Out with the old, and in with the new. It’s the mantra of spring cleaning, and it’s not just relegated to boxes of unused items stored in the garage. With the warmer summer months right around the corner, homeowners should ensure their homes are sealed and as energy efficient as possible. Some repairs are simply DIY projects, but others require hiring professionals. Using a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) can help fund these projects.

 

With a HECM, the homeowner can withdraw some of their equity as part of a reverse mortgage program to spend as they see fit. Here are some smart ways to put that money to good use.

 

Windows/Doors

Do-It-Yourself

On a cold day, stand inside your house and place your hand over the edges of the front door. If you feel a stream of cold air rushing in, you’re losing heat in the winter and cool air in the summer. Replacing old weather stripping on doors and windows can make a huge difference in heating and cooling costs. Don’t forget to check the caulking around doors and windows. It degrades over time, and a fresh line helps seal your home.

 

Hire a Professional

Do you have single pane windows? Consider replacing them with the double paned variety. The air-filled space between the two panes works as a barrier to trap summer’s heat and winter’s chill from reaching your home. Switching to double pane windows or glass doors can save you 18% in the summer months (and about 24% in the winter).

 

A/C Unit

Do-It-Yourself

You should be using and regularly replacing properly sized, high quality filters, for optimum performance. It’s amazing how much dust and dander a filter accumulates, especially for those with pets. Keeping it free of build-up will ease your A/C’s load when trying to cool a house in 90-degree weather. Most units recommend changing filters every 30-90 days; 30 for those with pets or allergies and 90 for those without.

 

Your outdoor unit should be kept free of debris, like falling leaves or twigs. Check for weeds or grass growing too close or vines snaking their way into the unit. Laying a rock bed or stepping stones around the unit are a good way to protect it.

 

Hire a Professional

Most HVAC pros offer bi-annual checkups for both indoor and outdoor units. This service keeps them running at peak efficiency and could catch a smaller problem before it turns into a bigger one. A service worker will come out before summer and winter for preventative maintenance visits. They will often change your filter, check your freon and air pressure, clean both units and make any necessary adjustments. Something else to consider—if your unit is not being serviced twice a year, it could void your manufacturer’s warranty.

 

Garage/Attic

Do-It-Yourself

Draft proof your garage with a seal kit made specifically for garage doors. Seal around ductwork and pipes to keep hot air out and cool air in. Caulk the cracks under your roof overhang.

 

Hire a Professional

Get a professional energy audit. In the winter, a poorly insulated attic can add up to 25% of your total heat loss. In the summer, ducts in the attic swelter in the heat and can pull in air of 140 degrees, making your system work much harder at cooling. A pro may suggest upgrading insulation quality or fixing leaks where air is escaping.

 

If you think a HECM might be the way to finance your home maintenance, contact me today.

 

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