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December Home Maintenance Tips

Seasonal home maintenance helps to keep your home running smoothly, protects your investments, and may decrease your home repair costs. Since winter is the un-friendliest season of the year, you shouldn’t allow winter maintenance to go by during the busiest time of the year. Follow these December home maintenance tips before things get rough around the house.

• Disconnect all your garden hoses and wrap all exterior pipes and spigots.
• Find cold drafts seeping in through windows and properly seal with caulk or weather-stripping.
• Clean out your chimney or hire a professional chimney cleaner if you’re unsure how to properly clean it yourself.
• Clean out your dryer vents or this will create a big fire risk.
• Change your air filter as this will ensure your system is running more efficiently and will cut down on allergens.
• Clean your gutters from the fall buildup of leaves.
• Check that all your exterior electrical components are working properly.
• Check for loose or broken shingles on your roof.
• Survey your attic and insulation in order to lower your heating bill.
• Replace the batteries to your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
• Finally, if haven’t already, safely set up decorations and Christmas lights around your home.

Keep following Liberty Builders’ blogs for your monthly home maintenance checklists.

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Replace Your Windows before winter

Replacing your windows during the fall is essential for many reasons. The autumn weather is a great time to prepare for harsh weather conditions to come. Fall is the end of the busy season for window installers. Damaged windows can have broken frames, cracked glass, or improper sealing. By replacing your windows now, you’re ensuring a lower energy bill in the winter months and more secure protection from burglars.
According to a report done by CNN, burglary rates increase in the summer and in December. And, some cities experienced their greatest number of burglaries in the two weeks following Christmas. You can help protect against break-ins by purchasing Generation Windows from Liberty Builders. The Generations Secure glass package will help provide security protection 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Since this tough glass can stand up to repeated blows from common burglary tools like bricks, bats, hammers and crowbars, it is backed by a $1,000 break-in protection warranty.
The plastic interlayer in our Generations Secure glass package acts as a filter hat blocks out more noise than ordinary glass by as much as 50% resulting in a quieter and more comfortable interior home environment. Other benefits include lifetime protection on vinyl components, hardware, screens, and glass seal failure, and lowering your energy costs by at least 40%.
Act now as the colder temperature weather can present unique window installation challenges, such as caulk not settling well or difficulty accomplishing a tight seal. However, if you choose to replace your windows during the winter, it is the slow season for window replacements and you could schedule based on your availability.
No matter when you choose to have your windows replaced, we can get the job done. Give Liberty Builders a call today to determine the best needs for you and your home. We also provide free in-home consultations.

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5 Easy Home Projects to do Before Winter

November is the month to ensure your house is ready for the winter. With the cold weather now in place, you’ll want to finalize all exterior home maintenance so that your energy costs are lowered during the winter months. Here are five things to do to your home in November.

1. INSULATE YOUR ATTIC
Whether you live in a hot or cold climate, your attic floor is the most important area in your home to insulate. This fully insulated area will not only help keep heat where you want it, but will also keep the lid on your energy costs. The basic principle of good insulation is that you want to keep heat energy from escaping.

2. PUT LEAVES TO GOOD USE
Don’t leave autumn leaves untouched on your lawn or they may smother the grass and lead to a variety of insect and disease problems. Put them through a leaf shredder, rake them up and use them as fall mulch on flower or vegetable beds with a little fertilizer.

3. HANG A BIRD FEEDER
Food is scarce in the winter so human assistance is especially important. Feeders also provide pit stops for birds on the way to warmer climates, or returning home when spring finally arrives.

4. ORGANIZE YOUR GARAGE
With colder temperatures, it will be necessary to get your car into the garage. Take a weekend to clear the clutter.

5. INSTALL A PROGRAMMABLE THERMOSTAT
Electronic programmable thermostats allow you to set target temperatures for each day of the week and each period of the day, depending on your schedule. According to the Department of Energy, you can save 5% to 15% a year on your heating bill by turning your thermostat back 10° to 15° for 8 hours.

Keep reading our blogs for all your home repair tips!

