October 19, 2018

Energy Saving Home Improvements

When people start talking about home improvements, we tend to think of big expenses or long, messy DIY projects.  Most people are aware that energy saving improvements pay for themselves over time, but for many homeowners the upfront cost of such improvements prevents them from even starting.  It might comes as a surprise, then, that some energy saving measures are rather inexpensive to implement.

One simple way to cut energy costs is to replace standard light bulbs with compact florescent bulbs.  You can either replace standard bulbs as they burn out, avoiding a bigger upfront purchase, or invest in several CFL bulbs at once.  CFL bulbs use less energy and last much longer than standard bulbs.  They are easily available anywhere light bulbs are sold.

Another simple way to save energy is stop any leaks or drafts around windows and doors.  Rather than try to find every little draft, leak, or under-insulated spot yourself, it’s much more thorough to conduct an energy audit.  During an energy audit, a professional determines where and how your home is wasting energy and suggests how to correct these problems.  An energy audit can cost an average of $300 to $500, plus improvements needed to stop energy waste.  You can perform your own energy audit, which may not be as thorough but will help you identify most simple fixes.  Sealing leaks with caulk or weatherstripping helps prevent waste when you heat and cool your home.

Outdoor lighting is another opportunity to stop energy waste.  With today’s solar lighting options, there’s no need to rely on electricity for outdoor lighting.  Replacing your outdoor lights with solar lights is not an expensive undertaking; in face, the low cost of many solar lights may surprise you.

Connecticut residents can save even more money by ordering energy efficient products from the EFI SmartLiving Catalog.

With a somewhat larger budget, replacing exterior doors and installing a programmable thermostat can greatly increase the energy efficiency of your home.  Similarly, installing window treatments that allow you to control the amount of sunlight entering your home lets you use less electric lighting during the day or take advantage or warmth from the sun during colder times of the year.  Being able to block sunlight when cooling your home will also save on energy costs.

Other, more costly, improvements include upgrading to Energy Star rated appliances.  To spread out the expense, start with the oldest or most likely to fail unit.  Similarly, upgrading your water heater leads to a more efficient use of energy.

Improving your home’s insulation is another way to save energy but is probably something to delegate to a contractor.  A contractor can tell you where you have the greatest need for improved insulation.

Finally, the more expensive upgrades such as new windows, a new heating or cooling system, and new siding or roofing are worthwhile improvements because they add to your home’s value and curb appeal while saving energy.

Even if you can’t take on a big home improvement job like new windows or an upgraded water heater, small changes or one energy saving project at a time will gradually move you toward a more efficient home while also increasing the value of your investment!

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