All homeowners want to improve the efficiency of their home. Making your home more energy efficient can improve home resale value, make your home safer, and - most importantly - save you money.
However, while replacing your HVAC system or adding insulation to your attic can impact your home's efficiency, these solutions can be expensive. According to Thumbtack the cost to install a whole-house HVAC system in 2019 can cost between $4,000 - $12,000 (based on the national average).
Instead, we recommend starting with these three simpler upgrades that can still significantly reduce heating and cooling costs quickly and without breaking the bank.
1. Replace Your Old Light bulbs with LEDs
You've probably heard that LEDs are more efficient, last longer, and give off less heat versus Incandescent or even Compact Fluorescent Bulbs.
Well, It's true.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), replacing just 5 of your home's most frequently used light bulbs can save a home $150 each year. That is based on just 4hrs/day usage at a rate of 11 cents per kilowatt-hour (many homes keep their lights on for much longer throughout the day).
2. Install a Smart Thermostat
Do you forget shut off you’re A/C when your house is empty? Wouldn’t it be cool (no pun intended) if your thermostat could know when you get home and adjust the temperature automatically? A smart thermostat can do all of this (and a lot more). Best of all using a smart thermostat can save homeowners between $130 - $150 on average per year on energy costs.
Our favorite is the Ecobee4 Smart Thermostat. At only $200 (and usual for less when it’s on sale) it can pay for itself in just 1 year of use!
Regardless which smart thermostat you buy it’s very easy to install yourself with no professional needed.
3. Weather Seal Your Doors and Windows
Can you feel a draft coming through any of your closed door or windows? If so, you should consider adding weather stripping or caulking to seal cracks which can make your home cheaper to heat and cool. If you live in a newer house your doors and windows probably do a better job at regulating indoor temperature, but that extra sealing can add an additional layer of insulation especially if you live in a cold climate.
However, if you live in an older home with single-pane windows weather sealing my not be enough in the long term where replacing your windows/doors would be best. However, any additional sealing now can have add significant improvements to your living space regardless of your living situation or budget.
Check out this easy do-it-yourself guide from Lowes on how to weather trip your windows.
What do you think? Do you miss anything? Do you have any other affordable ways to improve a home's energy efficiency? Let us know in the comments below ↓
As Floridians, hurricanes have become almost as common as washing lovebugs off our cars. We like to think we don't scare as easily as other states in the face of a category 2, but we also know how devastating hurricanes can be especially when we don't take the proper precautions.
In preparation of the 2019 hurricane season (June 1 - Nov 30) we've put together some quick tips on how to plan and prepare for the worst:
Can you remember the cell phone numbers of each of your family members? In an emergency, you may not have quick access to digitally stored contact information. Keep an updated, physical copy of important numbers in your car or wallet just in case. Also keep in mind phone lines may be down or congested during an emergency and social media may be the best way to contact your child.
2. Special Food/Medicine
Family members who are older and/or have special dietary requirements are more at risk during a hurricane when access to certain foods or medical supplies are limited. Make sure to keep, if possible, an excess of special foods or medical supplies during hurricane season.
3. Clear/Declutter Your Yard
Use this time of year to purge items that you've been meaning to get rid of around the house that may be a danger to your home during a hurricane. That broken leaf blower you've been meaning to fix? It's got to go. Even old metal or wood laying around can not only post a threat to your property but those homes around you. Wind gusts north of 100mph can turn a 2x4 or into a battering ram.
4. Emergency Kit
Most people know to have an emergency kit handy with a number of essentials including flashlights, water, batteries, chargers, first aid etc... but don't forget to store these items in a safe place.
For example, during hurricane Jeanne in 2004 our emergency kit was ruined along with most of the first aid kit because water had ruined the paper bag we had the supplies in.
Takeaway = keep your emergency kit in a waterproof case!
5. Fill up your car's gas tank
Seriously. Do it.
There's nothing worse than having to wait in a 3h line of cars to (maybe) get 5 gallons of gas.
Do you have any other tips that aren't talked about as much? Do you have a hurricane survival story to share? Let us know in the comments below.