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Back to School Energy Saving Tips

Fall is in the air and the kids are going back to school. With shorter days on the horizon and bigger energy consumption due to cooling temperatures and more indoor and school-related activities, here are a few tips from Liberty Builders to help you and your family save energy. While it may be fall on the calendar, it’s still summer weather for most of Texas when it comes to temperature. Keep the air conditioner off during the day while you and the kids are away from home and then turn it on when everyone’s home to feel the cool air. Use fans to keep cool air circulating around the house. Tell your kid’s to keep electronics plugged into a surge protector to keep electronics safe from electrical surges and keep homework safe. For fall backyard activities, try using cost-effective lighting like torches, candles or LED lights. Take advantage of the still long hours of sunlight and try to keep the lights in your home off for as long as possible; an unobstructed window can easily light many rooms in the average home. Finally, check your home for any leaks or gaps in doors and windows that let out cold air: even a small leak can turn into a big draft as the weather gets colder. Seal any gaps or cracks, and if the job is too big for you don’t worry, just give the pros at Liberty Builders a call and we’ll come right over to inspect your home for cracks, leaks and gaps.
For more energy saving tips, be sure to follow Liberty’s Builders’ blog for more helpful energy saving tips.

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Energy Saving Tips for the Whole Family

The kids are going back to school and that means their electronics won’t get a moment of reprieve. This zealous use of energy and resources can cause a serious spike in your energy bill. These tips are designed to help teach the whole family how to be a little more energy efficient. Make sure that kids close the refrigerator and freezer doors. More than a third of the cold air in your refrigerator can escape every time the door is open. Summer is not over in Texas and that means the days are still hot. Keep curtains closed during the day to keep the sun at bay and adjust the thermostat by about 10 degrees in the summer months. Remind children that an adult should be the only one to adjust the thermostat. When your family leaves the room, turn off any lights or electrical devices: encourage kids to remember to turn off their laptops, video game consoles and TVs when they’re not in use or when they’re not in the room. Use a timer to help teach your kids how to take shorter baths and showers that will help reduce on water usage and waste. Encourage your children to report any burned out light bulbs so that they can be replaced with compact florescent bulbs, which save about $30 dollars in energy cost over the life of the light bulb. When organizing chore charts set any chores that involve the dishwasher, washing machine or dryer until after 8pm. This will keep your home cool despite the heat that can be put out by washing machines, dryers and dishwashers. Only run complete loads of dishes or clothes and any smaller loads of dishes or clothes should be air-dried on the counter or outside on a clothesline.

These energy tips can help keep your electric bills low and teach the whole family invaluable lessons on energy management and energy efficiency. Contact Liberty Builders if you suspect that your home may not be as energy efficient as possible: we can help seal any cracks doors or windows that can waste energy.

 

Sources:

http://www.mortgagecalculator.org/helpful-advice/energy-saving-for-kids.php

http://www.alliantenergykids.com/EnergyandTheEnvironment/SavingEnergy/022391

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Keeping Your Summer Electric Bill Cool: Energy-Efficient Ways to Cool Your Home

Summer’s heat can be oppressive in South Texas and high heat and longer days can mean soaring electric bills. High heat forces us indoors with air conditioning units cranked up to the coolest possible settings, and the drain of increased energy consumption isn’t just felt on our wallets: it takes a huge toll on power grids and the nation’s energy consumption as a whole. There are plenty of incentives to finding more energy-efficient ways to cool your home down in the summer that go beyond lower energy bills and a reduced carbon footprint. Here are a few tips on keeping your home cool while keeping an eye on your energy consumption.

Turn off as many electrical appliances and devices as possible when not in use or if you’re out of the house. Keeping the lights on may be a force of habit but only 10-15% of the electricity used by most conventional light bulbs is used to produce light – the rest is simply turned into heat. The longer summer days produce a great deal of sunlight that can be an effective method to light most rooms in many houses and apartments. Run appliances like dishwashers and washing machines when they’re full. Running half or small loads of laundry or dishes simply eats up valuable energy and these appliances can generate a great deal of heat in the rooms they’re in. Turn your air conditioner off when you’re out of the house. While it may be nice to return to an ice cold home, leaving the A/C running during the day with no one to enjoy its benefit is a massive drain of electrical energy. Ceiling and box fans can be a great way to help circulate cool air but leave them on just long enough to cool a room to the desired temperature. Opening windows during the late afternoon and early evening can be a fantastic way to cool off a home but if you keep the windows open but sure to keep the A/C off otherwise the cool air is simply being blown out the window. Check your home for cracks and gaps in windows and doors. These gaps and cracks can let warm air leak in and cool air leak out making your A/C unit work harder to cool a room and that strain on the A/C unit will increase your electric bill.

