Everyone wants the secret to not paying such high electric bills, and we have decided to share with you some home improvements to lower your utility bills this year. These are home improvements that may cost an up front investment, but are worth it in the long run to help curtail the costs of your utility expenses. From electricity to natural gas, the costs to heat and cool your home can be astronomical at times. Becoming energy efficient makes a huge difference and is a great way to make positive changes in your environment and your economic status.
5 Awesome Home Improvements Anyone Can Do To Lower Your Utility Bills
Install Upgraded or Extra Insulation
This is one of the biggest things lacking in most homes today. Not only is quality insulation not there, many times there simply isn’t enough insulation. Not only should you have plenty of insulation in your walls, but inside your attack as well. In recent years, recycled materials have been used to create various spray and foam insulations. These are both cost effective to install, as well as simply for someone to do themselves. Hiring an outside contractor is a good idea if you are unsure, and most local utility companies will make recommendations on what you need.
Install Upgraded Windows and Doors
Many older homes have doors that have cracks, leaks or poor seals. They can also be thin and lacking in insulation inside them. Wooden doors are great, but there are also doors that are made with quality thick insulation inside them that will give you even more protection from the elements. Windows are a big source of energy issues. Installing upgraded thicker windows or even double pane windows can help. If you are able to add a layer of tint to the window in the process, you’ll be able to cut back on some of the cooling expenses in summer months when the sun is beating down and into your home. Adding extra weather sealant around existing windows and doors is a simple way to seal cracks and air leaks as well.
As a low cost, immediate alternative, you can also cover your windows with plastic for extra thick window like benefits on a dime. The window kits are cheap and easy to install and will give you immediate benefits when you can’t invest in upgraded windows. Most kits will cover several windows and start around $8 a kit!
You can get great deals on plastic window kits HERE.
Plant Shade Trees Around Your Home
This is a long term investment, but a great home improvement to lower your utility bills. Shade trees offer a great way to keep your home from getting overheated in the summer months. Plant in areas that receive the most sunlight, and you’ll benefit as the trees grow. Do research prior to planting about the individual tree and its needs. You’ll also want to consider things like how far the roots will grow, and if they could cause problems with things like water or septic lines. Don’t just randomly plant a tree. Think it through. You’ll also want to consider the growth rate and how large a tree will get. You don’t want to plant an extremely large tree only inches from your home where it won’t have room to grow.
One thing that we did was double-duty with the extra trees we planted. We wanted to grow our own food, along with shade around our home, so we planted 5 fruit bearing trees in our backyard a couple of years ago to aide in both ways!
Install Solar Panels on Your Roof
This is a major investment but the return on your investment is well worth it. Not only are you using natural sources of energy, you’ll be able to see a marked difference in your utility costs over the years you own your home. Solar energy is a wonderful way to lower utility costs, as well as increase the value of your home.
Install a Digital, Programmable Thermostat
Something as simple as a programmable digital thermostat for your heating and cooling system can make a huge difference in your utility bill costs. Being able to set your thermostat to lower the temperature or raise it at select times of day will help you to regulate your home as needed. This is great for someone who works outside the home and wants to have their home cool when they walk in the door, but could tolerate the home being 5-10 degrees warmer while they are away. We installed one of these several years ago when we grabbed a great deal on a new one from Amazon. We started seeing utility savings the very next month. It is so worth the very small investment.
Even though this is last on our list, this should be the first thing you should do as the investment is less than $40 and the results are noticed in the next month’s utility bill. Plus it is super easy to install and operate, not to mention a little more convenient!
You can actually pickup a very nice programmable thermostat on for about $30 with free shipping HERE. This is the same brand and similar to the one we bought (except ours is an older model).
When considering these home improvements to lower your utility bills, you have to understand that some investments will take a few years to pay off. The result will be long term savings and increased equity in your home.