Smith Mountain Lake Real Estate | Vicki Millehan

How to Keep Your Kitchen Energy Efficient

Aside from lowering your utility bills, having an energy-efficient home is a great way to add value. Prospective buyers may be more attracted to homes that need little to no upgrading. A great place to start is with your kitchen. It’s one of the busiest rooms in your home, and arguably the one that utilizes the most electricity.

Below is a list of areas to focus on to ensure that you have an energy efficient kitchen.


The U.S Energy Information Administration states that refrigerators are responsible for 7 percent of your home’s energy use. It’s also one of the biggest offenders for wasted energy. Having an Energy-Star certified refrigerator is a great way to make sure that your appliance isn’t wasting energy (the Energy Star website states that a refrigerator that’s more than 10 years old could cost owners upwards of $110 a year extra to operate.)

Another tip: keeps lots of food in your refrigerator will help your refrigerator operate at the optimal temperature. The more space that’s in your fridge, the more space that needs to be cooled. Also, let food get to room temperature before you put it in your refrigerator. The excess heat from your leftovers causes the refrigerator to work harder to bring the temperature down.

If you’re doing a lot of entertaining at the lake this summer, consider keeping a cooler on your deck with plenty of ice-cold drinks for your guests to enjoy. That way they don’t have to continuously open and close your refrigerator.


When it comes to keeping your oven and stove from wasting energy, it pays to be prepared. That means not turning on too many burners or opening the oven door a dozen times to check on your roasted veggies. One of the greatest perks of living at the lake: firing up the grill and relaxing by the water! Utilize your grill as much as you can to save on energy costs, while also enjoying the great Smith Mountain Lake outdoors.

Dishes and Small Appliances

Now that you’ve prepared this incredible meal for you and your guests, the sobering aftermath of cleaning up has set in. If you have a dishwasher, consider hand-drying your dishes once the cycle has completed to save energy from the drying cycle.

As for smaller appliances like Keurigs, air fryers, and Instant Pots, consider unplugging them if they are not in use…especially if you are only in your property during specific seasons.


Source: Lake Home Tips: Keeping Your Kitchen Energy Efficient,

Understanding the Difference in Home Security Systems

With so many types of security systems on the market, from smart systems to custom installation, it can be time-consuming to whittle down which type is right for you. Below we break down today’s options for home security systems so that you can make an informed decision.

Professional Installation

The greatest perk of professional installation of home security systems is that you truly get to sit back and let an experienced technician do all of the work. Once you schedule an appointment, the technician will come to your home, install the system, and walk you through how to use it properly. Professional companies may also offer package upgrades and incentives based upon your subscription. They may even offer add-ons that monitor smoke, carbon monoxide, and water damage.

The drawback? Some professional home security systems can be pricey. You’re paying upfront for equipment and, in some cases, monitoring. Some companies offer monthly subscription fees for round-the-clock monitoring, while others charge an annual fee. Also, if you move to a new home you may have to pay a re-installation fee.

Businesses that offer professionally installed home security systems include: SSI (locally-owned Smith Mountain Lake company) and ADT.

DIY Installation

Do-it-yourself home security systems have become popular due to their ease of installation and integration with smart home systems, like Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa. You don’t have to schedule a time with an installer, and you own the equipment. You can also configure the equipment to meet your specific needs. The systems are ready to install right out of the box, and the instructions are easy to follow.

On the other hand, you do not have the benefit of a professional technician’s experience to guide you through the process. This means that you’re reading the manual, hanging and/or connecting all of the parts to the system, and spending time with tech support if you run into a problem.

Companies that offer DIY home security installation include SimpliSafe, FrontPoint, Wink, and Ring.

What Makes a Good Offer on a House?

Find out why having an experienced real estate agent makes all the difference.

You’ve found a home that you want to make an offer on, but have no idea where to start. How do you know if the number in your head is a good offer?

This is where working with an experienced realtor truly pays off. Your realtor will look at factors such as the current market condition and the inventory in the area that most similarly matches the home and price range that you’re interested in. They’ll also factor in the length of time the home has been on the market, and whether or not a lot of buyers are competing for this home.

While you should absolutely voice your opinion as to what you believe a fair offer should be, it’s worthwhile to let your realtor’s experience shine. Their knowledge of the current market and inventory will allow them to build a winning offer.