For more green solutions to cooling your home and checking for cracks and potential building concerns give Liberty Builders a call. We’re here to help.

Source:

http://energy.gov/energysaver/spring-and-summer-energy-saving-tips

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6 Signs You Need To Replace Your Windows

Now that Spring has arrived, it’s time for some home improvements. The winter can provide some damage to your home, especially to your windows. Be aware of how winter weather can affect them. If you didn’t take any precautions for winter or if you are not aware of how to notice window damage, here are some warning signs.

  • Condensation: Can you see out of the window? Condensation, fading, and discoloration can all affect your windows. Ugly windows will lower the value and appeal of your home. If you can’t see inside or outside, it is time for replacements.
  • Energy Efficiency: Is your energy bill higher? If your HVAC unit is working harder than normal, it is because your windows are old and are letting outside air in. This leads to higher electric bills. You’ll be able to tell this is happening if your windows appear to be leaking and it’s not condensation.
  • Cracked / Damaged: How difficult is it to crack a window open? A definite sign that you need your windows replaced is when you struggle to open and close them. If you can feel or hear a draft seeping through, this might be a sign that your windows aren’t shutting properly either and it is time to replace.
  • Exterior Noise: Can you hear your neighbors fighting? Good windows should be able to reduce exterior noise. An improved window design can drown out those loud car horns and neighbors.
  • Insects / Critters: Have you found more insects indoors? If you spot mice and other outdoor critters crawling about your floors, they could be coming in through cracks found on your window glass or sill.
  • Rotting: How old is your house? When living in an older home, the window wood might be rotting and the window design look could be outdated. Update the look of your home by replacing the windows, while also lowering your energy bill and complementing your home’s exterior with something more attractive.

To be sure about window damage, call our local window services for an in-home consultation.

 

modernize.com

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5 Things to Replace and Repair This Spring

Winter can cause some serious damage to your home. That’s why March isn’t just for spring cleaning anymore, it’s for home repairs too. Wall cracks, gutter damage, and window damage are all signs that your house endured a rough winter. If you’re experiencing post-winter damage to your home, here is what you need to be focused on for repairs and replacements this Spring.

1. Replace your windows. Cold weather will make it easier to leave your windows with smudges and streaks. Replacing them could be costly so you should also invest in caulk or weather strips. However, gradually replace windows in every room to avoid the large bill.

2. Repair your gutters, downspouts, and roofs. You should have gutters and downspouts cleaned come spring so that water can flow through them easily. Gutters should be facing away from the house to stop water pooling around the foundation. Gutter covers may also be helpful. Check for leaks coming from the roof. Patch newer roofs but older roofs over 20 years need more maintenance.

3. Paint the house. Rain and snow are big detriments of paint. For better curb appeal, repaint your home or select a brand new color for some difference.

4. Install a new heating system. It may be time to install a new one depending on the age of the house and unit. For best results, find a system that carries the EnergyStar label. Have your filters checked and replaced if your existing systems are still in good condition. Replace filters when they are dark and clogged.

5. Install more insulation. To reduce heat loss or gain, you’ll want to begin with the attic. Adding insulation will reduce your utility bills. If you install more where you already have some, you will save energy as well. You can save greater amounts of energy if you install insulation into places in your home that have never been insulated. Radiant Barriers would be a a great cost effective upgrade. This type of insulation includes a heat reflective material that will keep your home cool during the upcoming summer months.

Checking these 5 items off your home repair list will keep up the value of your home and save you heartache in the years to come.  Now is the time to start your home repair before it’ too late. If you are looking to help don’t forget to contact Liberty Builders. We offer free estimates for a variety of home improvement services.

realtor.org

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Renovations Engineered for Efficiency

When remodeling, homeowners are looking for ways to increase the value and functionality of their home. And what better way to do that than by upgrading to the latest and greatest in home efficiency?

Plugging up leaks that allow cold and hot air to slip into your house and drive up your energy bill is an important first step in creating an energy-efficient home. These leaks are often found around doors and windows, but could also be hidden in your attic.

