How to Know If You’ve Found the Right House

It’s normal to be cautious when you’re shopping for a home. After all, a house is a huge investment, and you’ll want to be sure that you’re making the best decision possible. How you’ll know that you’ve found the right property can vary by person. Some people have gut instincts. Others may need more convincing. Some indicators can tell you if you’ve found the right property for you.

It can be as simple as a strong tug because the place reminds you of another in your past where you felt happy, and you’ll realize that right off the cuff. But the tell—or tells—could be a bit more subtle.

    1. You feel defensive about the house. Maybe your agent points out a flaw or two or five and says, “There’s a stain in the kitchen sink” or “I’d update this, this, and this.” It could be a sign that you’re falling for the house if you find yourself getting defensive, sort of like the place is already yours. Just try to keep in mind how difficult (or not so difficult) it will be to remedy those flaws if you eventually find that you just can’t live with them.
    2. You want to go inside the house. Part of the excitement of looking at homes is not knowing which could be your new home when you pull up to the curb. Is it the one on the left, or does the place on the right strike your fancy? If it’s the house on the right and you like it better than the home on the left, that could be a sign. Something about this house appeals to you. First impressions are everything.
    3. You can’t wait to brag about it. Did you already snap a few photos and post them on Instagram? Did you text your mom about the house or hop on that group chat to tell your friends? You might have found the one if you’re feeling excitement after your first tour of the place.
    4. The house embraces you the moment you enter. You’ll know within about three seconds of entering whether the feels warm and comforting. Does it seem to speak to you? Does it invite you to explore? Does it feel like home? If so, it probably is.
    5. You don’t feel funny in the bathroom. Sometimes buyers feel so uncomfortable near a bathroom that they won’t walk into the room. They’ll stand outside, grab the door frame, and poke their heads in for a minute. This is your home if you walk into the bathroom and feel compelled to open the shower door or stroke the vanity marble.
    6. You begin to envision the furniture arrangement. This might be your house if you walk into the master bedroom and can immediately envision your bed against a particular wall. You’re already hooked if you find yourself thinking that the living room window is a perfect spot to put a tree come Christmas. Or maybe you can already see yourself driving up the street, heading home after a hard day at work. There’s a neighbor across the street throwing a frisbee to a dog, and it occurs to you that they might be people you’d like to know. Neighborhood counts as much as furniture placement.
    7. You want to stop looking at other homes. All the other homes you’ve been looking at no longer appeal to you. You compare each new property you visit to this one, and they’re not measuring up. The homes you had previously rated a “No. 2” have now fallen to a “No. 8” rating because they just pale in comparison to this one.
    8. You’re already planning to go back. If you got in the car, chatted with your spouse, and immediately planned your next visit to the property before you even left the driveway, you’re a goner. You want to see it at a different time of day or take your mom or best friend with you the next time. Ask your agent to send over the seller’s disclosures to make sure it’s in top condition. You should probably start discussing offers, too, because you’ve probably found your house.
    9. It checks the most important boxes. The property might not have every amenity on your want list, but it meets the basic requirements. It has the number of rooms and space you need. Maybe it doesn’t have a garage, and you realize in a flash of enlightenment that buying a house with a garage is really not that important after all. You realize you could build a garage if it turns out you really do want one. Sudden urges to be flexible are a good sign that you’re in the right place.

Can You Sleep on It?

It’s important to act fast once you’ve found that perfect property. It might still be tempting to “sleep on it,” but that could be a big mistake.

Shuffle your feet, lose your seat, as the saying goes. It’s almost a given that you’re not the only homebuyer looking for a house with your specific criteria. Someone else could buy that home right from under you while you’re in bed counting sheep.

Housing markets are often highly competitive, so time can be of the essence when you find a property you like.

Most of the time, you can trust your instincts. You should probably submit an offer if you like a property and it’s in your price range. Talk to your agent, your spouse, or a trusted loved one and get guidance if you’re not sure, but acting quick is critical.

