If you want to improve the efficiency of your property and modernize it at the same time, you need to ask yourself which upgrades will save money on energy and add value to your home at the same time. Choosing more straightforward upgrades may be the easier route, but sometimes complex ones, such as adding solar panels to produce electricity for your home, can provide advantages that go beyond what you have imagined and pay for themselves in minimal time.
Install a Programmable Thermostat
If your home doesn't have one, it's definitely time to get one. Programmable thermostats are virtually a must for anyone who lives in a climate with extremes in the summer and winter. A programmable thermostat enhances HVAC efficiency by enabling you to get your climate system to reach optimal temperatures for a minimal cost. It will allow you to turn the temperature down in the winter, and up in the summer when you're not home, yet have your home at the right temperature when you return. Once the thermostat is programmed, it will automatically alter the temperature, according to your settings.
Install New Doors and Windows
Although you may not realize it, styles of doors and windows do change slightly over time. More importantly, however, doors and windows have become more efficient at keeping out the cold and heat over the past ten years; newer windows and doors do a much better job at keeping interior temperatures consistent because of the low-E value of glass, as well as better weather stripping and insulation in the products. Homeowners may also be able to get special energy-efficient financing by purchasing such products. If you are a veteran, a VA energy efficiency loan can cover up to $6,000 for green home improvements.
Replace Your Appliances
Refrigerators and stoves are major energy users, along with your washer and dryer. Replacing these high-use appliances will give you more bells and whistles, and make your home more energy efficient at the same time. The same goes for your central air conditioning and heating system. Contemporary units use much less energy, thus paying for themselves in a few years. Because basements are often the most difficult area of the home to heat and cool, you'll want to focus on improving the airflow in your basement with an energy-efficient HVAC system.
Install Solar Panels
Generating your own electricity has become much more commonplace over the last decade as prices for the solar panels themselves, along with installation, have dropped by a combined 70 percent. In addition to making your own electricity, many local power companies allow you to sell excess electricity to the utility, so you can even make an easy profit on your green, clean investment.
Most of these improvements can be done DIY style with your own two hands and a good YouTube tutorial or two, which will save you some money. If you decide to DIY, though, make sure to wear the appropriate safety equipment (PPE) and be ready to call a professional if anything goes wrong.