We all desire to live better for less, especially on the road to early retirement, and there’s no better way to do that than upgrading our homes to be more efficient. The problem is that most of us hardly find any home improvement projects that are easy to implement, inexpensive, and effective at the same time.
If you’ve tried upgrading your home to cut costs but ended up tired and frustrated, you came to the right place. Granted, there are ways to upgrade your home simply, economically, and effortlessly. Here’s what you need to do:
Upgrade your plumbing fixtures
The water bill usually takes up a large portion of our monthly expenses. This is because nearly every room in our homes uses water. The good thing is that it is quite simple to reduce your water consumption and cut costs. Here’re a few things you can try:
Install a thermostatic mixing valve – Having a thermostatic mixing valve on your water heater is a great way to ensure you save water and energy in your home. This valve combines hot and cold water, maintaining a balanced temperature level in the water flowing through the shower and bath outlets. Besides helping you save energy, that ensures you’re protected from scalding and boost your showering comfort. When you want to shower, for instance, the device reduces the wastage of hot water and energy, as it only accesses the point-source heater only when necessary to reach the right temperature.
Install low-flow toilets – A conventional toilet usually uses up to five gallons of water in one flush. While that may not seem alarming, you can imagine how much water you flush each month if you have a bigger family. Many low-flow toilet options on the market use as low as 1.6 gallons of water per flush. You just need to make sure you get a good quality toilet because not all of them flush that well.
Replace your faucets – Older bathroom and kitchen faucets typically use more water than the newer models. Did you know that faucets that were manufactured before 1992 use up to seven gallons of water per minute? That’s a lot when you consider that after 1998, that figure went down to 2.2 gallons per minute. If you are using old faucets in your house, you will save yourself a lot of water each month by upgrading them.
Additional plumbing-related upgrades to consider include a water softener system, a reverse osmosis filter, and a conservation-oriented sprinkler timer system.
Install solar panels
Another way to offset your energy costs and help protect the environment is by using solar panels. If your area receives a decent amount of sunlight, you will power your home to a great extent if you install high-quality solar panels. During the warm spring and hot summer days, you can produce more than you can consume. You can draw from the grid during the cloudy days after the solar panels stop generating power. In most cases, however, cloudy days generate between 10% and 20% of the electricity generated during the sunny days.
Depending on your local state, you can install solar panels at a very low cost owing to tax credits. Every state has unique tax credits and rebates, so ensure you find out from the authorities how much you can save by installing solar panels.
Install a whole-house fan
A whole-house fan is a large fan that is installed in the ceiling of the topmost floor of the house. This fan works by drawing huge amounts of air up and out of the house. In other words, having this fan is like opening your windows at night to allow cool air in and then closing them at daybreak to trap the cool air inside. Compared to the standard air conditioning system, the whole-house fan is very energy efficient. It can use as little as 10% of the power used by a central air conditioner while keeping the whole house more comfortable.
It is particularly a great investment if you live in a warm climate, and your home contains attic vents. The best part is that you can sync it with your home automation systems, affording you more control.
Switch to smart lighting
Today, many smart lighting options can help you cut your electricity bills significantly. Here are a few great examples:
- Energy-saving light bulbs, such as light-emitting diodes
- Halogen incandescents
- Compact fluorescent lamps
You can also include motion sensors to save even further because they make sure the lights are on and off based on movement. Having your lights controlled by a home automation system is also a great way to save on your electricity bill, as it helps you control the lights remotely and preset the lights to switch on and off during designated times of the day. It also allows you to analyze how much you are using your lighting, allowing you to make sound lighting choices.
Did you know that an energy-efficient light bulb can last up to 25 times longer than a conventional bulb? What’s even better is the fact that you can make the installations yourself.