With your next home improvement project, why not add power saving to your list of improvements? Energy efficiency upgrades can increase the value of your home, and they save you money every month. Plus, they might be more affordable than you think.
The first step may be to ask your energy company to send an energy efficiency inspector to your home, which is either free or costs a small amount. The inspector can tell you which home improvements will give you the best power savings. Your home is unique so it may need a different project, but here are pick 6 common energy saving projects below.
6 Home Improvement Projects that Save Energy
1. Install More Efficient Heating and Cooling Systems
Heating and cooling systems between 15 and 20 years old or older usually need an upgrade. Modern furnaces, boilers, and air conditioners are far more efficient-even inexpensive ones. When you’re getting a new system installed, you may need to improve your insulation and ductwork too.
2. New (or Properly Sealed) Windows and Doors
The best way to improve the energy efficiency of your windows and doors is to replace them. If you live in an older home or apartment with single-pane windows, you might really need energy-efficient windows that have double pains and are better insulated. If new windows or doors aren’t in your budget, you can instead put caulking or weather stripping around windows to insulate them. Wooden frames for the windows are also really helpful.
3. Improve Your Lighting
Lighting can be around a third of your electricity bill! Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to change out your old light bulbs for light-emitting diode (LED) or compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) bulbs. If you can afford a bigger project, you may want to install bigger windows or skylights to get natural light and warmth. For outdoor lighting, consider getting solar-powered lights for your outside paths and patios.
4. Automatically Reduce Your Water Usage
It can be frustrating to monitor your family’s water use to save money. Instead, you can replace your faucets, shower heads, and toilets with versions that use less water by design (or are adjustable). A more efficient water heater, such as a tankless system, can save you even more on your utilities.
5. Get a Smarter Thermostat
Thermostats affect about half of your electricity bill! You can save money without changing anything besides getting a programmable thermostat. A smart thermostat will guide you to the settings that save you energy, and you can control some models with your voice or smartphone. Smart thermostats are nice because you can turn off your heater or air conditioner while you’re away from home, and turn it on before you arrive so you aren’t heating or cooling an empty house.
6. Insulate Barriers Between Conditioned and Unconditioned Areas
Some homes have an unconditioned attic or garage, and air leaks into and out of those spaces. For your attic, you can build or buy an insulated cover box for the stairs and door-or whatever method seals it completely. If you have a garage below your home, you should stop any air leaks with rolled insulation or insulation spray foam. Bring in a contractor, though, if you need to seal heating and cooling ducts.
Start Your Power Saving Journey
Check your home to see which projects you can do to improve its energy efficiency. It’s possible that the home improvement project you need is a large undertaking that may require the help of a contractor and could be very costly. Many contractors offer home improvement financing which that help you with the loan process and lock in a great APR.
Financing will help you get a lot of work done all at once and start getting the benefits of power saving sooner. Some home improvement loans don’t even require payments for up to 24 months. You could pay off your loan pretty quickly with the help of your lowered energy bills, and then you’ll still have the energy savings and increased home value!