6 Home Renovations That Can Reduce Utility Bills
Replace Heating and Cooling SystemsThe older your heating and cooling system is, the less efficient it is. Even modern systems become less efficient over time because parts wear out and replacing them does not cure the issue. If your heating and/or cooling system is ten years old or older, consider replacing it now. It is not likely to last another decade, and if it does, your energy bills may rise anyway due to the age of the system. Newer systems are designed to be more efficient.
Solar PanelsSolar panels can save you an enormous amount of money on energy bills because you will no longer be paying the electric or gas companies. Instead, the solar panels installed on your roof or in your yard will collect solar energy, which is then converted by a photovoltaic converter inside your home into electrical current. As long as the sun exists, there is adequate power to be absorbed by your system to fill all of your electrical energy needs.
Install a Ventilation SystemA lot of homes have ventilation in the roof. This helps circulate excess heat out of the house as the heat naturally rises into the attic from the floors below it. According to Snap-Z Roof Vents, increasing air circulation will be beneficial since venting trapped heat reduces cooling bills and prevents your A/C from working overtime to cool things down. If you do not have a ventilation system because you have an older home, you can still install this type of system now to help direct the flow of hot air out of the house and begin to benefit from it within the coming months.
Use a Smart ThermostatSo many new pieces of technology now make it possible to control heating and cooling remotely. Even if you forget to turn your thermostat down before leaving for work in the morning, or turn it up before you get home in the evening, Simply Switch points out that you can use your smartphone and an app to adjust your home temperature. Install the smart thermostat, link it to the app on your phone, and then open the app wherever you are connected to Wi-Fi, and touch the screen to adjust the temperature at home! You can even program the thermostat to start warming the home when your phone is headed in the right direction.
Add Extra Insulation to Your HomeThere are at least two ways to add extra insulation to your home that impact how well your home conserves heat and/or cooled air. One is to add extra insulation to the exterior walls under your siding. This is often referred to as a "home envelope" approach to insulating your home. The other adds more insulation, blown or rolled, to your attic to prevent heat from escaping. R-25 value or higher is recommended, although it depends on where you live.
Replace Old Windows and DoorsOld windows leak heat and air-conditioned air like a sieve. This is a major problem when you are trying to lower your energy costs. Replace the windows with double-pane argon-E glass, or triple-pane argon-E glass, if you can afford the extra panes in your budget. This blocks all heat or cooled air from escaping and prevents the outside air from creeping inside.
Old doors are terribly drafty too. IDC Automatic recommends switching to a modern entry that uses solid core, double-insulated doors which block outdoor air from getting in, and indoor air from leaking out. Window and door manufacturers make complementary styles that double as energy-savers for your home.
If you want, you could make all of the above renovations at once. A majority of the energy-saving renovations can be completed by a roofing and siding installer or by an HVAC company. Some roofing and siding companies also do HVAC, which makes a total home renovation project for the purpose of conserving energy all that more convenient.
The above list is just a sample of the many ways you can conserve heat and cooled air, but they are also good places to start because the costs are not extravagant. A decent tax refund can easily pay for most of the options listed above, and some, like the solar panels and energy-efficient heating and cooling systems, can even provide tax breaks on next year's taxes. If you plan it out really well, you can complete the energy-saving renovations that also offer tax breaks such that next year those tax breaks will give you a bigger refund to complete additional energy-saving projects!
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