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Energy Efficient Renovations for Your Home

Posted by Chip Glennon on Monday, October 15th, 2018 at 10:29am.

Energy Efficient Upgrades for HomeownersEnergy efficiency can save homeowners money, improve property value, reduce a home's carbon footprint and is an important part of sustainable home construction. These home upgrades can help homeowners reduce their utility bills and make their home more attractive to buyers, should they ever decide to sell.

New Windows

It's well known that single pane windows are not the most efficient option for homeowners. The US ENERGY STAR program estimates that most homeowners can save approximately $100 to $500 annually just by replacing their single pane windows.

What to look for?

Energy efficient windows will have two or three panes of glass, not one. Sometimes the space between these windows is filled with gas, other times it's filled with air. Gas-filled windows are more efficient, although both are better than traditional single pane varieties.

Homeowners can look for the ENERGY STAR rating on new windows to find the most efficient windows for their Overland Park home. Energy efficiency needs vary from one part of the country to the next, so homeowners should choose their windows based on their region and climate. Talking to a window installation expert can help homeowners choose the right windows for their home.

HVAC System Upgrade

Air conditioners last about 15 years, while heaters last about 20. However, in that time, many systems will become highly inefficient. Although routine maintenance can help keep up with some of these problems, the best way to improve efficiency in an old HVAC system is to replace the system altogether. Modern HVAC systems use less energy and work faster and better than older systems.

What to look for?

The ENERGY STAR label is only given to the most energy efficient units on the market. Homeowners should also ensure that their home's HVAC system is installed by a qualified technician. Improper installation of an HVAC system can reduce its efficiency by as much as 30 percent, and can lead to maintenance problems down the road.

Smart thermostats are also a nice feature. These products cost a couple hundred extra dollars, but they can save homeowners money over time. Smart thermostats are similar to programmable thermostats, but they go the extra mile by "learning" homeowner behaviors and adjusting the temperature accordingly.

Appliance Replacement

Like the HVAC systems, appliances have changed over the years. The best modern appliances focus on energy savings and efficiency. Washers, dryers, ovens and refrigerators all are designed to provide the best performance with the least amount of energy possible. Replacing old appliances can also improve a home's property value in noticeable ways. Home buyers love the look of new appliances, and will pay to live in homes that have all new appliances.

What to look for?

Although modern appliances are designed to be more energy efficient than appliances from years past, bottom of the line models are not usually as efficient as they could be. Homeowners who want to replace their appliances with the most energy efficient models possible should do research before making their purchases.

Homeowners who need to talk to someone about their purchases can talk to authorized dealers. Authorized dealers usually have expertise and in-depth knowledge about these appliances, so homeowners can get clarification from an expert before making their purchase.

Seal and Insulate

A lot of energy can leak out of the home through cracks and gaps in the siding, windows, doors and foundations. Even the walls and ceilings will leak energy, forcing the HVAC system to work harder than necessary to heat up the house. Sealing and insulating the home can improve energy efficiency right away. Most homeowners will hire an experienced contractor to do this work, since improving insulation can sometimes mean opening up walls.

What to look for?

When hiring a professional to seal and insulate the home, it's important to find someone who has experience with older homes and who knows where most of the weaknesses in the home's building envelope can be found. Homeowners may even consider getting an energy audit before hiring a contractor, since an energy auditor can point out points of weakness where energy is lost in the home.

Low Flow Fixtures

Low flow fixtures like low flow toilets and faucets can help homeowners save money on water usage. Low flow fixtures can save hundreds or thousands of gallons of water per year, depending on what's being replaced.

What to look for?

Some low flow fixtures save more water than others. Homeowners who truly want to dramatically reduce their home water usage should look for how many "gallons per minute" (or GPM) the fixture uses. This is a good way to compare one type of low flow fixture to another.

Homeowners who have more questions about how they can reduce their home's energy usage and save money can talk to a qualified and experienced energy auditor. A good energy auditor can help homeowners decide what is the best way to save energy around the house and reduce utility bills.

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