Tips For Living In a Wooden House In Winter

Wooden houses are pretty much made for Winter. Think about it: a nice, roaring fire in the fireplace. Snow falling softly outside. A twinkling Christmas tree in the corner. Everyone sipping on hot cocoa and singing carols. It is an image that is deeply engrained in the consciousness of many and for good reason.

But you don’t have to rent a ski cabin to get that feeling. You can find it in your own log cabin, a gorgeous and valuable bit of real estate that is perfect for anyone who wants that serenity and calm all year long.

Wooden houses take a bit more care through the year. So here is what you need to know before you buy your own log cabin, so it will be ready once the weather turns cold.

Take Local Weather Into Account

Not everyone has extreme weather where they live. If your Winters aren’t especially harsh then you can probably get away with minimal preparation and be fine. But if you live in an area that gets very wet or cold you will have to take extra care so you don’t damage the lumber, something that is very easy to do without proper wood treatment.

Heat is another factor, so if you live in a very hot climate make sure you are taking the same precautions every year. The sun can be just as damaging as the damp.

Don’t worry, even extreme weather can’t break down the strength and beauty of wood, as long as you take care of it. With proper intervention a wooden house can be passed down for generations.

Make Sure That Fireplace Works

That roaring fire in the image above? That can be your reality but you have to make sure you fireplace is in tip top order. Any improperly maintained fireplace is, of course, a risk. But in a wooden house you have an additional threat if sparks catch, so don’t skimp out!

Make sure your home is zoned for a fireplace. Keep the chimney cleaned and sweep it every year before the cold months when you are going to be using it most. Put a good dampener on that can be opened and closed easily. That will let you open it for use, but keep it closed when not in use so air doesn’t leap out. It also stops critters like birds, bats, arachnids, insects and small mammals from wandering inside and causing a major headache.

Be Ready To Stain and Seal

A log cabin has to be restained every three to five years to keep the wood in good condition. This is well worth the cost as your home is an investment that is worth a great deal more than what you put into the upkeep.

Failing to restain your house will lead to cracks in the wood, warping and even rot. Replacing logs is expensive and difficult, usually requiring a contractor experienced in woodwork to come and do it for you. The staining, on the other hand, is a DIY job most people can complete on their own. It can run you anywhere between $1500 and $5000 depending on the size of the house and any extensions (such as wooden garages), but for an expense every few years it is relatively low.

Weatherstripping Is Your Best Friend

Even without any gaps in the wood, leaks can happen in log cabins. Like any dwelling there are drafts around windows and doors, or in attics and basements. This can be frustrating for homeowners who want to keep the chill away from their abode, but worry about the high energy costs needed to do it. Some turn to firewood to keep the warmth up, but that does nothing if it is escaping through the cracks.

Weatherstripping is inexpensive and easy to do yourself. You can seal the windows and doors to keep air from leaking and keep that warmth in with your family. Most hardware stores have kits with full instructions and YouTube has great information videos showing the process.

It even helps once Summer comes, keeping that cool air inside!

Extra Insulation Makes For a Cozy Cottage

If you don’t mind a heavier project that takes a bit more time and expertise, you may want to consider adding some extra insulation to your home. Insulation helps to keep from air escaping the way weatherstripping does. It is especially helpful in wooden homes because of drafts pushing through the logs.

The attic is one particular area where extra insulation can completely change the way your house conserves energy. Warm air tends to move upward, so if you have a drafty attic space, even if it is a small crawlspace, it can let out a lot of it. Adding in some insulation will keep it trapped inside from the leakiest part of the house, which keeps it down in the rooms where you and your family live.

Heavy Curtains Make a Big Difference

If insulation isn’t possible, or if you just want an additional tool to keep your house warm, heavy curtains can do the trick. Thick enough to block out the light, these babies also keep heat from going through the window. The heavier the fabric, the better the warm air will remain where it is meant to be, in your house.

You can use a lighter weight curtain if you worry about reinforcing the rods enough to keep something heavier in place. Just make sure you add a layer or two to give the highest possible barrier around your windows.

Keep Those Critters Out

Finally, you have the critter problem. Insects, arachnids, small mammals like rats, mice and even raccoons… these are all possible hazards to your wooden home. Termites can eat right through the wood and other creatures might claw and gnaw in through the lumber.

Be prepared to seal your house every Winter and consider spraying for pests before the first snow hits. That will keep the problem at bay before it ever gets out of hand.

The Benefits of Having an Energy Star Certified House

For two decades, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is pushing energy-efficiency in homes. From this, the Energy Star in new homes was conceptualized. It aims to prevent pollution of the air while at the same time giving homes the much-needed adjustments towards energy efficiency.

For home buyers who are on the hunt for their dream homes, it is very important to look for Energy Star compliant homes. While the prices may be higher than homes established right before its implementation, buyers are guaranteed to save along the way from the prices slashed on energy costs.

And because going green is an in thing, those who invest in Energy Star homes are also assured of profits when they choose to sell them.

New construction homes are also required to follow new building codes. These requirements are also in line with the energy-efficiency methods prescribed by EPA.

How about appliances that you’ll be putting in your new homes?

