Thursday, June 13, 2013
With the summer temperatures rising, so does the need for more energy for your home. Make sure your home is running at the highest efficiency possible by following these simple tips. They can help lower your energy bills and leave you cool and comfortable all summer long!
1. Keep the blinds closed during the day. By keeping your blinds closed during the hottest part of the day, you’ll block heat from seeping into your home. For added insulation from the heat, use heavy drapes or curtains to block out the sun’s rays.
2. Adjust your thermostat to run at least two degrees warmer than you normally would. Consider using a programmable thermostat so that your air conditioner isn’t working hard to cool your home while no one is there to enjoy it. According to Kentucky Utilities, a programmable thermostat can save up to 12% on your home energy costs. Avoid placing lamps or TV sets near your room air-conditioning thermostat. The thermostat senses heat from these appliances, which can cause the air conditioner to run longer than necessary.
3. Use ceiling fans to cool your home. Even when your air conditioner is running, turn your ceiling fans on so you can spread the cooled air more effectively throughout your home without having to adjust the thermostat. According to energy.gov, if you use air conditioning, a ceiling fan will allow you to raise the thermostat setting about 4°F with no reduction in comfort level.
4. Consider planting shade trees or shrubs in areas of your yard that receive full sun during the day. Not only will you save on energy costs, but you’ll give your home more curb appeal! An air conditioning unit that operates in the shade uses less energy than one operating in the sun, however when planting, make sure to keep limbs far enough away from the unit so that they don’t block airflow.
5. On really warm days, avoid using your oven. Stick to using a crockpot, the microwave, or grilling out. Heating your oven up daily adds more heat to your interiors and therefore requires your air conditioning cooling system to work harder and longer. If you need to do laundry, wait until the sun has gone down so that you aren’t heating your home more than necessary.
Monday, September 24, 2012
A cold front has moved into the area, just in time for the beginning of Fall. We’re just two days into the new season and already we’re starting to see the leaves fall and the temperatures drop. Kick off this new season by taking the time now to prepare your home for the cooler temperatures ahead. Taking the time to complete these tasks now will ensure that you and your home will have an easy transition into the coming months.
1. Inspect the roof, gutters and drainpipes. You may want to hold off until later in the fall (when most leaves have dropped) before cleaning the gutters, but doing a visual inspection now is a good idea. If any branches and leaves fell during summer storms, remove them so they don't cause blockages during autumn rains. Inspecting your roof now will leave ample time to have repairs or a replacement made before winter.
2. Have your chimney cleaned before you light the first fire. Check your fireplace for residual soot, blockage, or creosote. Schedule to have a professional come out and clean your fireplace before you strike up a match. If you have a wood-burning fireplace, move your firewood to a covered area for easy access. Make sure you inspect for insects before moving the wood, otherwise you’ll run the risk of bringing them into your home.
3. Tidy up the porch. Falling leaves means lots of yard debris to pick up. Sweep away any dead leaves or branches to create a warm and inviting area to welcome your guests to your home. Add some brightly colored flowers, like mums, to planters by the front stoop, or hang a seasonal wreath on your door.
4. Prepare your doorways with rugs and mud trays for dirty shoes. When the wet weather strikes, make sure your flooring is protected by large rugs and boot trays by entrances. Add a basket or small bins for papers and cold-weather accessories to help keep entrances organized and clutter-free.
5. Clean, repair, and put away all lawn furniture and equipment. Close down and drain all lawn fountains, sprinklers and hoses before the freezing weather hits. Clean and put away all lawn care tools. After the last use of the year, prep your lawn mower for the winter.
Do you have any other tips to prepare your house for colder weather?
Friday, September 7, 2012
New homes mean more options, newer designs, smarter energy usage, and that special brand-new, only-for-you feeling. They also mean lower maintenance, and fewer surprises.
Here are ten reasons that we believe that NEW is the way to go:
1. Choosing a new home means getting exactly what you want—not the finishes, colors, fixtures, and options chosen by the previous owners of an existing home. Everything’s brand new, from the tubs, showers, appliances, carpet, fixtures, and so forth, inside and out. It’s all new, fresh, and clean, and it’s never been lived in by anyone else.
2. Newly constructed homes offer the benefits of current preferences in colors, textures, and design, like warm earth tones, highly textured flooring finishes, and luxury surfaces like granite and wrought iron.
