Spend to Save: 10 Upgrades for an Energy Efficient Home
Sometimes you need to spend money to save money when it comes to utility bills. Making upgrades to your property for a more energy-efficient home not only saves you heaps of money long-term but also helps the environment. Whether you’d prefer to be ambitious and make larger, more advanced changes, or lots of small, inexpensive ones, there are plenty of options to choose from. The best part to keep in mind is that these changes won’t affect the level of comfort you feel in your house.
By making these ten upgrades to your property, you can have a more energy-efficient home.
1. Change to Low-Flow
Almost everyone has watched wasted water flow down the drain while they clean dishes, take a shower, brush their teeth, or run the dishwasher. Most people attribute it to the cost of cleanliness. In some cases that may be true, but they're a few upgrades that you can make to prevent some of that water from being underutilized.
Replacing your faucets and showerheads with low-flow options can make for a more energy-efficient home. The low-flow faucets push out less water, so not as much is wasted while you perform everyday tasks. Changing out your faucets is simple and only takes a few minutes. You’ll still get the same caliber of cleanliness, but you will be sending less unused water down the drain. This will help your house become more eco-friendly and save you money on your monthly water bill.
2. Upgrade to a Better Dishwasher
Upgrading your old dishwasher is another great way to get a more energy-efficient home. Older dishwashers can use up to 10 gallons of water per wash cycle. More modern dishwashers can make more powerfully and effectively clean your dishes while using about half of the water as older models.
3. Invest in a Tankless Water Heater
Another great way to reduce water waste is to get a tankless water heater. Traditional systems continuously heat an entire tank of water that may sit idle for long periods of time, expending energy on the continuous heating of unused water. Tankless water heaters run your water through high-powered burners; the water only runs through the machine while it is being heated. A tankless water heater can cut your water bill up to 20-percent because you waste less water waiting for the water to warm up. This is a great upgrade for a more energy-efficient home that will also help to keep your wallet full.
4. Improve Your Insulation
Houses that leak air, either warm or cold depending on seasonal HVAC use, are incredibly frustrating for homeowners. Many newer properties are built to keep air in with tight sealing and insulation. However, checking the efficiency of your insulation and making appropriate changes can improve your property’s ability to keep air from leaking. For older houses that have somewhat inconsistent levels of insulation, these leaks are not only costing you money but also causing your house to stay at undesirable temperatures for longer because your HVAC system is working harder to regulate.
Because the insulation is the first line of defense in maintaining an energy-efficient home, this is an upgrade that will be well worth the cost. It’s also important that you have the right insulation. There are several types of insulation to choose from, and you can even install them easily on your own! However, if you’re not up for a DIY project at the moment, you can always have someone do the job for you. Just be sure to shop around for estimates to get the best price!
5. Add In Some Weather Stripping
Putting weather stripping around windows and doors against the outside is another way to prevent air from leaking in or out. If you do take on a weather stripping project, make sure to do so before the weather starts to become more severe, otherwise, you’ll be fighting against frigidly cold weather or the brutally hot sun, making the task much more difficult. However, the time you spend on this DIY upgrade project will come back to you with lower energy bills. Plus, you’ll also earn Earth brownie points for having an energy-efficient home!
6. Circulate Air with Ceiling Fans
Once you’re confident that your home is properly insulated and sealed, you should think about how you want the air to move throughout the house. Central air and heat blow out air in individual rooms, but ceiling fans are an inexpensive and simple DIY upgrade that will keep the air flowing throughout the whole indoor space. This is important because it allows your HVAC system to run less because the ceiling fans are dispersing the treated air throughout the space, making for a much more energy-efficient home.
7. Invest in a Programmable Thermostat
Another great idea to save on utility costs and create an energy-efficient home is to get a programmable thermostat. Unlike the older thermostats that don’t leave you with much power in your heating and cooling system, a newer, programmable thermostat lets you get as specific as you want. Some of the more technologically advanced models can even designate temperature regulation for specific rooms during specific times of the day. This upgrade can help maintain the proper temperature throughout your house for less wasted energy.
8. Add a Radiant Barrier
The attic is an area that often causes a lot of energy to be wasted because absorbs warm air instead of deflecting it, or in some cases, it brings in cold air from the different leaks within the room. A way to help keep that at bay for a more energy-efficient home is to invest in a radiant barrier.
Radiant barriers are a kind of thermal insulation that keeps the warm air reflected inside the house. A radiant barrier acts as a sunshade or umbrella, only it is installed on the inside of your structure. It’s simple and safe to install as a DIY upgrade project, or homeowners can invest in professional installation. Radiant barriers are especially great for people in warmer climates to reduce year-round cooling costs.
9. Add Some Trees
If you want to take your energy-efficient home to the next level, one of the simpler options is to add natural shade through trees. For some reason, many people don’t think about planting trees around their properties as an upgrade, but if they are placed correctly, they can be very effective. Trees fill in many open spots around your house in order to prevent sunshine from beaming into your home and heating the air. Additionally, trees reflect the light and absorb excess heat. Trees also create a great windbreak, so that homeowners are using less energy to regulate temperature. Overall, trees can reduce your heating and cooling bills by up to 25-percent.
10. Create Your Own Energy with a Wind Turbine
Another upgrade option that can be installed is a wind turbine. Although this is a more advanced option, it can pay off hugely in the end. If you’re willing to spend money upfront to save on long-term utility costs, this is a fantastic way to do so, as a wind turbine will create electricity from the wind power around your property for the ultimate energy-efficient home. Before you install, you should check your property for the strongest wind areas.
It is important to note that you must check your local zoning guidelines before even attempting to install a wind turbine, as doing so against government regulations could also end up being a very costly mistake.