Don’t Overlook the Basics

Maybe you don’t want to sleep on it. Maybe you want to call the moving company now. Do be realistic in your fervor to have the house.

Don’t be tempted to slide outside your budget and what housing expenses it can reasonably accommodate. Check out the schools if you have children, and consider how long it’s going to take you to commute to work. Will that grow old if the house is some distance from your place of employment?

A home is a long-term decision. Be passionate…but treat it like one.

Our Most Essential Homeowner Tips

Congratulations! You’ve just purchased your first home. Buying a home is a smart investment and offers a lot of benefits for you and your family. But owning a home also comes with a few disadvantages, like not being able to call your landlord when something goes awry.

But don’t worry. We have some homeowner tips and tricks that will help you prepare for those surprises and maybe even save you a few dollars down the road.

Use these new homeowner tips to make your transition to property owner a little smoother.

1. Invest in New Tools

Now that you’re a homeowner, it’s time to get yourself a toolbox. From measuring for a new couch to hanging curtains and photographs, you’re going to need tools even if you’re not planning any big DIY projects.

Best tools for new homeowners:

  • Ladder
  • Measuring tape
  • Hammer
  • Stud finder
  • Electric drill

Owning these tools will make following the rest of these new homeowner maintenance tips easier.

2. Create a Homeowner’s Binder

You may have noticed during the purchasing process that there is a lot of paperwork involved in owning a home. Before you move into your new home, create a binder for important documents, such as mortgage and home insurance paperwork.

After your move in, use the same binder to store all of the guides and warranties for your new appliances. Store receipts for any home improvement and moving expenses here as well. You’ll want to hang on to these for your taxes. You can also start collecting contact information for reliable contractors in this binder.

3. Wait to Start Any Large Projects

One thing every homeowner should know: home improvement projects are expensive. Avoid completing unnecessary projects. Unless your new home is not livable, hold off on any major construction projects until you’ve lived in the home for at least six months.

Waiting a few months to make any huge changes will allow you to get a feel for your home and put your priorities in order. After a few months, you may learn that the floor plan doesn’t bother you as much as expected, but you’ve discovered you can’t live with the current bathroom configuration. Waiting will also give you time to save for the cost of any upcoming projects.

It is a good idea to complete small projects such as painting or removing carpet before moving into your new home.

4. Pay Attention to Your Energy Usage

Owning a home means paying your own utility bills. Pay attention to how your home is using energy and use the information to reduce your carbon footprint and save money. You’ll be surprised how small changes can affect your electric bill.

Homeowner tips and tricks for reducing your energy costs:

  • Move your refrigerator away from your oven.
  • Schedule a home energy audit.
  • Lower your water heater’s thermostat to 120 degrees.
  • Switch out lightbulbs for energy-efficient LED lightbulbs.

5. Learn How to Identify Potential Issues in Your New Home

One of the best homeowner maintenance tips is to detect minor problems before they become huge issues. After purchasing your home, take some time to learn about some of the common issues homes face, especially if you’ve purchased an older home or one that was unoccupied for a period of time. Being able to identify a potential problem early on could save you money later.

Learn to recognize:

  • Basement leaks and flooding.
  • Signs of a roof leak.
  • Foundation issues.

If you can catch these issues early, you can prevent further damage to your home and save yourself a lot of headaches.

6. Start an Emergency House Fund

You never know when something is going to go wrong, or how much it is going to cost. A great homeowner tip is to start an emergency savings account as soon as possible.

The longer you live in your home, the more likely you are to experience a surprise plumbing, heating or roofing issue. Start saving early to take a little stress out of this typical homeowner experience.

7. Make Friends With Your Neighbors

As many homeowners know, having bad neighbors can make your living situation less than pleasant. Work to be a good neighbor right away by introducing yourself and making friends as soon as you move in. Building a relationship with your neighbors will help you learn about your neighborhood, find reliable contractors and maybe even allow you to borrow tools when you need them.

