5 renovation projects where brick takes center stage
(Family Features) Springtime is a perfect opportunity for homeowners to begin planning renovations to enhance the interior and exterior of their living space. Because of its strong performance capabilities, low maintenance and design flexibility, brick is a popular building material choice when looking to improve or refresh your home in time for warm-weather hosting season.
Often selected for its functional benefits, brick is available in a wide array of colors, textures and sizes that can match varying design styles, from modern to traditional and almost everything between. If you’re considering adding brick to your home’s aesthetic, consider these five projects to tackle this spring from the experts at Glen-Gery, one of the largest brick and stone manufacturers in North America.
Basement or patio bar – As homeowners spend more time at home, they often look to maximize livable space. One way to take advantage of unused living space is building a basement or patio bar, which provides an area for entertaining. Using an exposed brick wall can help designate the bar area and separate it from the rest of the basement, or lining a bar counter with brick can create a rustic contrast against the bar’s seating.
Fireplace – To change the look and feel of a room almost instantly, you can use brick to give a fireplace a facelift or make it a focal point of your home. Available in a variety of colors and textures, Glen-Gery’s diverse, premium portfolio of more than 600 brick and stone products can elevate your living room’s style in a big way and create a more inviting area to share with family and friends. An outdoor fireplace is another option for extending livable space in a cozy way that can be used throughout the year.
Accent wall – Create a statement in or outside your home with a brick accent wall. Accent walls can help bring color, texture and beauty to homes by breaking up the monotony of monochromatic color or decor, creating visual interest and dimension. While brick in a running bond pattern is expected, you can spice up rooms with an unexpected bond pattern like a stacked bond for modern appeal or herringbone for a rustic look.
Kitchen backsplash – One of the most overlooked areas of kitchen design is the backsplash. While its job is to protect your kitchen walls from the never-ending assault of kitchen splatters, there’s no reason it can’t look good, too. Brick backsplashes can accommodate most home designs and styles thanks to the versatility of shapes, colors, finishes and sizes available.
Black or white glazed brick works well with more modern kitchens while irregular brick containing an abundance of texture and a messy mortar application can complete rustic farmhouse kitchens. An option like Glen-Gery’s virtual design tool, Picture Perfect, can help you visualize projects in your home to see what fits your style and needs.
Brick skirt – For added curb appeal, consider adding a brick skirt around the foundation of your home. Given its resilient, durable and energy-efficient qualities, brick can help provide better insulation and protection while also adding visual appeal to the exterior of your home through texture, color and contrast. The skirting can also continue through to the front porch floor and steps, helping balance out the elevation of your home.
For more inspiration for your next home renovation project, visit glengery.com.
7 Ways to Reduce Home Energy Costs
(Family Features) When building your budget, utility bills – especially the electric bill – are likely one of your largest monthly expenditures. One of the biggest culprits: home heating and cooling, which account for more than half of the average American household’s annual energy consumption, according to estimates from the Energy Information Administration.
In fact, 83% of homeowners are concerned about the impact of energy bills on their household budgets, according to a survey conducted by Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC US (METUS), with 54% saying it cost “somewhat more” or “much more” to heat their homes this winter compared to last year.
To help dial down your energy costs, consider these tips from the heating and cooling experts at METUS.
Adjust the Temperature
While you’re sleeping or away from home, adjust your thermostat up 5-10 F in the summer or down 5-10 F in the winter, which can help lower annual heating and cooling costs if done consistently. A smart thermostat can monitor your energy use and behaviors then automatically adjust to make your home more energy efficient.
Look for Incentives and Rebates
Qualified homeowners may be eligible to save money on qualified home energy improvement projects. The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA) offers tax credits and rebates, including a credit of 30% (up to $2,000) for qualifying heat pump installation, an energy-efficient option to replace fossil fuel-burning furnaces. Other incentives under the IRA include offsetting costs of electrical panel upgrades and rebates for homes with energy usage reductions of 20% or more.
Switch to a Heat Pump
Among survey respondents, 54% ranked government incentives like the IRA as one of the top reasons they would consider installing a heat pump to replace a traditional air conditioner. Options like Mitsubishi Electric’s all-climate heat pumps use two units – an exterior heat pump, which replaces your existing air conditioning condenser, and an interior unit installed on your furnace – to deliver cost-effective, eco-efficient, year-round heating and cooling. These smart systems not only improve air conditioning efficiency on hot days, but also determine the best source of heat (gas or electricity) on cold days, so your HVAC system is always running at peak efficiency and comfort.
Have HVAC Systems Serviced Regularly
For best performance and efficiency, regular maintenance of your heating and cooling system is imperative. Keeping outdoor units free of debris and changing air filters are tasks most homeowners can handle on their own but bringing in a professional – usually in the spring and fall – can help ensure your HVAC system and all its components, including electrical and ductwork, are functioning properly.