That’s where we come in! From attic insulation to energy-efficient windows and room additions, Liberty Builders of Texas has the knowledge and training to install the best products on the market. Products that will not only impress potential buyers, but will help you live comfortably and save you money in maintenance and energy costs year after year. Here are just a few ways we can help:

  1. Windows – Replacing old, leaky windows with higher-efficiency models can make your home greener to begin with. Add in Liberty’s Generations Windows and you’ll experience up to a 40% decrease in energy costs! And if that isn’t enough, at Liberty Builders all San Antonio windows and doors are upgraded with our Secure Glass Package to protect against break-ins and reduce outside noise by 50% when compared to ordinary glass.
  1. Doors – Having a quality exterior door that isn’t wood or a heavy metal can help reduce drafts and cut energy bills drastically while improving your home’s appearance. At Liberty Builders, we believe in Therma-Tru fiberglass doors because they offer 5X greater insulation value than wood and more than 2X the air infiltration performance of high-quality steel.
  1. Patio Enclosures – Whether you have an existing roof or patio that you want to convert into an air-conditioned space or are starting from scratch, Liberty Builders can help design the perfect enclosure to fit your needs. Not only do we use the insulated aluminum roof and wall panel system in your enclosure, we build around our premium energy-saving windows and doors to help your sunroom achieve the best possible performance in energy loss prevention.
  1. Attic Insulation – “It turns out that about half of the homes in the United States are under-insulated,” says Kateri Callahan, president of the Alliance to Save Energy. With those odds, there’s a good chance your home isn’t as insulated as it should be, resulting in major energy loss. Our offering of Owens Corning attic insulation can cut heating and cooling costs by up to 20%, keeping your home comfortable all year round.

Renovating for efficiency can seem like a daunting and expensive task, but it doesn’t have to be. Plan your renovation in stages with Liberty Builders of Texas and your home will be energy efficient in no time! Give us a call today at (210) 714-1655 for a free in-home consultation!

(Source: Realtor Mag & Money.USNews.com)

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4 Home Improvements to Increase The Value of Your Home

The beginning of the year is a popular time for homeowners to consider remodeling. Whether due to a New Year’s Resolution of finally putting a home on the market or simply to make a house more comfortable and appealing, remodeling is a hot topic in the housing sector during January and February. Carefully considering which remodeling projects you choose to take on can result in a valuable investment that recoups a great deal more money than the cost of the projects themselves. That being said, here are 5 of the best home improvement projects for your return:

  1. Exterior Siding Replacement–Replacing siding is one of the most inexpensive ways to make a home’s exterior look virtually brand new. Additionally, all Liberty Builders siding replacements include the installation of a Blue foam board by Dow to ensure durability and save you money overtime due to increased insulation. According to Business Insider, siding adds an average of 78 percent return at resale. And once installed, replacement siding requires little maintenance and lasts for up to twenty-five years.
  2. Front Door Replacement–A front door not only adds to a home’s overall curb appeal, but also makes a big first impression since it’s the first part of your home that visitors will see up close. When replacing your front door, it’s a smart move is to invest in an energy efficient door. Having a quality exterior door in San Antonio can help reduce draft and cut your energy bill.
  3. Deck or Patio Addition–Outdoor living spaces have become more desirable, especially in San Antonio where the weather is rather warm year round. Adding a deck or patio will certainly increase the value of your home. HGTV claims that homeowners recoup 65-90 percent of their investment by adding a deck or upgrading a patio.
  4. Energy-Efficient Insulation–If your home lacks basic insulation and has old doors or windows that let in plenty of hot and cold air, home inspectors will include this in their reports to potential homebuyers. Homes that haven’t been modified with energy efficiency in mind cost more to live in and maintain. By updating your home, you can increase your value while saving thousands of dollars just by making a few changes. For example, adding extra insulation to your attic and replacing old windows with new energy efficient ones will save you 40 percent on your utility bill.

While adding an outdoor living space may seem like an exciting endeavor, it is important to focus on the smaller home improvement projects as well. Projects like staining your concrete, applying a new coat of paint, and replacing damaged floors are all affordable projects that can result in an increased home value down the road.

Ready to update your home? Call Liberty Builders of Texas at (210) 714-1655 for a free in-home consultation!

 

Source: Business Insider and Money Crashers