4 High-ROI, Energy-Efficient Home Upgrades
For homeowners with property that is more than a few decades old, there are likely many things they can do to make their property more energy efficient. By installing new appliances or sources of renewable energy, and by improving their home's insulation, many homeowners can save money on their utility bills while also making their property worth more money.
Install Solar Panels
Solar panels reduce or eliminate a home's utility bills. Sometimes, solar panels can even make the homeowner money by selling electricity back to the grid. Solar panels also reduce a home's carbon footprint. Depending on where the home is and whether that area gets a lot of sun, solar panels can be very attractive to home buyers.
Homeowners hoping to install solar panels on their home should do the following before making the commitment:
- Understand the rebates available to make it easier to calculate the true cost of installing solar panels.
- Work with a reputable solar panel contractor to ensure the installation is done right.
- Read the entire contract and warranty before signing.
- Interview multiple potential solar panel contractors before making the final decision about whom to hire.
Replace the Air Conditioner
Air conditioners installed in homes just 15 years ago are, by today's standards, considered energy inefficient.
There are multiple reasons why this is true. For example, energy standards were different 15 years ago. Additionally, air conditioners become less efficient as they age. An older air conditioner will work harder and do its job less efficiently than an air conditioner that is brand new. Installing a new air conditioner can reduce a home's energy bills by hundreds of dollars over time.
Improving insulation is another excellent home upgrade that can make a home more energy efficient. This is an easy project for homeowners to do on their own, if they can get a little coaching from an expert.
The best way to tell whether a home has the proper insulation in the attic is for them to check the floor joists. If the floor joists are visible, then there is likely not enough insulation in the attic. If the floor joists have been covered by the insulation and can no longer be seen, then there may be enough insulation already in the attic.
Homeowners who are installing their own insulation should consult with a contractor to ensure the work is done correctly. If the insulation is installed in a way that it covers ventilation holes in the attic, it can lead to moisture problems and may even cause mold or mildew to grow.
Add a Steel-Entry Door
Installing a steel-entry door on the home is an inexpensive, high-ROI change that can improve a home's energy efficiency. Steel-entry doors are typically insulated in their core, which prevents energy from leaking out of the home. On cold winter days, the steel-entry door may prevent warm air in the home from escaping. On hot summer days, the steel door may help keep cool air in the home, thus maintaining a cooler temperature in the house.
In addition to these energy-efficient features, the steel door has another advantage: improving a home's curb appeal, which can make a home more attractive to home buyers.
Homeowners who replace their front door can help the house feel more welcoming to visitors and guests, and may even help the home sell faster, if it's on the market. Those who buy a good quality door and work with a real estate professional can help make the door a more effective home improvement overall. Homeowners can determine if they need a new door by inspecting their current door to see if it is drafty, poorly fitted in the frame, or warped.
Once improvements have been made to a home, overall quality of life for those living in the household will improve, and selling the home will be even easier.