Knowing your neighbors will also make it easier to address any issues that arise later, such as property line or noise concerns.

8. Change Your Air Filter Regularly

This probably sounds obvious, but it is an often overlooked homeowner maintenance tip. When you move into your home, change your air filter right away. Mark the date on your calendar and change it every 90 days moving forward. Consider changing it every 60 days if you have pets or if you suffer from allergies.

Changing your air filter not only helps keep your air clean, but it also reduces dust in your home and extends the life of your furnace.

9. Know How to Turn Off Your Water Valve

Picture this: You wake up in the middle of the night to find a busted pipe filling your basement with water. It takes you five minutes to locate your main water valve and two more minutes to turn it off. That’s seven additional minutes of water flowing into your basement.

It’s a good idea to locate this valve when you move in and learn how it works to save yourself time during an emergency. Learn how to shut off your power and gas lines while you’re at it.

Another homeowner tip is to turn off your main water valve whenever you leave on vacation. This will prevent flooding if something should go wrong when you are out of town.

10. Complete One Project at a Time

Don’t work on multiple home projects at once. You may want to get all your improvements finished as soon as possible, but this isn’t the answer. Not only will you exhaust your finances, but you will also make your new home unlivable and add unnecessary stress to your everyday life.

Instead of starting all your projects at once, learn how to plan a home remodel that won’t make you miserable.

How to Easily Maintain Your Home

Whether you are going to be selling your home shortly or years down the road, making sure you keep up with the maintenance of your property is important. A home that does not have proper maintenance will undoubtedly suffer when it does become time to sell.

When you talk to people that are successful in the sale of their homes both quickly and for a good price, you will usually discover that their success was a result of forethought.

They may have been lucky to make as good of a deal as they did, but they likely spent a significant amount of time preparing for that lucky moment as well. Making a home appealing to buyers takes work – much of which occurs before the house ever goes on the market.

There are some home maintenance items that most people do not always think about. Many of the things that make a house stand out are the result of regular maintenance, tasks that may seem a little mundane, but that do a lot to keep up the functioning and appearance of a home.

These little jobs, when performed on a periodic basis, can help you avoid paying costly replacement or repair fees in the months leading up to putting your home on the market. Unless you are planning on selling your home for a bargain to shoppers searching for a fixer-upper, keeping up with the little things is worth the effort.

These home maintenance tips can go a long way in helping that your sale goes smoothly and does not end up going south due to a failing home inspection. Keep in mind that a skilled home inspector can tell when a homeowner has not been keeping up with regular home maintenance items.

You can bet your bottom dollar that while the home inspection is taking place, they will be pointing this out to the buyer. Whether you are selling now or not, use these nine maintenance tips to keep your home running like a well-oiled machine! If you are going to be selling by following this advice, you will keep your negotiating after the home inspection to a minimum.

Vacuum Refrigerator Condenser Coils

Most people do not think of inspecting their refrigerators. They seem like self-contained units, and there is not a lot the average person can do to maintenance them. However, the condenser coils on the back of your fridge will collect dust, and this dust can inhibit its operation.

Pulling the fridge out and cleaning off the dust can help your fridge work more efficiently, and will give you the opportunity to clean behind and underneath it as well.

More than likely if you clean your coils the refrigerator will work noticeably better. Refrigerators are expensive to replace so this is an important maintenance tip for homeowners not to forget.

Change Batteries For Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Detectors

While changing the batteries is a small maintenance item. making sure that you smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working is not. In fact, your families safety depends on it!

The last thing you ever want to go through is having your home destroyed by fire when it could have easily been avoided. Having working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors is critical.

In some states including mine (Massachusetts), they are a requirement for sale. This is a great law that is designed to reduce casualties from two potentially hazardous situations.

