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8 Thrifty Home Improvements that Save Energy

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The upgrades and improvements you make on your home today can result in some pretty fabulous long-term savings, provided you do a little planning ahead of time. By making changes that will allow your home to utilize energy more efficiently, your redesign can save you some green and let you live “greener”, too.   

Before you begin working, an energy audit can show you where in the house your money should be allocated. According to Texas electricity providers, by performing an energy audit on your home and making improvements accordingly, you can save anywhere from 5 to 30 percent on your monthly utility bills each month.

Here are eight simple steps to get you started:

Insulation and Weather Stripping

The first step to improving the energy efficiency of your home is making sure there aren’t leaks around the doors and windows. Leaks can also be found in the attic and basement. Before thinking about insulating the home, you need to check for leaks and use weather stripping. Otherwise, any energy-efficiency measures will not work. Next, you should insulate the walls as well as in the attic. Much of the heating and cooling escapes a home that isn’t insulated.

Energy-Efficient Lightbulbs

According to Energy.gov, energy-efficient bulbs use twenty-five to eighty percent less energy than traditional bulbs. They can also last up to twenty-five times longer than traditional bulbs. While they may cost a bit more at purchase, over the life of the bulb, it brings in more energy savings.

Upgrade the Dishwasher

Older model dishwashers manufactured before 1994 can waste up to 10 gallons more water than newer dishwashers. According to Energy Star, a new dishwasher can save you over $35 a year on utility bills. Reducing water usage and using less energy will have the added benefit of reducing pollution and reducing the impact on the environment. Consumer Reports has a list of the best dishwashers to save energy and money.

Programmable Thermostat

There’s no reason to run your heater or air conditioning when you’re not home, yet you can’t leave them off when you’re out of the home either. While you’re at work, you can lower the thermostat then have it raised a half hour before you’re scheduled to get home from work. You can save money by using a programmable thermostat in your home. Some thermostats come with smartphone apps to help you control the temperature in your home too.

Low-Flow Fixtures

Between low-flow shower heads, faucets and toilets, you can save energy and hot water each year, which is the second highest energy expense in the home according to Energy.gov.

Tankless Water Heater

Water heaters with tanks of water have to keep that water heated until it’s demanded by the homeowner. That kind of energy use is called standby energy, which can cost you a lot of money in energy each year. A tankless water heater doesn’t have to keep water heated in a tank, so it can save you money each year in energy as well as water costs.

Ceiling Fans

Instead of fiddling with the temperature in the home through the thermostat, purchasing a ceiling fan could be a better option. It’ll save you money on cooling costs each year, and they’re relatively inexpensive to purchase and install.

Energy Vampires

You can save money on energy and utility costs by finding the energy vampires around your home. Any appliance that uses energy to remain on standby for your use is a vampire. The microwave and coffee pot that keeps the time for you is an energy vampire. DVD and CD players, computers, game systems, televisions and cable boxes are some common vampires. Unplug all these appliances when they’re not in use. You can use power strips to easily turn them on and off when you’re not using them.

Save hundreds per year by upgrading your appliances as well as using low-flow fixtures in the home. Unplug electronics when they’re not in use too. Some of these upgrades and improvements are small but they can give you big savings throughout the year.

Easy DIY Home Improvement Ideas

wooden fence
Image by Theen …
Many enthusiasts of DIY home improvement differentiate between two specific classes of projects. The first class involves major renovations in the house, including:

* Replacement of floors

* Installation of new insulation

* Installation of a new roof

* Installation of wooden fences around a yard

The second type of DIY are smaller projects that delivers creative pleasure to the ones engaging in them. These small projects typically involve adding small yet useful objects inside the house. Though most of them involve one form of furniture or another, these smaller projects are recommended for those who are just beginning with DIY home improvement.

Small ideas but nice results

Free time, a bit of cash and a lot of good ideas is all you need to think of your own DIY home improvement project. Here are some ideas to get you started:

* Windows- if you’ve been thinking for the longest time that the windows in your bedroom are creepy at night, why not replace them? Contrary to popular belief, it is easy to replace windows. All you need are a few traditional tools like a crowbar and a hammer, or a saw in some instances. Simply measure the window’s dimensions and purchase a window of the exact same size. Take down the old window frame, taking utmost care not to damage the glass. Then simply install the new window sets using window glue and a few bolts or nails.

* Gates- gates can be customized. If your own gate allows it, you may attempt to install name plates on your own gate, to identify your house easily. This would be a great idea especially if you live in a housing neighborhood, where houses generally look alike.

* Extra utility table- If you don’t have enough table when you go out for a yard picnic, why not build one yourself? All you need would be small planks of wood and a little ingenuity. First determine what particular table size you want. After making the proper measurements, simply follow the configuration of picnic tables you see everyday and voila, you have your own picnic table. DIY projects that involve wood are often durable because wood is a sturdy material.

* Floor design- tired of visible scratches on your floor? One way to successfully remedy old floors is simply installing new vinyl. Vinyl comes in a variety of colors and designs so you would be having a lot of fun and choices by simply choosing the design you like. The installation of vinyl is even easier- you simply need contact cement or other forms of strong adhesives to attach the vinyl to your floor. Just find the center of the floor area using a nylon thread and divide each area into quarters. Start with 1 quarter and finish by cutting to size when you reach the edge.

* Wall design- wallpaper is still in. You simply have to know how to install wallpaper properly. First, the walls must be free from dirt, moisture or grease before the application of the adhesive. Let the adhesive dry a bit first before attaching the wallpaper in small, manageable strips. Watch your bedroom or your living room come alive with the new look.