KEEPING UP WITH CURB APPEAL: Eco-Friendly and Energy Efficient Exterior Updates
As longer daylight hours bring warmer temperatures outside, many thermostat “wars” heat up inside. The battle between icy comfort and energy-consciousness is fought between those who enjoy the home and those who pay the energy bills.
Of course, no one wants to put summer fun on hold to trade leisure time for working on the house, yet it’s a perfect time to make energy updates that will pay dividends year-round.
Impactful and eco-friendly updates
Thermostat: Speaking of thermostat wars, you may want to begin by switching out your traditional thermostat for a “smart” thermostat. Smart thermostats are programmed by smart devices and connected to your home’s WiFi. In addition, the thermostat’s program learns the habits of your home and can suggest times where heating/cooling systems should be ramped up or down. With just a few tweaks, your energy bill will see the results.
Insulation: It might be a little warm in your attic these days, but it’s worth a little sweat to climb the ladder and evaluate your insulation. Insulation continues to become more efficient and is a friendly DIY project that homeowners can complete relatively quickly. This is because much of your home’s heating and cooling escapes through ceilings and your roof. In addition, by doing a good review of your attic, you can potentially catch minor issues before they become big problems. Look for signs of water, rodents, and gaps and make a plan to address those issues.
Ducts: Another place gaps can show up and lead to leaks in heating and cooling is in your ductwork. Ductwork moves the air – warm or cool – from your central system throughout the home. Gaps can form in seams causing the air to escape and never make it to your living areas. While some ductwork is accessible, it may be worth bringing in a pro to seal the system correctly.
Clothes Dryer: Warm and sunny days make it a great time to give your dryer a break and hang clothes and linens out to dry. The sun kills bacteria as well, an added benefit of letting your laundry fully dry outside. What’s more, you can use the time to ensure your dryer’s vent is cleaned and the seal caulked well to not allow gaps that could let in insects and let out cool air.
Windows & Doors: By far, one of the biggest ways air moves through your home is by way of leaky windows and doors. In the summer, warm air comes in, and cool air goes out, making your air conditioner work harder. When combined with family members coming in and out of doors more often in the summer, energy bills take the hit. Investing in new windows and doors throughout is a costly endeavor, but one that pays off immediately in your energy costs and again when you sell your home. If you can’t afford to do the whole home, choose either a door or a section of the home where you have the biggest loss – be sure to choose products that will likely be available when you’re ready for the next phase.
Making these investments in your home has an immediate impact on your energy costs, and they will also make your home more desirable at the time of resale. Tackling these projects in the warmer months will also pay off in the winter when your goal is to keep cold air out and warm air inside.