing the direction of your ceiling fans will circulate the air pooled near the ceiling back down – cutting your heating costs as much as 10%. Try out this tip in rooms with high ceilings and you’ll see a major difference without adjusting the thermostat even a single degree.
  • Get a home energy audit. This is the most comprehensive way to get a complete view of where you should focus on making improvements. Home energy audits, as conducted by professionals, detail exactly how and exactly where energy is being used – and wasted.

Most of these tasks can be completed in just a short time, and many don’t require any specialized knowledge or advanced DIY skills. However, for best results, leave the demanding tasks to certified local professionals. The small investment you make today can add up to sustained savings tomorrow, and for many winters to come.

If you need help preparing your home for winter, call Mid-Atlantic Home Improvement. We are a family owned and operated Virginia home improvement contractor with over 40 years of experience.

Call (804) 647-0649 or (800) 852-4142 or Request Your Free Quote below

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In the Aftermath of a Flood: 9 Mold Damage Remediation Tips

Flooding is one of the major causes of mold damage, and any mold in your home must be promptly addressed as it can pose serious health hazards.

Mold feeds on microorganisms that are invisible to the naked eye, as well as many materials that are commonly used in construction. Thus, it is practically impossible to stop them by eliminating their food sources.

Rather, the key to successful remediation is to remove the water sources mold relies on to grow and spread.

In the Aftermath of a Flood: 9 Mold Damage Remediation Tips

In the Aftermath of a Flood: 9 Mold Damage Remediation Tips

Getting Rid of Mold After a Flood

Here are nine helpful tips, curated from professional remediators, to help guide you if you’ve got a mold problem as the result of a flood:

  • Wear an N-95 respirator as you work, along with goggles. These items will ensure you don’t breathe in mold spores, or have them come in contact with your eyes.
  • Begin by addressing all plumbing leaks and problematic plumbing fixtures. You need to take care of any and all water problems in your home before tackling the mold. That means getting the flooded area fixed up and dried out.
  • Remove all water-saturated items from the area affected by the flooding and dry them thoroughly. It’s best to hang-dry such items outside, if possible.
  • Use a mixture of detergent and water to remove mold from buildups from hard surfaces. Be sure to wear protective rubber gloves so the detergent and water solution doesn’t irritate your skin as you work. Once you’re done, dry the affected areas using fans and dehumidifiers.
  • If you have mold buildups in porous materials or materials that absorb water, you will likely have to throw them out. This advice applies to items like ceiling panels, curtains, drapes, and carpets. Mold can easily spread into the empty pockets in such items, making it virtually impossible to eliminate.
  • Never apply caulking or paint to surfaces that still have live mold on them. Not only will these compounds fail to solve the underlying mold problem, but they will also crack and peel if the mold isn’t removed first.
  • Valuable items and items with sentimental value should be cleaned by an expert. If possible, consult a professional with specialized expertise, such as a furniture repair, art restoration, or carpet cleaning specialist.
  • Check carefully for signs of mold near your home’s HVAC vents and intake points. If mold has contaminated your home’s air circulation system, the spores could spread throughout your home and create a much bigger problem.
  • Mold buildups caused by sewage leaks or floods involving contaminated water require special considerations. Most inexperienced lay people do not have the skills or equipment to address these types of problems, so if this case applies to you, your first step should be to call in a pro.

Call Professionals For Help

While minor cases of mold growth can be addressed in DIY fashion, extensive or severe situations are best left to professionals. It can be difficult and dangerous to your health to attempt to undertake major mold repairs yourself, so if you’re unsure of how to proceed or encounter any setbacks along the way, your next move should be to contact an experienced mold removal contractor.

If you need help restoring your home after a flood, call Mid-Atlantic Home Improvement. We are a family owned and operated Virginia home improvement contractor with over 40 years of experience. Whether you need mold removal or water damage handled, we’re here to help!

Call (804) 647-0649 or (800) 852-4142 or Request Your Free Quote below

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10 Fall Maintenance Tasks You Should Start in Summer

DIY experts say fall and spring are the two major home maintenance seasons, with the former being especially important – if you overlook your autumn maintenance tasks, you risk leaving your home vulnerable to the many problems that wild winter weather can bring. These problems can be very expensive to repair, to say nothing of the inconveniences they can cause.

The smart move is to get a jump on your fall maintenance during the summer, when the days are still long and the weather warm.

10 Fall Maintenance Tasks You Should Start in Summer by Mid-Atlantic Home Improvement

Get Started in Summer with These Essential Fall Home Maintenance Tasks

Here are 10 high-priority fall maintenance tasks you should start during the summertime:

  • Inspect your roof. Check your roof carefully for signs of wear and tear, like missing or damaged shingles. If you don’t feel comfortable climbing onto your roof, grab a pair of binoculars and use them to inspect all visible parts of your roof from a distance. Or call a roofer.
  • Service your furnace. Have a professional technician come in and perform seasonal heating system maintenance. Most home heating specialists aren’t busy in summer, meaning it should be easy to book an appointment. Your furnace will run more reliably and economically if it’s properly serviced, so this is an investment that can pay dividends.
  • Clean your chimney. If you’ve got a fireplace, now is the time to make sure the remnants of last winter’s fires are all cleared out. It’s also a good idea to get a head start on restocking your firewood, especially if you cut it yourself.
  • Insulate exposed pipes. Pipe bursts are one of the most feared wintertime home mishaps, as they are a nightmare to clean up after. A key way to avoid them is to insulate your exposed pipes so trapped water won’t freeze and cause a burst.
  • Prune your bushes and trees. Well-trimmed trees, shrubs and hedges don’t just look better – they also grow better in the long run. By pruning now, you’ll give them the advantage of continued health through the rest of the growing season and put them in great shape to come back strong next year.
  • Check your snow removal gear. Is your snow blower functioning properly? Are all your snow shovels in ship-shape and ready for another winter? Now is the time to find out.
  • Check your weatherstripping. Quality, properly applied weatherstripping adds a vital layer of protection around windows and doors, helping keep heat inside during the winter. Give yours an upgrade before fall arrives, since you never quite know when you’ll need to turn your heat on for the first time.
  • Clear your gutters. You’ll need to do this again in the late fall to clear out autumn’s remnants, but a preliminary cleaning effort now will make that task less time-consuming.
  • Measure your slope. If you haven’t done so in a while, check your property’s grade rate to make sure it is adequately sloped to guide water away from your home when the snow melts in springtime. Erosion can affect property grading over time, so if it’s been a few years, you’re better safe than sorry.
  • Check your detectors. Make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in good working order and have fresh batteries. During the winter, your windows are closed and your combustion appliances are on more often. That’s part of the reason it’s especially important to make sure your CO2 detector is functioning properly.

Take care of these tasks while the weather is still warm and sunny and your home will be in great shape heading toward winter.

If you need help preparing your home for winter, call Mid-Atlantic Home Improvement. We are a family owned and operated Virginia home improvement contractor with over 40 years of experience. Whether you need your furnace serviced, gutters repaired, or water damage handled, we’re here to help!

Call (804) 647-0649 or (800) 852-4142 or Request Your Free Quote below

Let Us Handle Your Next Project

Get your no-obligation quote!