10 energy-efficient house upgrades with amazing returns
About 9 out of 10 people would pay more for a home with energy-efficient features than a home without them.
Why are people willing to spend more? Along with caring about the environment, these features will help you save a lot of money!
If you own a house, you should consider making energy-efficient house upgrades to save money now and reap even more benefits in the future. Continue reading to learn about 10 home upgrades that will be worth your while.
1. Upgrade Your Appliances
You use your appliances daily, whether you think about it or not. For example, your furnace or air conditioning is likely running along with using your stove, refrigerator, dishwasher, washer, and dryer.
These appliances are designed much better now than they were 15 to 20 years ago. So if your appliances are older, they use more energy to run than something new would.
Upgrading your appliances can save you money on gas and other utility bills while also helping you enjoy a better working appliance. Plus, if you ever choose to sell your home, newer appliances will surely draw in more people than a house full of dated ones.
2. Check Your Insulation
Part of any energy evaluation includes checking insulation, particularly in the attic.
Older homes often have less insulation than newer ones do. Adding extra insulation can help your home retain heat and cool air.
Because of this, your furnace and AC unit won’t need to work as hard to keep your home at a steady temperature. This upgrade will make it much more comfortable during particularly cold or warm times of the year.
3. Get a Programmable Thermostat
Another great way to boost energy efficiency is by purchasing a programmable thermostat.
Older thermostats only allow you to set a temperature for the current moment. Programmable ones make it possible for you to set temperatures for specific times of the day.
So you might choose to have it set to cooler when you aren’t home in the winter, so your furnace doesn’t run all day. Or you might have it warmer during the day and cooler at night.
Either way, having the ability to control temperatures throughout the day can use less energy. Plus, certain thermostats even let you control the temperature from your phone. That’s a handy feature to have!
4. Install New Lighting
Something as small as a change in lightbulbs can lead to significant savings.
Your lights account for about 20% of your electric bill or more! Changing to LED lights or something more energy efficient is a very small upfront cost that will save you a lot of money over time.
Along with the lights themselves being more efficient, you should try to keep them off as often as possible. For example, having the curtains open to let sunlight in during the day is better than having every light on.
And making sure all lights are off when you leave the house can help too. You might even consider installing smart lights so you can turn them off from your phone or set a time for them to shut off automatically.
That feature is particularly helpful if you have young children who often forget to turn the lights off or if you travel often and want to double-check you left things off.
5. Upgrade Your Windows
Your windows have a significant impact on your home visually and energy-wise. As a result, they’re one of the best home upgrades to make if you only want to make a few changes.
If your windows are old and aren’t sealed properly, you can have drafts, moisture problems that lead to mold, and loss of soundproofing.
From an energy perspective, older windows let in outside air which makes your furnace or air conditioning have to work overtime. Consider getting Renewal by Andersen window replacement services if your windows need to be replaced altogether.
6. Install New Showerheads
You might be using more water than you think when you take a shower.
With a standard showerhead, a 12-minute shower uses about 60 gallons of water! Of course, many people take even longer showers than that, so the number increases.
Thankfully, there is a simple solution. Low-flow showerheads use less water than standard showerheads, so the same shower uses about half the amount of water. You shouldn’t notice a big difference in water pressure when using these showerheads either, so you won’t miss your old one.
Another thing you can do to lessen energy costs is to use less hot water for your showers. While taking cold showers probably isn’t an option, lowering the water temperature even a little can make a difference.
7. Install Solar Panels
The cost of solar panels has dramatically decreased in recent years, making them more accessible for people.
While solar panels have a pretty heft upfront cost, they have the potential to eliminate your electricity bill completely. Even more interesting, if you produce extra energy, your town/city might even pay you to use it!
Whether you live in an area that’s sunny year-round or not, solar panels are a viable option for you. Solar panels are great for the environment and your wallet, so looking into them is wise.
8. Utilize Ceiling Fans
You might have ceiling fans installed already but never use them because it doesn’t seem necessary. Many people don’t realize that ceiling fans are designed more to encourage airflow than actually cool down a room on their own.
They work to distribute air throughout your home. For example, having them running in reverse in the winter can redistribute hot air that rises to the ceiling back down to the lower part of the room.
Because of this, you can actually have your thermostat set at a lower temperature without noticing a difference!
In the summer, they push around the cool air and create a breeze that makes it feel cooler than it really is. So, overall, ceiling fans have a more significant impact on air temperature than you’d think.
If you have them already, try using them more often and seeing what difference they make. If you don’t have any, consider installing a few since you can get inexpensive ones and enjoy the benefits they offer.
9. Replace Old Doors
Just like windows, doors can let in a lot of air from outside or have inside air escape.
While any exterior door can have this problem, your sliding glass doors are the biggest area to keep an eye on. The seals on these often get damaged quicker because of the sliding motion and the fact they’re opened and closed often during warmer months.
If you notice a draft, can see the seal is damaged, or they’re difficult to open and close, these are signs something is off. Simply replacing the seal and installing a new track might be enough in some cases. In others, an entirely new door is needed.
Other doors like your garage door and any other entrance doors will show similar signs when they need to be replaced. The best option is a steel door with a foam insulation core.
Talking to a professional can help you make the best choice, and having someone knowledgeable perform the installation can ensure there are no gaps.
10. Seal/Insulate Ductwork
You might not notice it, but it’s extremely common for air ducts to leak. In fact, some leak so much that they almost double your HVAC bill!
You have a few options for fixing this problem: installing new ducts, sealing them, or insulating them.
Installing new ones will prevent leaks for a while, but the cost is higher, and eventually, they will begin to leak. So sealing and insulating them is the best option.
Doing this prevents them from losing air while also keeping cool air colder and warm air hotter. Together, this helps keep rooms cool in the summer and warm in the winter without needing to crank up the thermostat to compensate for lost air.
Make These Energy-Efficient House Upgrades to Reap Benefits Now and Later
Making energy-efficient house upgrades is one of the best ways to save money and help the environment now while setting yourself up for a great return on your investments in the future.
You might be surprised how many minor changes need to be made in your home to help it become more efficient. Try scheduling an energy evaluation and see what you need to do to take your home to the next level.
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