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Getting Homes in Shape for Summer Festivities

Most people love the warm sunny days and relaxed attitudes that summer evokes. Children running in and out of the house all day and frequent outdoor evening parties are just some of the scenes that are played out during those fleeting three months that fall between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Here are some home improvement projects that can help households to get the most out of their property during the warm-weather months.

Energy-Saving Initiatives
Obtaining a home energy assessment (1) is one of the first things one should do in preparation for summer. Summer break means that many children are at home, and residential air conditioning units generally run full time depending on regional climates. A professional energy auditor may recommend things like laying in extra insulation in walls or attics, installing insulated entry doors or replacing builder-grade windows with ones that feature multiple-pane, Low-E glass. These home improvements make family members more comfortable, and they often help households to save money on their utility bills in the long term.

Roof Makeovers For Energy Harvesting
Summer is a great time for homeowners to consider tapping into the earth’s most reliable and free energy supply which is the sun. Traditional solar panels that are connected to a home’s electrical system can collect the sun’s energy for use while the home remains on the power grid. Improvements in photovoltaic system designs and functions have made it even more practical for homeowners to begin using solar energy to power their living spaces. Companies like Dow and CertainTeed (2) manufacture relatively thin yet durable roof shingles that are made from materials that collect solar energy without marring homes’ architectural profiles. Consider hiring a roofing contractor to get the job done efficiently and effectively.

Party-Ready Outdoor Living Spaces
One of the great benefits of summer is the opportunity to turn one’s backyard into party central for evening gatherings. This can be accomplished by creating outdoor living rooms using a little imagination and some design assistance. While obtaining professional design help is nearly always the ticket to great results, handy persons have success with the many do-it-yourself plans that are available for sale at the large hardware stores or online. Some items that are required for these outdoor transformations are patio pavers, outdoor lighting fixtures, potted plants and even decking materials. Many of these outdoor living spaces are even ideal for drought-prone areas.

Rainwater Collection Systems
Although places like California are known for producing great seasonal fruits and vegetables, the region is plagued by frequent draughts that make backyard gardening a challenge for many. A rainwater collection system is often just what is needed to keep sun-drenched, backyard gardens thriving. These systems can be integrated into a number of roof styles. The simplest systems involve directing water from homes’ gutters into collection barrels. Although rainwater can be purified for safe consumption, homeowners should avoid drinking reclaimed rainwater that has had contact with roofs or roof accessories that are made of lead (3).

Outdoor Showers
Parents who want to keep their homes cleaner during the summer often consider building outdoor showers. These showers are must-have features for homes that are located near the coasts. Households that are found in more inland regions also benefit from outdoor showers for use by children swimming in pools or playing in the dirt. Depending on local building codes, outdoor showers must have drainage systems that divert water back to city sewer lines. Homeowners can save money on plumbing costs by locating outdoor showers near their homes’ existing water lines (4).

With a little creativity and planning, home will remain the number one hot spot throughout the summer break.

References

  1. http://energy.gov/energysaver/professional-home-energy-audits
    2. http://cleantechnica.com/2015/02/08/solar-shingles-renewable-energy-solution-curb-appeal/
    3. http://www.thecenterforrainwaterharvesting.org/2_roof_gutters2.htm
    4. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/14/garden/building-an-outdoor-shower.html?_r=0

 

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