Home improvement projects can be quite expensive. Of course some projects will add value to your home so you can think of them as long term investments. Another way to defray the cost of home improvement projects is to focus on improvements that will make your home more energy efficient. Each month, your energy bill savings will be paying for those improvements. You may even be able to get some tax credits. As an added bonus, you’ll be doing your small part to help out the environment. Here are a few home improvement ideas that will make your home greener without breaking the bank.
· Replace all of the filters in your heating, ventilation, and cooling systems. When your filters become clogged with dust and debris, your HVAC has to work harder which equals higher energy bills.
· If you have an outdoor air conditioning unit, you should clear out any debris. You may also want to trim back or remove plants that are too close to the unit. This can dramatically improve the performance of your air conditioning unit.
· Seal up or replace drafty windows or doors. Your heating and cooling systems have to work harder if the outside air is getting inside through drafty windows and doors. A cheaper option is to replace the weather strips around doors and reseal the windows. A more expensive solution that will have more dramatic results is to replace windows and doors completely with ones that are more energy efficient.
· Have your ducts inspected for leaks. Approximately 25% of cooling costs are the result of duct leaks. Have them tested by a certified contractor and repair or replace them if needed.
· Replace your old thermostat with a state of the art programmable one. It’s a relatively small investment that can save you a large amount of money during a long, hot summer or a long, cold winter.
· Invest in ceiling fans. Typically, ceiling fans can warm or cool a room more efficiently than your heating or air conditioning systems. During the summer, ceiling fans pull warm air up and circulate cooler air back down. In the winter, you can change the direction of the fan so that the blades pull warm air trapped by the ceiling and force it down to heat your home.
· If you get a lot of sun shining on the south side of your home in the summer months, you can plant some shade trees on that side of your home. A little bit of shade can go a long way in decreasing cooling costs.
· You can also focus on your home’s exterior. Harsh weather can damage your walls, exterior doors, and roof which will drive up your heating and cooling costs. Periodically have your roof inspected and have any vulnerable areas patched. You can also install energy efficient siding to keep energy bills down.
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