3. Building new means getting the benefit of choosing everything at once, resulting in a smooth and cohesive décor, rather than the mixture of styles and colors that can result from updating an older home over time.
4. Buyers of new homes get more modern conveniences without retrofitting an existing home. Phone and cable jacks in just the right places--including above the fireplace for that big TV— and options like home theater and even home automation systems that control lighting, security, entertainment systems, and more.
5. Its all ready when you turn the key in the front door for the first time. Sure, you can buy an older home and fix it up, but the time and hassle of arranging all that work, finding the right people and products, and working out budgets, schedules, and priorities can take all the joy out of owning a home— and take all your time and money. And that doesn’t even include living with the daily interruptions of life in a remodeling zone.
6. With a new home, you get exactly what you expect— no hidden repairs or surprises. Even better, new Ball Homes include warranties that protect the buyer from unexpected maintenance costs.
7. Today’s new homes are much more energy-efficient than even those built five or six years ago, which means you pay less for monthly utilities, and the environment benefits as well. Our Energy Smart Homes are better insulated, more tightly constructed, and more efficiently heated and cooled than older homes. In fact, they are independently rated to assure that they perform 15% better than the current building code requires.
8. Like everything else, evolutions in lifestyle and family mean that homebuyers need a home that keeps up with their needs. Flexible spaces are important features of new designs, like lofts and bonus rooms, and multi-purpose rooms like a downstairs study that can be configured as a guest suite with private bath. Even secondary bedrooms are much more comfortably sized, and storage and closet space are a priority in new floor plans. Check out our newest and most popular floor plans to see examples of what today's buyers are after.
9. Let’s face it, some days it’s tough out there, and we want our homes to be a place to relax, retreat, and recreate ourselves as individuals and as families. Covered decks and patios are in style, as more and more homeowners relax and entertain outdoors. Luxurious master baths with bigger and better fixtures, like 4 and 5 foot showers, and six foot tubs, are increasingly popular in new homes of all sizes and prices. Master suites are more spacious in modern designs, and often include a sitting area. Kitchens are made for serious cooking, with upscale cabinets, drop-in cooktop options, and even wine centers and butler’s pantries. The luxury options available in even a modestly priced new home far exceed what was being built even ten years ago.
10. Today’s homebuyers expect more than ever for their home-buying dollar, and great price-per-square-foot values are in high demand. Newly constructed homes from today’s floor plans mean better use of space, with more finished area over the garage, less empty second story space, and better overall value.
Friday, August 24, 2012
Ball Homes is proud to be among a handful of Lexington builders to participate in a brand new Energy Smart rating system by RESNET, a leading national network of independent energy raters that promotes energy efficiency. As a participant in this program, each and every Ball home will be inspected and tested to ensure that it meets the criteria of having the title of an Energy Smart home.
After each home has been tested, RESNET will give it an individual rating certificate that shows the home's HERS rating index. This index is the industry's standard by which a home's energy efficiency is rated and its energy performance is calculated. Each home's HERS score will help buyers project energy costs and compare with other homes in the area. It also estimates the annual energy savings compared to the average existing home. The lower the score, the more energy efficient the home.
The current industry standard for home efficiency on the HERS index is a score of 100. Ball Homes is committed to going above and beyond that standard. Our new homes have consistently averaged a score between 75-85 for each home. That is a 15%-24% difference! Compared to the average existing home with a HERS index of 130, the same Energy Smart home will save 45% to 54% in energy costs, which amounts to hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year!
Better scores are achieved by thorough sealing and insulating to reduce holes and cracks in the home's "envelope," improved blocking to restrict the flow of unheated or uncooled air, and better insulation practices. Since the energy rater is involved throughout the construction process, the home can be tested and checked as it is being built, and best practices are assured.
Each Energy Smart home is individually inspected and tested by a certified home energy rater using a thermal bypass inspection checklist for such features as tightness of construction and ducts, high efficiency heating and cooling equipment, and effective insulation and blocking. Homes also undergo a final blower door test to evaluate and improve air leakage into the home, and a duct blaster test to locate and seal any leakage in the HVAC system.
Energy Smart homes mean lower utility bills, more comfortable homes with more consistent temperatures between and across rooms, and improved indoor air quality. More efficient energy use also means environmental benefits for everyone, including reduced air pollution generated by the production of energy at power plants.
Ball Homes’ commitment to this program not only shows our stance on energy efficiency and conservation, but also our focus on building quality homes!