You don’t need to be selling your home to realize that keeping up with your local smoke and carbon monoxide detector regulations can be the difference in saving lives!

Inspect and Clean Your Furnace or Boiler

Heating and cooling systems push a lot of dust along with temperature controlled air, and this dust and possibly condensation can lead to degradation of your unit and the ducts it uses. An annual inspection by a certified service professional is always a good idea.

The service person can clean up any accumulated debris, and can verify that your system is functioning as it should. When you have a forced hot water heating system that is serviced by oil, the maintenance requirements are little more stringent.

Oil, unfortunately, does not burn as clean as gas and therefore can cause a system to be cleaned on a more regular basis. Most heating companies recommend an Oil fired heating system be tuned up once a year where gas can typically be done every two years.

Keep in mind that staying up with maintenance on your heating system can extend the lifespan by years. Also, consider that if a buyer sees you have not been maintaining the system, they may take into account offering less for your home thinking they may need to replace it sooner than expected.

Keeping up with your heating system is a maintenance tip you should never neglect as it is one of the most costly items in your home to replace.

Check Your Water Heater

Your water heater may heat thousands of gallons of water a year, and like every appliance, it can only perform well for so long.

A yearly maintenance check is recommended for any water heater, even one you just purchased.

Seals have a way of failing, and drains can clog – especially if you have hard water. If you notice even minor leaks or severe scale build up, consider contacting a plumber or water heater installation company to take a look.

It is far better to catch a failing water heater before it goes out completely than to come home to a flooded room or basement. Water heaters are an area that home inspectors will pay particular attention to. Making sure that you do not have any pipe fittings that are leaking or corroded is important.

At home inspections leaking fittings are quite common because most homeowners do not pay attention to a maintenance item like this until it becomes a bigger problem.

Maintain Your Filters

One of the more important maintenance tips for homeowners is making sure you keep up with changing your heating and cooling filters. Your central heating and air conditioning unit work hard to push air throughout your house. By changing your filters on a regular basis, you help the unit operate efficiently and effectively.

It already requires a significant amount of energy to run air through the various vents – failing to install a clean filter makes this process much more challenging, and can put unnecessary strain on your central air unit. Make sure you pay particular attention to the rating of the filter you are using.

Some filters need to be changed monthly while others are “rated” to last much longer. A quality filter can usually be bought for your system that is designed to be modified far less frequently.

Check Your Toilets and Faucets

Home inspectors and appraisers notice everything, and they are sure to see if you have any problems with your toilets or your sinks. Take a moment every six months or so to inspect your basic plumbing fixtures. Water will find any available avenue to escape, especially when under pressure, and you can guarantee that sooner or later one of these fixtures will begin leaking.

If you are handy, replace the faulty seal. If not, bring in a plumber to tackle the problem before it becomes much bigger.

An Ounce Of Prevention

Taking the time to do these things now, before you ever put your home up for sale, will make the whole selling process easier when you finally begin it in earnest. You and your family will also enjoy the benefits of a cleaner, more livable home right now.

While the above-mentioned home maintenance items are mostly considered small potatoes, there are always other common home selling issues that could derail your sale far more quickly. Things like a failed septic system, not taking out required permits for work, and appraisal issues are potential road blocks.

When selling a home, it is important to stay out ahead of the curve and pay particular attention to all the potential issues that could get in the way. A prepared home seller enjoys the benefit of not having to face those unfortunate things that can surface in a Real Estate transaction!

Spruce Up Your Front Door

It may seem trivial, but your front door is usually the first close look anyone gets at your home and is worth sprucing up on a yearly basis because of this. If you have a hardwood door with a natural look, take the time to clean and polish it. If it is painted, consider touching it up or repainting it as necessary.

Buyers like a welcoming, well-maintained front door. Have an old door handle that is very weathered? Consider upgrading to something that will be visually appealing while also offering good home security.

