What Homeowners Can Do to Save on Energy Costs
Everyone likes to save money. Upgrading your home to reduce energy costs can cut your yearly expenditure while increasing the value of your home. Itís also healthy for the environment.
Homeowners can do several simple things to start saving right away. Replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs is a good first step. Although CFLs cost more initially, they use two-thirds of the energy and can last five to seven years with ordinary use. Imagine not changing a light bulb for seven years! Lowering the thermostat on the water heater and unplugging appliances when not in use are two more quick and easy ways to see a reduction in your energy bills.
To see real results, especially in older homes, you may have to make an initial investment. Replacing old furnaces and air conditioning systems may seem like daunting tasks, but the money you save in the long run by switching to new technology will soon pay for itself. Older furnaces can lose as much as 35 percent of the heat produced through the flue. New two-stage air conditioning units operate at a lower power level (and cost) when the weather is warm but not hot.
Why not upgrade your kitchen with new, energy-efficient appliances? Clean-running washing machines and dryers are now available in a variety of colors. All appliances are now rated for energy efficiency, and reflect modern design trends with sleek contemporary styling. Installing a new refrigerator and dishwasher will save money while updating the look of your home.
Consider your windows. Stylish window treatments are available in thermal fabrics that insulate as well as decorate, keeping rooms comfortable all year round. Or you may choose to make an investment in new windows. Older windows are infamously drafty, allowing both cold and heat into the home and increasing energy costs. New, double-paned windows not only increase the insulating power of your windows, they also have updated weather stripping, preventing hot summer breezes or frosty winter drafts from entering. Windows are available in many decorative styles to add beauty and charm to any home design.
If you own a swimming pool, youíre probably familiar with the hum of the filtration system, especially during the summer months. The electricity used to run pool pumps, heaters, filters and cleaning devices can add up to 50 percent of a homes energy usage during the swimming season. Upgrading to a new, energy-efficient pool pump and heater can save you hundreds of dollars each year.
Remember to do your research before upgrading your home and choose a qualified, licensed contractor for any home improvements. Improving the energy efficiency of your home will not only reduce your energy costs. It will also increase the value of your home. Homebuyers can and should add energy-efficient improvements to their list of criteria when looking for a home.
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