10 Home Upgrades That Will Save You Money

Introduction

Every homeowner knows that the costs of your home don’t end with a simple mortgage payment. From utilities, homeowners insurance, property tax, maintenance and repairs the costs can sometimes seem never ending.

This is especially true in older homes that have had the regular wear and tear that comes with age. Many older homes come with older appliances.

This older technology is costing you more money and a simple upgrade can drastically reduce your monthly bills. There are certain techniques and products that will not only save you time, but money. While these upgrades will cost you an initial investment, most of them will pay themselves off in cost savings in under a year.

1. Swapping Out Your Old Light Bulbs

This is one of the easiest and most affordable ways to save you big on your electricity bill year after year. Sure, living without lights on will save you a ton of money but it isn’t the most logical solution.

Switching to high efficiency light bulbs can save you up to 80% on your electricity bill. These lightbulbs also lasts you about 25 times as long which means you will not have to constantly replace them, saving you even more dough.

2. Upgrade Your Old Dishwasher

The dishwasher is one of those beloved modern luxuries many people could not live without. It is also one of the biggest water and energy guzzlers in your home. Rather than ditching your dishwasher all together simply upgrading to a newer energy efficient model can save you a ton while helping the planet.

A dishwasher made before 1994 is said to waste over 10 gallons of water a cycle. Most households wash their dishes once a day which in turn wastes over 3,650 gallons of water a year.

Ultimately this costs you, the homeowner, in a very big way. Switching to an energy efficient model not only helps the planet and increases your homes value.

3. Opt For A High-Efficiency Washer And Dryer

Doing laundry has become the second largest water hog in your home. On average, the typical family does around 300 loads annually. While having clean clothes is non negotiable, spending a ton of laundry is.

Models made prior to 1999 use roughly four times more energy than newer energy efficient models. Walmart has plenty of energy-saving dishwashers and dryers at a fairly economical price.

Switching to a more energy efficient model washing machine can save you 25% in energy consumption and 45% of your water consumption. This translates into about $45 a year on your utility bills.

ENERGY STAR estimates that if every clothes washer bought in the US was certified by them the annual savings would be more than $4 billion. This in turn would save over 19 billion pounds of greenhouse emissions a year.

More than 80% of Americans use a dryer as part of their laundry regime. Switching to an energy efficient dryer uses 20% less than older models. Try hanging your clothes to dry on an outdoor clothesline.

This does not use any electricity, saves you money on dryer sheets, and leaves your clothes smelling fresh. It will also increase the lifespan of your clothing as you will no longer be left with clothes that have holes, are faded or shrunk in the dryer.

4. Install A Low Flush Toilet

The flushing of toilets in your home is the number one cause of water consumption. The average person flushes a toilet about five times a day.

Toilets made before 1992 use between 3.5 – 7 gallons of water a flush. For a family of four this is 70 – 140 gallons a day or 25,550 – 51,100 gallons a year.

Replacing your toilet with a high efficiency option will reduce your water consumption drastically. You will be only using around 1.6 gallons of water or less a flush. This makes the water savings you will receive in the tens of thousands of gallons annually.

Even though this is a small change it saves you big. While replacing every toilet in your home may not be possible, we recommend changing your most used toilets first for the most savings.

There are even government incentive programs out there that will sweeten the deal. This often comes in terms of a rebate or a tax incentive.

Additionally, lots of these toilets will have multiple flush options for liquid or solid waste and adjust the amount of water used accordingly.

These toilets aren’t expensive sitting at around $100 – $200 and can end up paying themselves off in terms of savings in the first year.

5. Switch To Low Flow Water Faucets

This simple fix is reported to save you a whopping 60% of your water bill. Based on the average water bill you could save between $30 – $100 per month, or an impressive $216 – $720 a year.

Many shower heads, such as the rainfall shower head, do this by simply reducing the amount of pressure and giving you a more relaxing shower.

Switching your faucets is often a gradual process. Choosing to change your taps over a period of time rather than all at once may be a more appealing way to keep the savings trickling in.

Be sure to start with the most used ones, such as the faucets in the main shower, kitchen and bathrooms. This will help you to see the most savings right off the bat. This is an incredibly cost effective option that should be the top of everyone’s renovation list.

6. Maintaining Your Water Heater

No need to upgrade your water heating system with this one, just some simple TLC is all you need. Your heater plays an important role in your household – one that goes far beyond just heating your home up.

Heating the water your home uses is one of the largest contributors to your heat bill. Your hot water tank has an assigned temperature that it heats your water to, typically 140 degrees.

Reducing this temperature even a small amount, say to 120 degrees, will show up on your end of month bill.

Another simple DIY project is adding extra insulation around your hot water tank and the surrounding pipes. This works to help reduce or even eliminate the heat that escapes from your tank, especially in the colder months of the year.

