Home Updates: Where Energy Efficiency Pays Off

There will be a lot of people that don’t believe in energy efficient homes. They say that it doesn’t do you any good to spend a lot of money on things that make your home “green” because you don’t regain that money right away. Not only is this not true, but it’s absolutely true that it’s not as expensive as you might think. In fact, you might even add a little value to your home for some simple updates.

If I think it won’t be worth it, I won’t include it on this list. If I find more things to add, I will just write an update separate from this post.


Believe it or not, the kind of windows you have can determine how much money you’re going to spend on your heating or cooling bill. If you have single pane windows, you’re probably already losing a lot of money. So how do you figure out if your windows are wasting your money? The best way to figure it out is during the extreme times for weather. If it gets really cold outside, then you’ll feel a little bit of a chill when you get close to your window without touching it. If it gets really hot outside, it’s a little harder to know. But it should be a bit warmer by the windows.

The answer to this is double pane windows. Depending on how many windows your house has and what style they are, you could spend up to $1,200 per window. However, size is a big factor in the price as well. There are triple pane windows as well, but those could easily be more expensive. The idea of extra panes is actually more than just energy efficiency. Extra panes in your windows will also help reduce noise from outside. So if you live in a noisier neighborhood than most, this is a great update.

Ditch the Hot Water Tank

For about $1,000, you could replace your water heater. Hot water tanks can be a huge waste of money because they heat water when you’re not using it. It’s also inconvenient because you can run out of hot water. Well, the nice thing about tankless heaters is that you not only get hot water on demand, you don’t run out. They come in natural gas, electric, and propane models. It’s also a good idea to get a small one for your sink for $160. This way, you don’t lose hot water in the shower.

Need a Light?

Tubular skylights are little known ways to help cut electricity costs. If you’re unfamiliar with these, they are skylights that run light through the tube into your home to look like a receding light fixture. Some people feel like there’s no value in these. However, I would disagree. They can cost up to $500 per unit and they really only work if there’s access to the roof. Even if you have a bathroom or hallway upstairs, it’s still a good idea for bathrooms without a window as well as hallways.

Seal the Doors!

Do you notice a small draft when you’re by the door? That’s not good if you did. Depending on how you weatherstrip your door, it could cost a little or a lot. It could cost a few hundred dollars or a few bucks here and there. Either way, you should have every door with outdoor access weatherstripped. This should create a nice little seal so you don’t feel a draft. Another plus is that no heat or cool air will escape. I would include the door to the garage in weatherstripping. You won’t save much money by insulating a garage, but you’d definitely do well to ensure that nothing escaped through the door to it.

Check the Ducts

If you have forced air heating, you should look into accessing the ducts and sealing off any of the gaps. If air is escaping, it’ll take longer for your home to heat up, which takes more money. Grab some duct tape and seal it off. If that doesn’t work, then you may need to insulate part of it.

Insulate, Insulate, Insulate

Is your attic insulated? Believe it or not, there’s actually a lot of money that can be saved by just insulating your attic. Heat rises and escapes through the attic. If the attic is insulated, it’s possible to trap some of the heat and keep it in your home. Your heater’s thermometer isn’t going to drop and turn on the heat. It might actually be a good idea to even remodel your attic if it holds a good amount of weight.

Change Your House’s Heating

People with ceiling heat tend to have cold feet. No, I’m not saying they flake out. I’m saying that ceiling heat isn’t very effective. Instead of getting ducts put in for a forced air system, put in some floor heat. It might be a little expensive, but trust me when I say that people with floor heat are much happier than those with ceiling heat. This might be a major overhaul/expense. But I believe that it would be worth it. Not only for you and your family, but I think that it would add value to your home better than ceiling heat.


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