4 Great Tips on Updating Your Patio

patio door

Everyone loves having a patio, as it adds space to the home and really increases a house’s overall livability. But over time, as with any home feature, patios can become outdated and need to be upgraded. Now is the ideal time to start thinking about how your patio, as well as the part of your home leading out to the patio, can be upgraded. Not only will this potentially add value to your home; it can also simply make it more enjoyable to be in.

Before beginning upgrades to your patio, make sure that you prioritize what most needs to be altered. Are your patio doors letting in drafts? Replacing them may help you lower heating costs. Is the base of your patio damaged in some way? By having it repaved and making necessary replacements, you can potentially make it much more livable, and perhaps even grill out on your patio in the future. With these considerations in mind, let’s explore some of the patio updates that you may want to consider this year.

1. Create a Cooking Space

Grilling isn’t the only way that you can cook out on your patio. You can also add an entire outdoor kitchen to your patio. Lots of people do this by adding an outdoor oven, often made of brick. Although some people have outdoor ovens as part of their patios largely for the aesthetic appeal, they can be used to make wood-fire dishes, especially pizzas.

An outdoor kitchen is a great way to bring the party to your patio. Instead of having to move in and out of the kitchen, pushing through patio doors as you carry trays of food to your guests, you can cook right in front of them. Additionally, an outdoor cooking space can act as a kind of centerpiece for your patio, making it easier for everyone to congregate with each other.

2. Change the Doors

If you’d like, you can really change the aesthetic of your patio by changing up your patio doors. A lot of people have doors leading out of their houses that naturally create a bit of a divide between indoor and outdoor spaces. They may be solid and visually block access to the patio. Perhaps they’re simply older, and as previously mentioned, let in drafts that drive up energy costs. A great option for you would be investing in French doors, or other types of doors that incorporate a lot of glass and therefore allow for more transparency between indoor and outdoor spaces.

No matter what your reasons for investing in a new patio door, you need to make sure that you work with professional installers. Quite often, the reason why drafts occur is that people attempt to install doors themselves, rather than trusting the professionals. Don’t let this happen to you. Both windows and doors need to be installed professionally.

3. Add a Fire Pit

So maybe an outdoor kitchen is too much for you, but you would still like a place for people to gather around. Why not add a fire pit? A fire pit is almost like an outdoor fireplace, often grounded with bricks or stone. It’s quite attractive and trendy, and you can center your patio furniture around it.

Furthermore, a fire pit has the added bonus of making your patio more enjoyable throughout the year. Rather than having to stick to the summers for nights out on the patio, you can warm up and huddle around the fire pit.

4. Create a Basic Deck

Maybe a flat patio isn’t ideal for your home anymore. You may want to change it up by elevating your outdoor space, quite literally, with a deck.

This is particularly ideal if you’re in a home that’s in a wetter, marshier area. Not only will a deck potentially give you a better water view if you’re in a waterfront house; it can also be more resistant to sinking, unlike a patio.

Remember: a patio is ultimately not just about adding value to your home, but adding enjoyment to it. Cater to your own needs and wants, and make sure that you get the patio of your dreams!

5 Ways to Reduce Energy Costs at Home

retractable window awning

Are you looking for ways to save money and live a more eco-friendly and sustainable lifestyle? Going green at home is easier than you might think. Below are five ways you can make a positive change to your carbon footprint today.

1. Install Energy-Efficient Windows

Approximately 30% of a home’s heating energy is lost through windows. For this reason, installing double-paned windows instead of single-paned products can cut your total energy bill.

It’s advisable to use windows with Low-E coatings, for example. They reflect more light and minimize thermal energy entering your home, and in this way, Low-E coatings decrease heat gain.

You can also lessen heat loss by 10% to 20% if you install interior or exterior storm windows in severe weather environments. It’s possible to save $20 to $95 every year on your energy costs through ENERGY STAR windows.

Other measures include window shades, screens, shutters, and a retractable window awning. A retractable window awning stops the sun from streaming through the windows and sliding glass. As a result, it keeps your home temperatures cooler, leading to low air-conditioning expenses.

2. Keep an Eye on Water Heating Costs

Heating water accounts for the biggest chunk of your energy bill. So, one way of reducing water-heating expenses is to buy an efficient water heater. When you’re away or in bed, ensure that your thermostat is 10 to 15 degrees lower on the water heater. Coupled with insulating your water heater, you may save 5% to 15% annually.

3. Buy Energy-Efficient Electronics

Outdated appliances with high operating costs per annum will gnaw at your energy bill. Instead, buy electrical gadgets that have the ENERGY STAR label. It’s a seal of approval by the federal government that these products consume less energy when used or off.

4. Use Smart Trips

Your electricity bill can shoot up to $200 a year owing to energy waste. It’s because while your electronics are off, they still use electricity known as “phantom loads.” If you don’t control phantom loads, you’ll lose much energy. Smart trips can help you decrease energy waste since they shut off power through remote switches when your appliances are off.

5. Replace Incandescent Light Bulbs

The old-type of incandescent light bulbs use lots of electricity. To save on your energy expenses, swap them out with compact fluorescent lights (CFLs), halogen incandescent bulbs, and light-emitting bulbs (LEDs). All these lights use between 25% and 80% less energy and are three to 25 times more durable than conventional bulbs.

Installing dimmer switches can go a long way in controlling your energy costs. With these light controls, you can also set the brightness you desire, saving you electricity.

These simple tips can save you money, protect your environment, and increase your property value.