Keep in mind that maintaining the curb appeal of your home will pay you back when it comes time to sell.

Clean Your Exhaust Hood

Cooks working in professional kitchens are required to clean vent hoods on a regular basis. It is a dirty job, typically involving caked on grease and dust. Your kitchen vent may not be as dirty as one used in a professional setting, but it still poses a fire hazard and is unsightly when not cleaned regularly.

Take a few minutes to wash off any accumulated grime and to replace the filter if there is one. Exhaust hoods are a simple maintenance item that will stick out like a sore thumb if you do not deal with it.

Maintain Your Garage Door

Your garage door and opener also require regular maintenance to operate as intended. The chain on your opener must be lubricated, along with any exposed metal joints, and you should check to make certain the door runs smoothly in its tracks.

Most inspectors will pay close attention to a garage door because of the potential for significant injury to a child or pet. Most newer garage door systems have electronic eyes at the bottom that sense movement. These need to be checked regularly to make sure they are functioning as intended.

Amazing Money-Saving Tips For Every Homeowner

Owning a home doesn’t need to be as costly as it does. We all know that if you own a home, all of the costs from the mortgage, utilities, maintenance, and upkeep add up and are expensive.

Just to make your life easier, I’ve made one fascinating collection of amazing and useful energy saving tips that will save you money.

Besides that all of these tips are free or cheap. They won’t cost you a lot, but they will make a big difference. Most of them don’t take a lot of time, and you don’t have to be a home-improvement expert.

Here are 15 of the best energy saving tips that will make your energy bills shrink.

1. Repair leaky ductwork

Over time the joints and seals in ductwork can dry out and deteriorate due to temperature fluctuations in crawl spaces, basements, and attics.

Hire a HVAC service tech to check out the ductwork.

If you are a do-it-yourselfer, use a flashlight and shine the beam on the ducts where they connect to other ducts or registers. What you are looking for are areas where there isn’t any dust – a sure sign there is a leak in the area.

You can also do the incense test while the system is running too. Move the incense around each duct joint looking for air movement.

To repair the system yourself check out youtube by searching for ‘how to patch ductwork’.

Savings: 3%–10% on heating and cooling bills per year
Cost: $30 and up, depending on if you do it yourself or have your system serviced
Time: 60 minutes

2. Replace air filters

Replace your HVAC filters at least every 6 months, preferably every 3. Clogged, dirty filters block airflow and reduce your system’s efficiency. In the worst case scenario, a wrongly sized filter or dirty filter can cause your system to burn out, requiring replacement.

Savings: 5% – 15% / year on energy
Cost: $5-$30
Time: 10 minutes

3. Give your air conditioner some fresh air

Have you ever tried running really fast with a rag over your mouth? I haven’t either, but that’s what most people are expecting their AC units to do.

Many AC units are surrounded by shrubbery that can restrict the airflow needed to make the systems run optimally. Take a few minutes today or this weekend and look around your AC’s outdoor unit:

  • Provide at least 1’ of clearance all around the units.
  • Trim any bushes that are touching the units
  • Remove any leaves and dirt around the unit
  • Remove any other obstructions like that rotting pingpong table leaning up against it
  • If there is significant mud or dirt inside the unit have it professionally serviced

Savings: $20 / year
Cost: FREE
Time: 20 minutes

4. Block out the sun

All of those windows in your home are the largest source of heat flowing inside during hot summer days.

Closing the blinds and/or curtains blocks the sun from coming inside in the first place and will help prevent it from heating up, reducing the need for the AC to cool it down. Blocking the sun is especially important on the western and southern facing windows that receive the most direct sunlight.

Savings: $15-$35 / year
Cost: FREE
Time: none

5. Shower power

Do you take a hot shower in the summer steaming up the bathroom mirrors? If so you’re adding heat back into your home that needs to cool.

Take a quicker shower. And take a warm shower instead of a burning hot one. Using less hot water will also save energy.

