Before you get an equity loan watch your area for home prices. Taking out more money from your home can put you upsidedown in today's market. You should not borrow against your home right now. Just FYI
You might experience a small initial drop in your score, but in general a loan or line of credit will cause your credit score to rise. Having an open credit account, and making the payments in full and on time, shows other potential creditors that you may be a good bet for credit, since it's likely that you won't default based on your history.