This is something that shouldn’t cost a ton. A simple insulating blanket costs only around $20 but will save you a significant amount on your bills. Combine this trick with a lower water temperature to watch your bills become more and more affordable.

7. Switch to a Programmable Thermostat

This is an incredibly overlooked cost savings method that can save you a ton of money. Older modeled thermostats are known for detecting inaccurate temperatures and keep your home at temperatures that you have little control over.

It is said that every degree your house sits above room temperature accounts for roughly 5% of your energy bill. Simply reducing your heat and using socks and sweaters will save you money.

You have probably heard of smart thermostats such as the Nest, a programmable thermostat that connects to your smartphone. This type of thermostat learns your habits and adjusts the temperature accordingly.

Every time you adjust a temperature the thermostat uses that information to create a specific program for you. Connecting to your smartphone means that you can control it from anywhere.

This allows you complete control to adjust the temperature in your home. It uses your phone to learn when you are not at home and puts your house on eco mode.

This reduces your consumption drastically turning your thermostat down while you are at work and increasing it before you come home. Making this home upgrade saves you hundreds a year and costs a mere $250.

8. Seal Your Windows And Doorways

A drafty door or window can cost you tonnes of money throughout the year. In the summer a leak can let the precious cold air out and vice versa in the winter.

Make it a routine every spring and fall to take a walk around your home and check your windows and exterior doors. The best way to do this is by checking the seal and siding around the frames.

If it looks cracked or peeling it may be time to re caulk. If you suspect a crack or seal may be letting the elements in, simply run a thick bead around the frame. You can use your index finger to smooth it out and ensure everything is sealed up tight.

Exterior doors should also be checked during this time. Most doors will have a piece of weather stripping at the bottom. Since you open these doors frequently that piece of metal is prone to shift or breaking altogether.

If you noticed it off center you can easily adjust this seal by simply sliding it back into place. If it is damaged beyond repair remove it and bring it to your hardware store.

Weather stripping is easy and inexpensive to replace, but can save you big on your heating bill.

Windows are one of the main ways your home interacts with the elements. Older homes may have less efficient panes of glass that can be making your heating system work harder.

Modern windows use a two, or even three, paned system. This means that there are two or three pieces of glass with small air pockets in between. These little spaces heat up or cool down depending on the season.

This limits the effects of the elements on your home, ultimately saving you money.

Curtains and blinds can also go a long way to save you money. It may not seem like a big deal, but closing your curtains during the day can help regulate the temperature in your home.

Even with double paned windows some heat can enter and escape. Curtains create another air pocket which makes the temperature change less drastic.

9. Install Solar Panels

The environmental factor of this is as good as the savings. This is becoming such a popular idea that more and more people are switching to it.

It can save you so much that there is even a Google powered website you can use called Project Sunroof to show you how much sun your house gets per year.

It will show you how much usable space your roof has, provide you with a recommended setup and tell you how much you will save by installing a solar panel.

This will help you to decide if installing a solar panel will be beneficial to you. Homes with a lot of sun exposure can add solar panels and sell unused energy back to the hydro company which in turn pays you.

While installing a solar panel may seem costly, the price of them has actually reduced quite a bit in the past years to make it more affordable than ever.

More and more you are finding high quality combo packs that come with affordable price tags that will typically pay themselves off within the first year of purchase.

10. Go For A Green Roof

A green roof is the most costly of the options but by far the most helpful in terms of energy consumption and saving our planet. If your homes roof is nearing the end of its life, upgrading to a green roof is an incredibly wise decision.

This is a newer concept that involves covering your roof entirely with plants and vegetation. A green roof has nearly endless rewards, one of them being that the soil and plants act as an insulator to your home.

This keeps your home warm in the winter months as well as cooling your home in the summer. As a bonus, it is also a very good sound insulator.

Taking this one step further you can use your new roof space as an area to start a garden and can work at feeding your family. Starting a vegetable garden will actively save you a ton of money.

Installing a seating area can increase your home’s square footage and be incredibly appealing to potential buyers, thus increasing your homes value.

Having a green roof, especially in the city, helps to combat greenhouse gases on a drastic level. The plants absorb the carbon emissions and replace them with the oxygen that we use to breathe.

This adds to air quality and as an added bonus drastically decreases your homes fire risk.

Final Thoughts

The best part of these home upgrades is that these are all one time purchases that will save you for years to come. Often, these small alterations will also increase the value of your house and be more appealing features to buyers as they will reap the savings as well.

High efficiency products may be entitled to financial incentives or tax breaks. This is used by your government as a way to encourage the move to a for efficient household. Claiming this money will act as free money to your family that can make a huge difference in your life.

Do you have any of these upgrades in your home? Talk to us about how much money it is saving you in the comment section below.

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