Energy Efficient Home Improvements

Energy efficient improvements that pay off

Energy efficient home improvements not only make your home “greener” or reduce your utility cost, it can also make your home more appealing to home buyers. According to a recent real estate report done by Harvard University, buyers are willing to pay up to 10% more for homes that are certified green. To give your home an energy-efficient makeover, you can take simple measures like replacing your old appliances or larger modifications like upgrading your HVAC.

Ecofriendly Home Improvements

Let’s take a look at a few among the greenest ideas you can do to make an energy efficient home:

1. Install high-efficiency water heater. Water heating makes up to 15-25% of the annual energy usage in a home. If you switch to a solar water heater you can use 50-80% less energy compared to a traditional water heater. Your household can trim its energy bill by 10-15% annually. Although solar-powered systems have a higher cost, most homeowners find that they can recoup the initial cost in just a few years. Not to mention that you may qualify for federal tax credit up to 30% of the cost to buy and install a residential solar water heating system. This credit is good through 2016.

2. Switch to energy efficient lightbulbs. By the end of 2014 federal law will require you to use them anyway so you might as well purchase them now.Try LED’s and compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL’s) instead.

3. Upgrade your old windows and doors. When your windows and doors are poorly sealed you can loose hot air during winter and cold during the warm months. Instead of aluminum-framed models go with wood. You can save a significant amount just by using air-tight models. Replacing your old ones with new also have a great rate of return on your investment. You can recoup around 72% of your cost.

4. Install a programmable thermostat. These handy little gadgets can pay for themselves in a matter of only a few months.

5. Insulation. About half of the homes in the United States are underinsulated. When your home is not insulated well, heated and cooled air can escape easily.  This of course results in a HVAC system that has to work that much harder to keep the desired temperature stable. Look for the R-value, that indicates the products thermal resistance. The higher the R-value, the more effective the insulation.

6. Replace your air filter. This has a major effect on your monthly bill. Your AC unit has to work very hard when pushing through a dirty filter. You don’t need to buy new air filters all the time though. Simply clean your vents every other months by using your vacuum or a damp rag.

7. Skylights. Not only do they look cool and pretty, they can keep a lot of money in your pocket. Natural light reduces your need for artificial light, decreasing you energy costs. Sunlight entering your home during the cold winter months can reduce your heating bill as well.

Energy Audit

This can be a good perk that most energy providers offer for homeowners for free. The audit only takes about an hour and the qualified reps can give you many suggestions on how to improve your homes energy efficiency. This is a great way to figure out which part of your property needs attention.

Tax credit

Do not forget about the tax credits that you may be qualified for. For eligible home improvements you may receive up to $500 in total tax credits  you’ve made since 2006. The tax break can also apply to 10% of the purchase price of certain insulation materials, energy-efficient windows, external doors and skylights, and metal roofs with pigmented coating or asphalt roofs with cooling granules that meet Energy Star requirements. If you want to learn more go to EnergySaver.com.