Home improvement is an ongoing process for most people. Whether your goal is to increase your family’s comfort in the short term, or to increase the resale value of your home in the long-term, there are ways to make upgrades that add energy-efficiency to your home and savings to your checkbook.
Here are the top home improvement ideas that affect your energy savings in a positive way:
Ductwork in most homes is out of sight and out of mind, but well-sealed ducts are key to maintaining a comfortable, energy-efficient home. If you’re having difficulty heating or cooling certain rooms, are noticing higher utility bills, or suffering from stuffiness or poor air quality, it could be a sign of poorly sealed ductwork. The best way to maintain, improve and even clean your system is to work with a trusted, skilled contractor.
If your home lacks basic insulation, and has old doors that let in plenty of hot and cold air, home inspectors working with potential buyers will include this in their reports. For many homeowners, the attic is where high home energy costs originate. If your attic hatch, knee walls, ceiling and floor lack insulation — and if attic ventilation is a problem — your conditioned air is being wasted.
The basement should also be insulated to protect your home against moisture, mold growth and structural damage, and increase your energy savings.
CFL and LED bulbs
Compact florescent light bulbs (CFLs) are initially more expensive than standard incandescent light bulbs, but will save you money on energy costs in the long run. CFLs last up to 10 times longer, meaning you can use less energy and reduce waste, because you won’t need to replace your bulbs as frequently.
LED lightbulbs are even more efficient and last longer than CFLs, but their main benefit is they don’t contain harmful heavy metals that can potentially be dangerous to people and the environment.
Switching from a manual to a programmable thermostat gives you greater control over your heating and cooling, and can potentially save you over $100 per year on your bill, according to ENERGY STAR®. Nest® estimates that their learning thermostat™ could lower your heating and cooling bills by as much as 20%.
Energy efficient windows
Buyers who are in the market for a new home always have energy efficiency in mind, and old, single-pane windows are a major deterrent. According to HGTV, you could expect to recoup 60% to 90% of your costs when you invest in energy-efficient windows, and ENERGY STAR® estimates that certified windows can save you up to $500 a year in heating and cooling costs.
Tankless water heater
Switching to a tankless water heater can provide many benefits, including space efficiency and an endless supply of hot water. By heating water only as it’s needed, a tankless water heater can be 24% to 34% more energy efficient than a conventional storage tank water heater, meaning you can expect to reap the financial reward as well.
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