Savings: $50 / year
Cost: FREE
Time: 10 minutes

6. Automate your thermostat or use a post-it note

In my first home, I would manually turn up the thermostat as I walked out the door to work, and I would manually adjust it down when I came home in the evening.

Last year I replaced all of the thermostats in my house with the Nest learning thermostat. It learns your schedule to keep your home comfortable when you are home. Nests’ are pricey, but according to the Nest website:

I wish I had known about this before buying mine. Oh well, my mistake for you to learn. Check with your utility provider to see what might be available in your area.

If you can’t get a free or discounted smart thermostat from your utility provider, you can go the manual route like I used to. Go get a sticky note, and put it on the door you take to leave your home. Write a reminder to change the thermostat as you walk out the door. Simple and free.

Savings: $173 year (average for a programmed thermostat)
Cost: $0 – $250 per thermostat
Time: Varies

7. Hang out your laundry

Yeah, I don’t do this either. It takes too long.  In the summer, it’s too hot out.

For a long time, I used a clothes rack but now I have an even more ingenious way to dry my clothes.

I bought a bunch of plastic hangers to hang up ALL of my shirts, shorts, and pants. Now that I have to hang my clothes up anyway, I just pull them out of the washing machine and put them up on the hangers to dry. Boom! I’m just skipping the drying part because they dry in my closet – for free.

For the things I don’t hang up (socks) I’ve got a drying rack. It takes up very little space.

Savings: $80 – $250 / year depending on household size
Cost: $30 for hangers or racks
Time: Varies by method

8. Grilled to perfection

In the summer consider cooking primarily using the microwave, crockpot, or grilling outside to avoid heating up your home with the oven and stove.

Savings: At least a few bucks and your kitchen won’t be as hot.
Cost: FREE
Time: None

9. Fix leaky windows

If you have a 1/64 inch gap around a single window – which is REALLY TINY – it is the equivalent of a 3.27 square inch hole in your wall – which is REALLY BIG.

If you have a 1/32 inch gap around a single window, it is the equivalent of a 6.5 square inch hole in your wall. That’s big enough to put your fist through!

If you have ten windows in your house, that’s a lot of big holes that are draining your wallet year after year.

To determine if your windows are leaky close all your windows, doors, and the flue damper in your chimney if you have a fireplace. Use a stick of incense and move it around each window to see if there is air flow. If there is, you’ve got a leak!

Weatherstripping is an easy and cost-effective way to save money on energy costs and improve comfort by reducing drafts.  It’s something any homeowner can do. Peel-and-stick weatherstripping is easy and useful for sealing drafts:

  1. Remove any dirt and grease from the window jambs or sash.
  2. Dry the areas with a rag.
  3. Cut the weatherstrip to the right length
  4. Peel off the back
  5. Press the sticky part to the surface.

Now check your windows from the outside

  1. Inspect for any cracked or damaged caulking around the windows where the casing meets the house, and around the window frame.
  2. Scrape and clean away any damaged caulking
  3. Apply a fresh bead of paintable acrylic latex to reseal the window.

Savings: 10%–20% of your heating and cooling costs per year
Cost: $30-$50
Time: 2–3 hours

10. Child proof your outlets – even if you don’t have kids

My first home which was built in 1999 had this next problem. The inside outlets located on the exterior walls were like mini vacuums when it came to transferring air from the inside to the outside.

If you have an older home or a poorly constructed home you’ve probably got the same problem.

Electrical outlet boxes typically don’t have any insulation behind them, creating what is basically a hole in your wall. On a windy day take some incense or a match and put it in front of an outlet (one without a plug in it of course) and see if you can see air movement. In my situation I noticed this during the winter when I felt a cold breeze coming through the outlets.

The simple solution? Install socket sealers to improve energy efficiency. All you have to do is remove your outlet cover with a screwdriver, put on the outlet sealer, and put the cover back on. Easy!