You don’t have to worry too. Appliances manufacturers are also following Energy Star prescriptions. Thus, when shopping for TV, refrigerator, aircon, or any other home appliance you want to add in your new home, just look for the Energy Star sign. With this, you are assured that they are more energy-efficient than same appliances without such compliance tags.

Any other benefits, aside from less operating costs on monthly basis?

New construction homes that comply with Energy Star have added benefits. Given that the design is geared to cut energy costs, you can be assured that during warm months, the windows can give entry to natural and cool air. During cold months, the added insulation can provide heat and in fact trap the warm air circulating inside the house.

Another benefit that comes with Energy Star homes is the improved air quality inside the house. The ducts are made sure to be tightly sealed. They prevent air pollutants and even pests from finding their ways into the house. An improved indoor air quality is beneficial to the health – especially to those who have respiratory conditions.

If you are indeed a first time home buyer and you need the help of mortgage lenders, choosing Energy Star homes is quite a good choice. Many lenders are favoring these homes and within your locality, you might just be able to score one with lower origination fees.

If you are considering of buying an energy-efficient home, tapping the aid of your local real estate agent can help you a lot.

4 Green Home Renovation Tips to Tune Your House With Nature This New Year

The New Year is one of the most anticipated and most celebrated holidays. It is during this time when family and friends gather together and share merry-making activities and mouth-watering dishes to give thanks for the blessings that were received the entire year. But before the year ends, many individuals also indulge themselves into various home renovation efforts and re-imagine their house as if new. If you are one of those individuals looking for some tips, here are some suggestions that can overhaul the look of your house while making it more eco-friendly.

Add plants inside out.

The garden is not the only part of your property where plants are supposed to be planted. Even inside your house, you can add some greens in potted forms. Choose those that grow minimal heights. They can be placed in the middle of a center table or a side table. It is better to choose plants that have light menthol scent in order to bring an aroma that mosquitoes and other insects avoid. You can hang ornamental plants in your terrace using empty plastic bottles. Decorate them if you wish.

Use tables made of wood or bamboo.

Wood and bamboo are two materials that will never be out of top lists when it comes to tables. Aside from being cheaper than steel and glass counterparts, they are more eco-friendly too. Their sources are renewable. They can also lessen the carbon foot print of your household.

Colorize your walls with zero-VOC paints.

Paints have long been used to transform the looks and give new life to idle spaces. If you are tired with how your wall appears, this is the perfect time to splat it with new colors and hues through zero-VOC paints. This type of paint is harmless to the indoor air. They are deprived of chemicals and thus are non-hazardous to the health. Choices of color depends on your mood, motif, or what appearance you want to achieve and impart. For the coming year, general recommendations include earth colors.

Inspire your garden with plastic bottle built-wall.

Aside from selling empty plastic bottles to junk yards, another eco-friendly idea with them is for use on walls. With ample amount of cement, you can actually eliminate the use of hollow blocks to form a wall. Plastic bottle-built walls are starting to gain attention because of its sustainability. Some are even making colorful patterns with the use of colored cement. If you are still empty of this idea, you can browse the web and look for patterns and inspirations.

Indeed the New Year is one of the most appropriate times to do home renovation. But a home owner should never forget to keep in mind that with changes, the environment should always be considered, especially these days when green efforts are strongly pushed through.

Energy Efficient House Design Tips

The year 2017, according to the Chinese Zodiac, is the year of the Fire Rooster. The Pantone color of the year is green. Despite green being the year’s color, do you know that there are other ways to atone your house to the idea of becoming green? One method is by making your house more energy-efficient. The rest of the article gives you some tips on how to align your house design towards energy efficiency.

  • Be wise with your choice – fans over lights!

Making your house cooler is a much more energy-efficient way than making it appear brighter. Achieve this by installing fans in each room rather than putting lights. During summer, you’ll see the great benefits.

  • Higher tag price isn’t always quality.

There are many fixtures you may want for your house. Browsing through the internet and looking at glossy home magazines will open your eyes to a lot of pricy and classy home fixtures. But do you know that quality does not mean expensive?

There are quality choices that will not burn you off much of your hard-earned money. For instance, cheaper bathroom and kitchen fixtures may have the same energy-efficient capacities than more expensive ones. The same principle applies to other household appliances.

  • Window coverings over more windows

Windows should be strategically placed in areas where the right amount of natural sunlight can enter. By this, you’re actually saving a lot of energy. You won’t be needing to turn of your fluorescents and lamps at an earlier time.

During the day, when you just want to have a darker setting, you just need the right curtains, drapes, or blinds to cover the window. This will also prove useful during winter months.

  • Install rugs and carpets.

The winter months can really give chilling effects to the skin. By these months, you’re on to wearing your thickest pieces of clothing. You’re also burning more woods in your fireplaces. But do you know that you can have a more efficient way of getting more heat inside your house? The secret lies with the proper choice of rugs and carpets on specific house parts. Aside from getting the house decorated, these home decor help trap warm air to give you a warmer feel.

  • Rethink of your ceiling – do you want it lower or higher?

Higher ceiling creates a more spacious look and feel. Lower ceiling gives you an easier way to heat or cool the house and cut your energy costs.

Are you seeking for an existing home which is energy-efficient? Don’t be afraid to contact your local real estate broker. Your choice might just be in his or her listings.