There are several different ways to save energy through home improvements. Some improvements can be costly and others easy and inexpensive. Improvements that are more expensive cost more upfront to home owners but also supply a large return in investment in the long run. Our list of the top ten home improvements for energy usage combine some more expensive improvements as well as the easy and inexpensive improvements that are best for a home.
Insulation is a fantastic way to ensure a home is comfortable all year. Insulation keeps heat in the home during the winter and cool air in during the summer. Many homes built before 1980 are very under insulated and even some newer homes could use more insulation to save energy. Attics are required to have ten inches of insulation but over the years, the inches can deteriorate. This means the insulation should be adjusted to improve a home’s energy efficiency.
2. Programmable Thermostat
Installing a programmable thermostat allows home owners to save money year round. Traditional thermostats remain at a constant temperature throughout the day and must be adjusted manually. With a programmable thermostat, home owners can lower the home’s temperature by 10-15 degrees and save money while they are out. The most programmable times are while owners are at work, when the house does not need to be at such a high level of cooling or heating, and at night when the temperature outside lowers, requiring less air conditioned cooling during the summer months.
A lot of the hot and cold air in a home can pass through the windows. Older homes usually have single paned windows which allow heat and cold to leave a home quickly. It is recommended to use double paned energy efficient windows because not only are they available for a tax credit, but they are also much better at trapping air inside a home.
4. Water Heater
A new high efficiency water heater can help home owners reduce energy costs quickly for a relatively small investment. Between 15 and 20 percent of a home’s annual energy usage is caused by the water heater. By purchasing an energy efficient water heater, home owners will begin saving money monthly, see a return on their investment, and also qualify for a tax credit.
5. Light Bulbs
Many Americans have already made the switch to compact fluorescent bulbs and experienced longer bulb life and less energy use within their home. If you haven’t done this yet, now is the time. If the florescent lighting is not your thing, new incandescent lighting is available and are 30 percent more energy efficient than older lighting options.
If you can’t afford to replace the windows in your home, adding awnings is a great way to conserve energy for much less money. Awnings supply shade to windows, help prevent heat from the sun from entering a home, and also keep the hot or cold air from escaping as easily. There are a lot of attractive awnings options to choose from these days too.
7. Replace a Major Appliance
Older appliances can suck up a lot of energy from a home and so it is prudent for home owners looking to be energy efficient to consider the option of replacing older appliances. Refrigerators, followed by washers and dryers, dishwashers, oven ranges and microwaves all can be replaced to make a considerable dent in large energy bills.
8. Energy Efficient Doors
Purchasing energy efficient doors is another way to quality for tax credits and save money on energy bills. Metal and hollow doors let out the most heat so look for doors that are solid or that have double paned, energy efficient glass parts.
9. Outdoor solar lighting
It may seem silly to be concerned about outdoor lighting but changing outdoor lights to solar powered lights can save money for home owners and also be eco-friendly. Why put money and energy towards something that can be accomplished easily with little investment.
A home that is tightly sealed is an energy efficient home. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that roughly a fifth of a home’s air escapes through leaks. Leakage found in air ducts, vents, and under doorways result in hot and cold air escaping the home and driving up heating/AC bills. Using simple items like caulk and spray foam to fill leaks result in an easy and effective fix, and while sealing your home, always be sure to look for leaks in the basement and attic as well.