The second step is to put in those plastic child-proof outlet plugs.

Savings: 2% of heating and cooling costs per year
Cost: $8.51 for outlet sealers, $2.49 for outlet plugs
Time: 20 minutes

11. Get a heating and cooling service contract

My neighbors A/C unit ran him $8,000 to replace. I had to replace one after getting married for $3,000. Hire a professional HVAC maintenance company to ready your AC unit for the summer and your furnace for the winter. There is no better way to insure this investment, and you they usually give you discounts on parts if anything breaks. This is one of the very few maintenance contracts I recommend people to buy.

Savings A lot if your HVAC unit crashes and burns
Cost: $250-$400 per year
Time: Just a phone call

12. Use fans

A ceiling fan can make your room feel up to 7 degrees cooler. Fans will allow you to turn your AC up a couple extra degrees, saving even more money.

Savings: $35-$53 / year
Cost: FREE (assuming you have ceiling fans)
Time: none

13. Insulate leaky kitchen and bathroom sinks

If you have a sink, toilet, cable or phone line in an external wall, chances are they are uninsulated around behind the wall. Warm and cool air is escaping from these exterior openings.

This one is a bit trickier to determine if you have an air leak. You can use a thermal leak detector to determine if there is a temperature difference by comparing the area near the hole and then the hole itself. If there is a big difference you might want to fix that leak.

Or if you don’t want to spend the money on a thermal imager you can do what I do as soon as I move into a new house. Buy some expanding foam insulation and spray it into every crevice I can find in my exterior walls.

I use Great Stuff. Around the bathroom sinks in your house spray where the sink drain goes into the wall.  Also where the water lines came out.

I used about 2 cans for my house that was built in 2009.

Savings: Up to 17% of your energy bills per year
Cost: $10.13 and up depending on how many cans you use
Time: 30 minutes

14. A bright idea?

LED lighting runs cooler than incandescent bulbs. Only about 10% to 15% of the electricity that incandescent lights consume results in light.  The rest is turned into heat, and that heat needs to be cooled by your AC system.

Last year I made the switch to LED lights – but not all of the lights in my house, and that’s key for saving money. Check out ‘Are LEDs worth it?’

I use Cree LED light bulbs in my house.  I found them to have the most natural lighting (I tried four different brands).

Don’t forget to factor in the cost of the bulbs!

Savings: Varies on usage
Cost: $9 – $20 / bulb
Time: 2 minutes / bulb

15. Remove gaps under your doors

There is probably a hole under your door and you don’t even know it.

Most homeowners don’t even think about the bottom of their doors, and instead focus on the sides and top. But the bottom of the door sees just as much action each day as the sides and top, and it’s got that rubber gasket which is prone to deteriorating faster because it has more exposure to dirt and moisture.

You can use the incense test on this area of your home too. Run it near the bottom of any exterior doors on a windy day to see if there is air movement.

To fix you’ll need to replace your door sweep. Take pictures and measurements of your existing door sweep before heading to the home improvement store.

If it’s a nice day just take your existing one off and bring it with you so you can match up the size perfectly. They are pretty easy to replace. I’m not Mr. Fix-It and even I managed to do it.

Savings: Up to 11% of outside air is blocked
Cost: $10-$20
Time: 30 minutes per door

16. Insulate the hole in your attic

You have insulation between your exterior walls.  Yet what separates from your conditioned home and the attic is usually a ½” piece of plywood – otherwise known as the attic stairs (or hatch).

Plywood isn’t a good insulator.

If you have a hatch:

  • Add a gasket around the opening.
  • Attach some rigid foam insulation to the top of the hatch

If you have a pull down attic staircase:

Get an attic tent that has a zipper to seal it up.

Savings: Up to 30% on your energy bills per year
Cost: $20 (hatch) – $158 (stairs)
Time: Beats me, I had someone install mine as part of an energy audit