Easy Energy Upgrades

Often times, energy upgrades can be very costly. Adding insulation, replacing entire heating or cooling systems, and other big jobs can be extremely costly and often take many years to pay for themselves. Because of this, many homeowners opt to never perform any upgrades that would improve their home’s energy efficiency and comfort, increase its value and decrease their energy costs over time. Fortunately, there are several smaller energy upgrades you may not be aware of that offer a fast and significant return on investment, and I’d like to review a few of those here so you can take action and begin saving money and increasing value with your own home now.

The first simple thing you can do is replace any incandescent light bulbs with much more efficient LED bulbs. LEDs use far less wattage to produce the same amount of light, which translates to bulbs that cost much less to operate and last much longer. In addition, LEDs emit far less heat than incandescent bulbs so they don’t pose the threat of a potential fire hazard. LED bulbs do cost a little more, but they pay for themselves in hardly any time at all. They’re far more efficient, much cheaper over the long run, and safer. Not only that… you can replace the bulbs yourself, so there are no labor costs and no waiting period for a contractor. You can drive to the store this evening, purchase the bulbs, and go home and install them. What could be better!?

Another relatively simple upgrade is replacing an old mechanical thermostat with a programmable thermostat that allows you to program different temperatures for different time periods. The cost of the thermostat is quite low in comparison to other energy upgrades, and the ability to program your thermostat means that energy is only used at necessary times based on your particular needs and preferred comfort level. The return on investment for this upgrade isn’t quite as fast as the first recommendation, but it is still much faster than many other options. If you have a non-programmable thermostat, make upgrading it a priority and you’ll reap the benefits very quickly.

Another inexpensive and simple upgrade is ensuring that your ductwork or boiler piping is well sealed and insulated. The cost of this insulation job is obviously far less than the cost of other insulation jobs (like insulating an entire attic), and it will instantly produce better efficiency of your heating and/or cooling system and help ensure that the system remains in a good state of repair. The return on investment for this upgrade isn’t amazing, but it’s still worthwhile in the long run.

This last simple recommendation will not pertain to everyone right now but could pertain to anyone in the future. If you’re in the market for a new water heater, washer, dryer or other appliance, be sure that the new unit you purchase is Energy Star rated. These units are manufactured, tested and proven to consume less energy (often much less) than their older counterparts while accomplishing the same task. For example, an Energy Star rated dryer will possess a sensor to run only as long as necessary rather than for a set time period that may be longer than needed. Along those lines, if your dryer’s vent duct is flexible tin you would benefit from replacing it with rigid metal ducting, which is less prone to damage and lint clogging and improves the efficiency of your dryer.

Do any of these things and you’ll see improvement in your home’s energy efficiency that leads to quick cost savings, greater comfort and an increase in your home’s value and safety. If you can’t afford to do all of them at once, prioritize doing them as you’re able over time. These upgrades are simple but are very worthwhile, and you won’t regret doing them!

*To visit our main website, go to http://www.hillinspections.com

Author: hillinspections

I am a Certified Master Inspector (CMI) and the owner and operator of Hill Property Inspections LLC, the top-rated inspection company in the greater Johnstown, PA area, based out of western Pennsylvania. I specialize in property inspections and environmental testing services and have a passion for helping my own clients and other families in learning to properly maintain their homes. I’m also the owner of Hill Pest Control, LLC and a pest management professional committed to helping our clients rid their homes and businesses of unwanted pests. I am an Army veteran, former State Farm Insurance Agent, and real estate investor with experience in all facets of real estate construction, transaction and insurance. I am also the founder and President of the Southwestern PA Chapter of the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) and an affiliate member of the Cambria-Somerset Association of Realtors (CSAR).

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