Two Reasons to Keep Your Weatherstripping in Top Shape

front-door-wood

 

The weatherstripping that is installed around your doors and windows serves a very important purpose. Over time, with constant exposure to the elements and frequent use, weatherstripping will deteriorate, begin to pull away, or come completely unattached. Don’t put off repairing this seemingly small thing – deteriorated or damaged weatherstripping will impact your home in two important ways.

1. Decreased Energy Efficiency

In the winter, weatherstripping helps keep the cold air out and the warm air from your heating system in. Conversely, in summer, it helps keep the hot air out and the cool, conditioned air in. If you can see light through the area surrounding your doors or windows or at the door threshold (the metal plate on the floor beneath the door), air can move freely through. Why spend all that money running and maintaining your HVAC system only to have the air fly right out the door?

2. A Welcome Mat for Pests

Weatherstripping helps keep pests out – the “if you can see light” rule applies here too – if you can see light through the areas surrounding your doors or windows, bugs, ants, and spiders have an easy way into your home. In addition to the headache of pest infestations, you’ll incur the additional cost of a pest control service to take care of the problem. Why go through all that when you can reduce or prevent the problem all together!

How to Repair Weatherstripping

It doesn’t seem right to tell you the potential problems without giving you a solution. Here are some links to great information on repairing your weatherstripping:

  • How Stuff Works has an excellent article on installing weatherstripping and the types of weatherstripping to choose from.
  • We found this great how to video that walks you through the process.
  • This Old House also has an comprehensive guide that walks you through all things weatherstripping.

 

 

Are Solar Panels Worth It?

solarpanels800x450Chances are you’re seeing your neighbors install solar panels left and right and those little solar company signs in yards everywhere. We wondered – what exactly is the cost of installation? What is the real savings? Is it worth it? How do you choose a company? Should you lease or buy?

We did a little research and came up with some anecdotal numbers. In one neighborhood in Southern California, homeowners report that a purchased solar system costs in the range of $21,000 – $27,000. Tax credits can save you as much as 30%. Homeowner & engineer Joe Cahak did some calculations and estimates that his purchased system (paid for in cash) will pay for itself in 4-7 years. Once the system is paid for, he estimates the savings to be around $3,500 per year for his home.

Homeowners in this same neighborhood who have leased their systems report that their monthly lease payment is in the range of $200 per month (your lease costs will vary based on the number of panels, home size, etc.). All the homeowners we talked to report that their monthly electric bill was reduced to $5 – $30, and some even received money back from their electric company at the end of the year! All electric homes will see a larger overall savings than those that utilize natural gas or propane for some of their appliances. (Again, it will depend on what percentage of your power your solar panels cover.)  Some other points to consider:

  • A leased system will typically come with a “production guarantee” (they guarantee the system will produce a certain amount of electricity) and free maintenance of the panels and system.
  • Tax credits are also available on leased systems.
  • There should be no upfront costs with a lease.
  • Make sure the lease can be easily transferred to a buyer should you sell your home.

Make sure to do your research and ask your neighbors with solar for their experiences with local solar installers. Read online reviews. Get multiple quotes. A good starting point would be to calculate your annual electric costs (factoring in likely utility company cost increases). What would your annual lease costs be? If you purchase and require a loan, what would your monthly payment be, with interest? Bottom line: How much would you actually save per year by going solar?

Here are some helpful websites we came across in our research:

Free Quotes:

http://energyinformative.org/how-to-go-solar

Choosing Solar Panels:

Best Solar Panel Types

Are Solar Panels Worth the Cost

Solar Basics

Financing (California Only):

HERO Program

Tax Credits:

Federal Tax Credits Available