Install a Geothermal Heat Pump During Your Green Home Remodel

If you plan on green home remodeling, consider an alternative energy source such as geothermal. It seems counter-intuitive that a technology which depends on circulating liquid through pipes in the ground could be used to both heat and cool a house, but that’s exactly what a geothermal heat pump (GHP) or ground-source heat pump does.

What is a Geothermal heat pump?

While large-scale geothermal installations used by utilities rely on hot water under the ground, the geothermal heat pump heats and cools an individual building using the constant temperature of the Earth (the top 10 feet of the Earth’s crust are usually between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit).

A typical GHP system includes pipes buried near the home, a heat exchanger, and ductwork in the house. During the winter, the ground is warm compared to the air temperature so this warmth goes through the heat exchanger into the house. During the summer, the house’s warm air is pulled through the heat exchanger into the cooler ground. The system can save additional energy and money during the summer by heating water with the hot air removed from the house.

What are the savings?

GHPs consume 25-50 percent less electricity compared to conventional HVAC equipment, so installing one is a great green home remodeling project. In other words, a GHP needs only one unit of electricity to move three units of heat compared to a ratio of 1:1 or 1:2 for other systems. GHPs can decrease energy consumption and the accompanying emissions by as much as 44 percent compared to air-source heat pumps and as much as 72 percent compared to standard electric heat. GHPs can achieve efficiencies of 300-600 percent on the coldest winter night; air source heat pumps can only reach 175-250 percent on just a cool day. GHPs also maintain an approximate 50 percent indoor humidity level, making them desirable in humid areas.

The up-front cost of geothermal as a home renewable energy source is steep. However most experts agree that you can recoup this investment in 5-10 years through lower energy bills, making it even more attractive as a green home remodeling project. Federal, state, and local tax incentives and other programs can help offset the cost of the initial investment as well. With few moving parts, a GHP system is also durable and needs little maintenance. Many manufacturers warranty the pipes for 50 years and the pump itself usually lasts 20 years.

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Creative And Inexpensive Home Remodeling Ideas

Home remodeling doesn’t have to cost a fortune to add value to your home and improve its overall aesthetics. In fact, if you have the time and patience, not only can you save tons of money, but you can find one-of-a-kind pieces that can make your house truly unique and individual. By getting a little creative, you’d be shocked by how easy it is to enhance your home on the cheap.

As soon as you decide to do some home remodeling, you’ll want to keep your eyes out for cheap steals. That doesn’t necessarily mean hitting up sales at your local warehouse store. Some of the best places to find some well-made and quality additions to your home such as cabinet faces, doors, lighting fixtures, and even items as varied as bathroom sinks are flea markets, antique shops, garage sales and thrift stores. Antique shops and flea markets tend to be on the pricier side for home remodeling projects, but there is still the opportunity to haggle and find some hidden gems. Garage sales and thrift stores will have the best prices, but will require plenty of hunting, determination, and possibly some elbow grease to fix damage. Remember that even small items, such as doorknobs and handle pulls can make dramatic differences be quite eye-catching for their minimal investment costs.

When choosing home remodeling projects, you can save mega bucks by doing it yourself. Even if you’re not the greatest handyman, there are plenty of projects that you can successfully complete including painting, applying stains to furniture or flooring, and even some tiling work. You’d be surprised at what you can accomplish even without much training or even many tools. Check out some do-it-yourself books at your local library for ideas and instructions on some plausible projects.

Don’t be afraid to enlist in your friends for help. Although it may seem like a lot to ask, you can often make it more fun by having food, playing music, and offering to return the favor to them in the future. Most friends are more than happy to pitch in their services and can provide some valuable skills. You may even have some that can give you some home remodeling ideas or advice. Some can even surprise you and have extra materials lying around from a project they have long since abandoned. If you don’t ask, you’ll never know.

Another simple and inexpensive way to spruce up any real estate is by capitalizing and refurbishing what you’ve already got. Remodeling doesn’t have to mean replacement. Strip old cabinets or walls of outdated paint and wallpaper and refinish them. Remove carpeting to reveal natural floors underneath (if possible) and give them a fresh stain and polish. Add window tints or frosting to increase privacy indoors. You can even increase home value by doing a little landscaping. Be sure to check your local newspaper. Many people have ads for free soil, bricks, or stones that can be used to create pathways or enrich a garden.

What You Never Thought You’d Need Before Having Your Home Remodeled

So you’ve finally decided to take the plunge and have a part of your home remodeled. After months or even years of planning, thinking, and planning some more, the time has finally come to hire a professional to tear up the old and install the new. Times like these can be fun, scary or a mixture of both. It’s likely you have two major thoughts running through your head:

1. When all is said and done, how will it all look?


2. When all is said and done, how much will it all cost?

Not disregarding the importance of the finished product and price, there is an equally important third thought that almost nobody thinks of:

Do I have a proper home inventory?

Yes, you heard that right. It sounds a bit silly at first, but at second glance, it makes a lot of sense. A home inventory is written documentation of all the valuables in your house. It can also include photo and video to back up what is written. The best home inventories are conducted by a professional, third party home inventory specialist. You likely have one somewhere near where you live. A simple Google search for “home inventory service” + the state you live in, will likely bring up a qualified professional in your area.

The reason why a home inventory is so important when having your home remodeled is simple: This is your home we’re talking about!

1. The remodeling company will likely be walking back and forth through your home and the potential for damaging something in the process is relatively high. This includes rugs, antiques, furniture etc. You might not even know something was damaged until days or weeks later. Having written and visual proof of what was damaged is a sure way to get reimbursed for the item. This is not to assume that the company you hired is going to be reckless with your valuables, but accidents can and do happen.

2. It’s quite possible that something could be taken. Again, this isn’t assuming that the company you hire are going to be crooks, but there are bad seeds in every profession. With all the time that is spent in your home, there is always the potential for one of them to pocket a valuable of yours. Having an inventory of anything that could be taken will make a police report and claim process much smoother.

Once your remodeling is complete, it’s important to update your inventory with everything that was added or changed. After all, this is major value that you’ve just added to your home, you should protect it! Just because it can’t be picked up or stolen, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be inventoried. Nice new granite countertops or hardwood flooring is a perfect example of new valuables added to your home that you should have inventoried.

Remodeling your home can breath new life into that part of the house. Though the process can be daunting at times, when proper steps are taken before during and after, the remodeling will be well worth it!