Thinking of renovating your home for winter? You might be considering cozy additions like a brick fireplace or a hot tub, but don’t forget that colder weather brings higher utility costs. An energy-efficient remodel can pay for itself by lowering your bills. Here are four home renovations you can complete to keep Old Man Winter from taking a bite out of your budget.
Insulation is your home’s most important barrier between your family and the cold air outside. An insulation upgrade is one of the easiest ways to improve energy efficiency. Reinforce existing insulation by adding another layer in your attic or walls. You can also use weather stripping or draft stoppers to insulate around doors and windows.
Replace HVAC System
The percentage of home energy used for heating and cooling has declined to just under half from nearly 60% in 1993. However, your home’s energy picture could be much different if your HVAC is a dinosaur. Replacing your system with a new, efficient one can slash your monthly heating bills. Consider an energy star certified system, heat pump or geothermal system for the greatest efficiency and most savings.
Install Efficient Windows
Your old windows could be adding dollars to your monthly energy bill by letting cold air leak in. Replacing them with new, more efficient windows is a great way to stop the draft and save money. Consider fixed pane or insulated fiberglass windows for the highest level of efficiency. Don’t want to deal with the dirty job of removing and installing windows yourself? Home improvement contractors can have all your windows replaced in less than a day with no mess to clean up.
You might not think about plumbing when it comes to winter utility costs, but water usage can also increase in cold weather due to longer showers, hot baths and running water to keep pipes from freezing. Consider upgrading your shower heads and faucets to low flow models and installing extra insulation around your pipes. A great way to reduce both your water and energy costs is to upgrade your water heater to an efficient tankless model.
If you don’t have the budget or the time to make all four renovations, remember that every little bit helps. Each dollar you can shave off your utility bill is a dollar that can go into your pocket for other necessities, winter vacations or holiday shopping. Keep making energy efficient upgrades when you can and watch the savings add up.
Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She loves being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Meghan finds happiness in researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure. You can connect with her on Facebook right here and Twitter right here.
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