Replacing Your Furnace

Whether you have decided to simply replace your existing furnace with a new one or your old one has bit the dust, you still have quite a few questions regarding gas furnace prices, fuel sources, and the installation and use of a new furnace. The best time to do your research is right now! There are a number of different factors to consider when replacing your furnace, such the type, the size and most importantly what you can afford.

Comparing Replacement Furnace Options

Your HVAC system is the biggest user of energy in your home, somewhere between 35-50% of your energy bill is to keep your house comfortable. The more efficient your furnace is the lower your monthly bills will be.  When you shop for a new furnace there is a whole new terminology that you have to learn to pick the best one for you.  Here is some terminology you need to familiarize yourself with:

  • BTU Output: This indicates how much heat your furnace will be able to generate.
  • AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency): This measure your furnace’s efficiency, how much heat it generates for the amount of fuel used.
  • Furnace Configuration: “Low boy” furnaces put the blower unit in the back and it is a shorter unit. “High boy” furnaces put the blower unit under the heat exchanger and it is taller.

Furnace Types

The type of furnace is determined by the type of fuel it uses to heat your home.  There are reasons to choose each one, safety, cost and the cost of fuel will help you to choose.  Here are the more common furnace types.

  • Gas furnaces: These are probably the most common type of furnaces in the average home. They can last a decade or longer and run on natural gas.  Typically natural gas is cheaper than oil or electric and they can run at 90% efficiency.
  • Electric furnaces: They are the cheapest to buy and install but you will spend a fortune operating them.  It may cost more upfront but gas or even oil will cost you less in the long run.
  • Oil furnaces: Oil furnaces used to be very common and there are still many houses that heat using oil.  These are great when oil prices are down, but it can get expensive when the price of oil rises.  Older furnaces have terrible efficiency, around 65% or even lower.  Newer models that are energy star rated are much better.

Buying Your New System

The number one thing that you should be looking for in a new heating system is efficiency.  A high efficiency furnace will keep your heating bills down going forward, regardless of the type of fuel your furnace uses.  While you are putting in a newer more efficient heating system it’s worth your while to go through your home and find areas where you may be potentially losing heat.  Are the windows and doors sealed properly?  Do you have digital thermostats?  Fix all of these issues when you replace your furnace, your wallet will thank you for it.

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Easy Landscaping for the Busy Homeowner

Good landscaping goes a long way in giving visitors a great first impression of your home. Good landscaping doesn’t have to be high maintenance, let us tell you about easy landscaping for the busy homeowner.  Landscape designers understand how much work goes into make the outside of your home look beautiful and now they have some incredible designs that will always look great with minimal effort on your part.

Add a Deck and Outdoor Kitchen

Adding a deck and increasing the amount of living space that you have in your backyard is a great idea.  By adding a deck or extending a concrete living space actually means you have less grass to mow and fewer flower beds to maintain.  You can create a beautiful seating area along with space for a grill and a fire pit to enjoy roasted marshmallows on a warm summer night.  Have a big outdoor living space gives you a place to entertain guests while enjoying your property at the same time.

Use Mulch Strategically

Instead of putting beds of flowers around the patio in the back yard, you can use beds of mulch instead.  It is cheap, extremely low maintenance, it looks great and you don’t have to deal with weeds or looking after flowers.  You never have to worry about mowing it once a week and it doesn’t require any water at all. You will have to add to it or replace it in the spring each year but that really is less expensive.  If you get cedar or another fragrant mulch, you get low maintenance and a great scent at the same time.

Add Big Flower Pots

If you want the beauty of flowers without the work that goes into them then get yourself flower pots and add them around the outside of your home.  Pots are easy to maintain and you can use a variety of flowers that thrive in different types of soil.  You can place them wherever you like and if that arrangement doesn’t appeal then you can just move them.  Potted flowers rarely get weeds, you just have to water them every once in a while and you’ll be fine.

Try a Rock Garden

There are a couple of ways that you can incorporate rocks into your garden.  You can use stone to create pathways and walkways around the property.  You can use crushed stones in and around your flower beds, white stones look beautiful among your flowers.  Crushed stone never needs to be replaced or maintained, it is cheap and you can pick it up at any garden store.

A rock garden doesn’t have to be boring, you can add different color stones such as grey, orange and browns.  Natural stone can look and feel great on your feet as you walk around your garden.  You can create a Zen-like feel and a wonderful relaxing space.

You can have beautiful landscaping without having to spend everyday watering, mowing and pulling weeds.  You can work with a local landscape company to create the garden for you and you can reap the benefits.

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Renovations that Pay Off

If you are planning to sell your home in the near future and want to get the best asking price possible then you are probably considering doing some renovations.  You don’t want to start ripping out your kitchen before you know what renovations pay off and putting a tidy profit in your profit.  Let’s look at what renovations will make you money.

Breaking Even

Some renovations give a great return and others, you will just recoup the money back that you spent.  In some cases these renovations are worth doing anyway.  Let’s say that you are getting negative feedback from buyers about the kitchen or they hate the color of the living room and you are getting any offers.  It is worth your while to get that issue fixed even if you only break even just to get the home sold.

Kitchens & Bathrooms

Kitchens and baths sell houses…that’s a given, that doesn’t mean you have to gut them to the studs and replace everything.  Upscale remodels rarely pay off unless you bought a house at wholesale prices and you’re doing a complete renovation.  In your kitchen you can often get away with new countertops, appliances and a lick of paint.  The same holds true for your bathroom, there are often cheaper options that will give you the best bang for your buck. You can do simple things like replacing the hardware or refacing the cabinets.  Here are some low cost ideas for your kitchen.

