Valentine's Day presents an opportunity to cherish the people you hold near and dear, but what about the thing that truly keeps you warm at night… your own home?
What do you appreciate most about your house? If you can't come up with a list of "Top 10 Reasons Why I Love My House", then maybe it's time to make a list of what you DO want in a home, then make some time for us to review it together and see if there's a better fit for you in today's market.
While quality of the neighborhood and convenience to employment are important factors in today's purchasing decision, your new home itself must also fit your specific needs. For example, families with children need room to grow, and quality of the school district and proximity to schools, parks and recreational facilities will also rank high on their lists. At the other end of the spectrum, families whose children have grown up and moved on may be happier with a smaller home requiring less upkeep, or may be looking for a different layout – less stairs in the house or even a condo, for example – or closer proximity to health facilities. Affordability, of course, is important for every age group and housing type.
If you're ready to split from your current home and find one that better suits your needs, please call today to find out how to get back on the market!
Hearty Lentil Soup
1. Heat oil in a large saucepan. Stir in onion, celery and carrots; cook until soft, about three minutes. Add garlic, chili pepper, ground coriander, curry and turmeric and stir for an additional minute.
2. Stir in lentils, water and broth.
3. Bring soup to a boil, then cover and simmer for about 35 minutes, until lentils are very soft. Stir frequently to prevent lentils from sticking.
4. Season with salt and fresh-ground pepper as necessary, and garnish with fresh herbs before serving.
As the cost of energy inches ever higher, homeowners look for ways to lower the bills. With that in mind, let's discuss some of the more common ways energy is wasted around the house.
Inadequate insulation; drafty windows and doors; air leaks where wires, pipes, and ducts pass through your house; and exterior cracks and gaps – a leaky envelope is the biggest culprit behind energy loss, so tighten things up: add extra insulation, caulk, weatherstrip, and seal.
Heating and cooling costs constitute the majority of your energy bill. Old equipment or equipment that hasn't been well maintained has to work harder, costing you more money, so be sure to change air filters regularly, seal and clean ducts, and replace dated equipment.
Today's models are much more efficient: fridges have more insulation; front-load washers wring out more water so dryers needn't work as hard; and dishwashers have more energy-efficient motors, for example. If you want to waste even less energy, don't just buy new appliances, buy ENERGY STAR appliances.
Many home appliances and electronics draw power even when turned off – these energy vampires often have lights indicating they're in standby mode. Unplug such devices when not in use, or, more convenient, plug them into "smart" power strips, which completely cut power to devices not in use.
Lighting may not account for a major portion of your energy bill, but replacing incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs is one of the easiest ways to reduce energy waste. CFLs use 75 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs and last about 10 times longer.