A new year usually brings hope for change: whether that’s dieting, exercising more, learning a new skill, or finding a better job.
But don’t forget to include your home in your #newyearnewme attitude. Besides increasing your resale value and reducing your energy costs, these energy-efficient home upgrades can also save you a few bucks…money you can put toward pursuing your other goals for 2019.
Florida is well-known for its blistering, humid summers, which puts a strain on your HVAC system. So anything that takes some of the burden off your A/C will save you in the end.
Heat from the sun enters your home through the roof (more roof = more heat) and settles into your attic, then transfers into the rest of your home. But adding a layer of attic insulation can prevent this heat (or cold) from getting into your home in the first place.
What type of insulation you choose will determine whether you need to call an expert or not. You may be able to install cotton batting sheets yourself with a little know-how, but you’ll need to call a pro for spray foam installation.
Windows and Doors
Another area where air can escape your home is through windows and doors. Yes, even if you caulk and seal them well, heat transfer can occur through the material itself.
Modern-day doors and windows have excellent insulating technology which can keep hot air out and cool air in. Some windows even block the heat from the sun entirely, meaning you can let that daylight stream in all summer without having to worry about your electric bill.
Having your doors and windows replaced is definitely an investment, but it’s well worth it if you’re thinking about your home’s resale value. HGTV estimates that you can receive up to 80% of your initial investment when you sell.
Solar water heating panels are ubiquitous in Central Florida to heat pools, but solar-powered homes are becoming increasingly popular.
Purchasing a solar system to take your house “off-grid,” is costly, but you’ll be able to recoup some of those losses when you sell your home. You’ll also be getting free electricity (minus the cost of the system) for as long as your solar panels last—up to 30 years. Not to mention the 30% tax credit.
If this sounds a little too steep for you, consider leasing solar panels instead. You’ll still see a decrease in energy consumption (10-30%) but you won’t own the solar panels, so you won’t receive any tax credits or other incentives.
If you decide to look to the skies for your electric needs, take some time to determine whether buying or leasing solar panels is the right decision for you.
If you’ve been in Florida for any significant amount of time, you probably already know how hurricanes and summer thunderstorms can affect your power.
Smaller, gas-powered generators can be helpful for operating smaller appliances, but they’re noisy and run on gasoline. Installing a whole home generator could leave you with little to no interruption in your usual routine…even when the neighbors are racing to use up the food in their fridge.
Whole house generators run on either natural gas or propane, so you have options depending on your home. They’re also much quieter than portable generators, switch on automatically, and can handle a much larger load. So you can have A/C, a cold fridge, and still watch TV with the kids. If do don’t have a natural gas hookup at your home, you’ll just have to make sure you have an adequate stock of propane tanks, especially during hurricane season.
Green Power Box
Fun fact: you’re paying for more energy than you’re using! That’s right, when you receive electricity from the power company, some energy gets wasted and simply disperses into the air.
But what if you could capture, store, and harness this energy to optimize your energy consumption? Enter: the Green Power Box.
This little device is about the size of a shoebox, but it can mean big savings. As well as reducing the power draw from the utility company, the Green Power Box reduces greenhouse gases and provides surge protection on your expensive appliances.
Smart Home Devices
Smart devices have been around for a while, but they still make you feel like you’re living in the future. As well as the cool factor, they can make our lives a little easier with just a swipe or tap of your phone screen.
Smart thermostats prevent you from wasting A/C energy cooling your home when you’re not there. With most of these systems, you can create schedules for each day so your A/C automatically raises and lowers the temperature of your home for you. Others learn your habits and take care of this step for you.
You can still override the preset temps at the thermostat or from your phone, so you don’t even have to get off the couch to make your home more comfortable.
How much you can expect to save will depend on a few factors, such as how much time you spend out of the house and what temperature you feel more comfortable at. But even a few dollars a month can add up over the course of a year and these thermostats are reasonably affordable.
A smart leak detector monitors your plumbing for changes in water flow, pressure, and temperature to alert you when anything changes. Most will even shut off the water if a leak is detected.
And if the remediation and renovation savings aren’t enough, you might even see a discount on your home insurance premiums. Only one company is offering this right now, but we may begin to see the tides turn in the future as this type of tech becomes more popular.
Smart appliances can be great energy savers…within reason. That fridge that has a screen in the door that connects to the internet is definitely going to require more energy to run. But one that can be programmed to run defrost mode overnight when power costs less? That’s another story.
If you decide to upgrade to smart appliances, make sure you’re not doing it just to keep up with the Joneses. Otherwise, those “home improvements” won’t be improving anything.
If your new year’s resolution is to save money on energy costs or improve your home’s resale value, these upgrades are sure to fit the bill.
Saving energy is all about reducing your dependency on the power company, and solar panels, new appliances, attic insulation, and new windows will maximize your utility budget so you save both energy and money.
At EDC, we offer thermal imaging inspections with all of our full home inspections to pinpoint any moisture or electrical problems lurking behind the drywall. Knowing where your home is losing energy is the key to prioritizing home energy upgrades this year.