Do As Much of the Work as You Can

The biggest expenses during a renovation are materials and labor, if you can eliminate as much of the labor costs as you can then you can save a fortune. Any of the project that you can do on your own, from hanging drywall to painting will save you money.  Bear in mind that doing it yourself will inevitably take longer and never take on a task that you aren’t capable of doing, that can end up cost you more money.

Looks Matter

When it comes to renovation that pay off then you should pay more attention to appearance.  First impressions are everything!  Unless your buyer is an investor they care more about the paint color in the kitchen then they do about the furnace. As long as things like plumbing, HVAC and electrical are working fine then focus your efforts on making your home more visually appealing.

Ignore Your Own Tastes

If the purpose of the renovation is to increase the value of your home or get a quick sale then ignore what you like and choose things a potential buyer might like.  That means going with neutral paint colors and some of the current remodeling trends.  Talk with your realtor about what buyers are looking for and how you can incorporate this into your renovations.

There are some renovations that just don’t offer a return, these are things like installing a man cave or converting your garage into another room.  Choosing the right renovations can maximize the selling price for your home when the time comes.

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Why You Should Choose Green Construction

There is nothing saying that you can’t have your dream home while reducing your carbon footprint. Green construction doesn’t mean that you have to live in a house made from used soda bottles or opt for a tiny home.  You can still have a conventional home with all of the comforts that go with it while reducing your carbon footprint.  Let’s look at how and why you should do that.

20 years ago an environmentally friendly home was this weird looking structure that cost a fortune to build.  The demand for green technology and the worry about global warming has driven the change in technology in the construction industry.  If you are building a home then it is easy to add eco-friendly methods and a sustainable home.

Lower Cost Building Materials

Using sustainable materials to build a home may cost a bit more upfront but save you money in the long run.  You can choose building materials that are recycled along with being safe and sustainable.  Here are some examples, bamboo is an example of a sustainable wood that can be used in construction.  You can use reclaimed materials from other building sites such as wood or stone.

Tax Perks

There are several tax perks that you can take advantage of when you use eco-friendly construction.  There are tax incentives at the state, federal and local level that encourage green construction.  Adding solar panels to your roof, for example offers huge tax benefits from all three.  You should talk with both your builder and your accountant to see how you can take advantage of the tax credits while you are building your home.

Lower Energy Costs

This is where green energy pays off in the long run. Green buildings are built to use less energy, less gas, water and electricity overall.  The structures are all built to use less and still have modern conveniences.  Green buildings are well insulated; they take advantage of natural light to keep the home at a comfortable temperature throughout the year.  Incorporating solar panels reduces the demand for electricity and keeps the energy bills down throughout the year.

Better Indoor Air Quality

Green construction isn’t just about using sustainable materials it is also about creating a home that is free of toxic chemical that can harm your family.  As you build your home you and your builder will opt for materials that are made from strawboard, linseed oil, wheat and natural linoleum.  The insulation also needs to be free of toxins, you can actually buy insulation that is made from soybeans rather than fiberglass.  Combined with green materials is a state of the art ventilation system that has filters to keep pollutants out of your home while still bringing in fresh air.

The purpose of green construction is to build a durable, long-lasting home that is safe for your family to live in.  It is built to reduce your carbon footprint not just during construction but throughout the lifetime of your home.  Green homes hold more value than a traditional home and make a great a investment in the long run.

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Never Do Renovations Without a Permit

Home renovations are costly and time consuming and if you have been thinking about skipping the whole permit process to save you time and money, you should think again.  Never do renovations without a permit.  Permits are expensive and getting them can delay your completion date but not getting your proper permits can cost you far more in the end.  You may even have friends who did work on their home without ever getting a permit and you think to yourself “what’s the harm” or you may not even realize that you need a permit for the work you want to do.  Nonetheless permits are almost always required and there actually pretty good reasons to get them.  Don’t forget that a renovation without getting the proper permits is actually illegal.

Getting Caught

Let’s say for argument’s sake you’re in the middle of a renovation that you didn’t secure permits for and the building inspector shows up.  Not only does he have the power to stop all work on your project but that is not the only thing they have the power to do.  Let’s start with the heavy fine that he can impose on you, the homeowner.  In some cases they also have the power to tell you to undo all the work you have done until the proper permits are in place, so if you have built a shed on your property for example they can tell you to tear it down.  Even minor renovations can require a permit, check for a permit if you are doing anything with the plumbing or electrical, building decks or patios or anything else for that matter.  It is always better to be safe than sorry.

Building Codes

One of the reasons that you are required to have a permit is to make sure that your property meets existing building codes.  Building codes are there to make sure that your home is safe and structurally sound.  If you are working with a contractor and they tell you to “don’t worry about a permit” you need to find a new contractor.  Chances are pretty good they aren’t reliable and their work probably won’t stand up to inspection, it is also likely that they don’t have the proper licenses or insurance either.  If you manage to get your project completed without a permit and you go to sell your house in the future you may face problems that could hold up the sale or affect the price.

It’s Worth the Hassle

Yes, getting the proper permit can be a hassle but the system is there to protect you. You will have to present your building plans while you apply for the permits and you will have to have an inspector come out during the project to ensure you’re following building codes. Permits protect you from shady contractors, subpar work and it makes sure your home is safe and structurally sound.  Don’t treat permits as a hassle but rather think of them as an investment in your family’s safety.





Now that you’ve tackled all of your home renovations it’s time to tackle your landscaping too. For a local tree service Rochester  that you can count on to be there when you need it you should call Rochester Tree Service!

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