Improve Your Insulation
Poorly insulated attics, walls, ceilings, floors and crawl spaces can lead to energy waste and increase costs by requiring more energy to heat or cool your home. Because air can escape through these spaces when your HVAC system pushes air through your home, adding insulation can help reduce losses and keep your home more comfortable.
Use Appliances During Non-Peak Hours
Rather than using your oven, stove or clothes dryer from noon-6 p.m., peak time for many electricity providers, consider doing so in the morning or later at night. Using these appliances outside of the peak timeframe, when conventional heating and cooling systems are often running full bore, can help lower energy costs. Some utilities may also offer plans that incentivize limiting energy use during peak hours.
Consider upgrading to an all-climate, multi-zone heat pump, which can seamlessly connect to multiple indoor units, revolutionizing the way you experience comfort in your home. By eliminating problematic hot and cold spots in your home, this system ensures personalized comfort tailored to individual zones and optimizes energy usage by directing it only to the areas requiring heating or cooling. Replacing an outdated HVAC system with a multi-zone solution can also help achieve cost and energy savings. By efficiently managing temperature in different zones, you can experience improved energy efficiency, resulting in a more sustainable and economical solution for heating and cooling.
Find more solutions for improving your home’s efficiency and increasing energy savings at MitsubishiComfort.com.
3 Ways to Use Propane in Your Home
(Family Features) A reliable, environmentally friendly energy source, propane can help power key home systems and appliances. Readily available in the United States, the portable, low-carbon energy source is stored on-site, meaning it’s always accessible to help keep homes running regardless of severe weather or other interruptions to the power grid.
Watch this video for helpful tips this season!
Consider these ways to integrate the clean energy source into your home from the experts at the Propane Education & Research Council:
Whether you use a furnace, fireplace or boiler to heat your home, propane can power your heating source in any climate. Propane-powered heating sources are highly efficient, typically cost less overall due to their longer expected lifespans and emit fewer greenhouse gases than electric or wood- or oil-burning alternatives.
When power from the electric grid is interrupted, a propane-powered generator can provide supplemental power in as little as 10 seconds to keep vital systems like smoke and fire detection, refrigeration, heating and cooling, Wi-Fi and other health and safety equipment operational for several days and nights. Plus, propane doesn’t degrade over time, unlike diesel or gasoline, making it an ideal standby power fuel.
Because of their high performance and energy efficiency, propane-powered appliances such as cooking ranges and stoves, clothes dryers and tankless water heaters can increase the value of a home and decrease the strain on the electrical grid. Generating fewer greenhouse gas emissions than their electric counterparts, propane-powered appliances can heat and cool quicker, reduce standby losses and dry clothing faster, reducing energy usage and cost.
Learn more about propane and its benefits at Propane.com/ForMyHome.
Sunset Home Improvement Inc. Shares Essential Seasonal Home Maintenance Tips
Seasonal Maintenance From Sunset Home Improvement Inc.
SOUTH EASTON, MA, US /EINPresswire.com/ — As the seasons change, Sunset Home Improvement Inc., a leading provider of roofing, siding, and window services, emphasizes the importance of regular home maintenance to ensure durability and energy efficiency. With years of expertise, the company offers valuable advice for homeowners to prepare their homes for different seasons.
Man in a hard hat with a hammer working on roofing.
Spring: As the weather warms, it’s vital to inspect your home for winter damage. Sunset Home Improvement Inc. recommends checking your roof for missing shingles and ensuring that gutters and downspouts are clear of debris. This is also an excellent time to clean and inspect windows and siding for cracks or wear.
Summer: High temperatures and humidity can take a toll on your home. The experts at Sunset Home Improvement Inc. suggest ensuring proper attic ventilation to prevent heat buildup, which can extend the life of your roof. Inspecting and sealing windows and doors will keep your home cool and energy-efficient.
Fall: Preparing for colder weather is crucial. Homeowners should check for drafts and seal gaps around windows and doors. It’s also the time to inspect the siding for any damage and ensure that the roof is in good condition to withstand potential snow and ice.
Winter: During the colder months, it’s important to prevent ice dams by keeping the attic well insulated and ventilated. Checking window seals and siding integrity can also prevent heat loss and keep energy bills low.
Sunset Home Improvement Inc. not only offers these essential tips but provides top-notch service to address any home maintenance needs. Their dedication to quality workmanship and customer satisfaction makes them a go-to source for all home improvement projects.
About Sunset Home Improvement Inc.:
Sunset Home Improvement Inc. has established itself as a trusted leader in home improvement services. Specializing in roofing, siding, and window installations and repairs, the company prides itself on using high-quality materials, employing skilled craftsmen, and delivering exceptional customer service. Committed to enhancing and protecting homes, Sunset Home Improvement Inc. is a name synonymous with reliability and excellence in the home improvement industry.BrandRep
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