Energy and Money Saving Home Improvement Projects
Eco-friendly and financially responsible upgrades for your house
Energy costs are a huge expense for homeowners these days, so people are always looking for various ways to be more energy-efficient within the home while also not draining their bank accounts. There are numerous ways to get a money-smart energy-efficiency update, with many of them being just day- or weekend-long renovation projects.
Seal your ducts
Your ducts carry hot or cold air to different parts of the home in forced-air heating and cooling systems. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that about 20 to 30 percent of the air that moves through the duct system is lost due to leaks, holes, and poorly connected ducts. Wrapping these ducts can save you big money.
Now that you’ve plugged up the drafts in your home, you can take some time to add insulation, a basic — but crucial — next step. Installing insulation is fairly cheap and simple. With a little how-to research, installation is relatively easy, but be sure to wear a mask and gloves, and don’t cover any vents.
Replace windows and doors
For a more thorough and slightly more expensive home improvement project to save energy (and, in the long run, money), try replacing windows and doors throughout your house with high-efficiency ones. Use wood-framed windows and any door that is not hollow inside, as air is able to infiltrate hollow doors.
Get an advanced thermostat
You can save up to $180 per year on a programmable thermostat for your home, which Energy Star also finds to be more efficient than a regular thermostat. Programmable thermostats adjust temperatures automatically and start at around just $60.
Another option is a smart thermostat, which can be more expensive. Some smart thermostats have monitoring systems that track energy use in various circuits around the house, so you can make adjustments where needed. Before taking that plunge, consider smartphone apps that allow you to dim lights and control thermostats, power strips and other connected devices from your phone.
Upgrade your water heater
Experts say that water heating can comprise a large chunk of annual energy usage in a home, so installing a high-efficiency water heater can really drive down energy costs.
Tankless water heaters allow users to shave 20 percent off their water bill. In addition to lasting five to 10 years longer than tank heaters, tankless heaters never run out of hot water, and you may be able to get a federal tax rebate through Energy Star if you purchase one.
Replace outdated HVAC systems
Heating or cooling systems that are between 10 and 20 years old are probably going to be inefficient, according to Energy Star. On the other hand, even a standard updated system can save you money on energy bills, and a high-efficiency unit will save you even more.
More important than being generally quick and simple, the aforementioned home improvement projects give you the most bang for your buck when it comes to saving on home energy.
If you have questions on how to finance some of these projects using the equity you currently have in your home, ask Washington Trust today!
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