If you own a home, you most likely have several small and large improvements you would like to make. With so many possibilities and high prices, homeowners often feel overwhelmed and end up investing in an improvement they regret or end up making little to no changes to their home at all. Whether it be increasing the value of your home, revamping an outdated style, adding comfort, building on, or making small changes to your daily activities, it is important you do your research. Talk to experts in the field and stay committed to the home improvements you and your family want to make.
We often invite our customers to reflect on why they want to add solar to their homes. Many want to save on energy bills, others want to help the environment, and some are going solar because of both reasons. With a specific purpose in mind, home improvements, including solar installations, turn into an investment rather than a wish or desire, bringing returns.
Blue Raven Solar specializes in renewable energy. Here are several simple home improvements you can make, resulting in a major impact on your energy usage and saving you hundreds and maybe even thousands of dollars over the next several years. With utility prices already ridiculously high and continuing to increase, you will want to try these tips.
Replacing Old Appliances
One of the quickest ways to make an immediate impact on your energy usage is to replace old or outdated appliances with new ones. Yes, it may be obvious to get rid of your old fridge, microwave, or TV, but when was the last time you thought about replacing your garbage disposal or your oven hood?
While it is hard to justify paying for a -new fridge when your old one works just fine, we often forget the old appliances deteriorate and become less efficient over time. They often use more electricity, making it more expensive to keep around. This means the longer you keep an appliance around after its life expectancy, the more it is going to cost you in the long run.
We made a list of the average lifetime expectancy of the major appliances in your home so you can compare it to your own appliances and make decisions from a more informed place:
|Gas Ranges||15 years|
|Oven Hood||14 years|
|Garbage Disposal||12 years|
|Washing Machine||10 years|
Buying new appliances is easy, and all new products will show you the amount of energy your older ones use based on the difference in your utility bills.
If you want to ensure your new appliances are efficient, when purchasing, look for the EnergyStar certification! These products are created to use the least amount of energy while still delivering the best results. These can be more expensive upfront but will pay for themselves when your utility bills are lower!
Getting Rid of Phantom Power
Wasted energy (also known as phantom power) is a common problem causing the majority of Americans to pay more for extra electricity they did not know they were using. Luckily, some brilliant minds have created solutions to prevent homeowners from leaving the lights on when they leave their home or letting their phone charge throughout the night.
The first solution is smart outlets, plugs, strips, and lights. These can sense when devices are in “sleep” mode or are fully charged and will automatically shut off the power supply. Devices left on chargers for hours, and even TVs not in use can suck energy just as much as when they are powered on.
With a wfi connection and a smartphone, homeowners can turn off an appliance, light, or charger from almost anywhere with the simple press of a button. These smart outlets are inexpensive and can be connected with smart devices like Amazon Alexa or Google Home. By making these changes, homeowners can significantly decrease their phantom power usage.
A slightly larger investment going hand-in-hand with smart outlets is a smart thermostat. Smart thermostats make a huge impact on utility bills and determine the best way to keep your home cool or warm through machine learning. They connect to other smart devices, have voice control, and track your overall energy usage, and can give you tips on ways you can make changes to your thermostat schedule for more efficiency and lower bills. They are a great investment and can instantly boost the energy efficiency of any home.
Install New Windows and Fix Sealings
If you want more control over the temperature of your home, it would be wise to invest in the latest glass technology. Modern windows can block heat from getting in and trap air or heat from your AC and heater from escaping.
An alternate route many homeowners take is fixing the sealing on all their windows and doors, as it is cheaper. Oftentimes, older houses are not sealed properly, allowing air to escape. Homeowners with faulty sealings are forced to increase the air conditioning or heat to see the adjustments they desire that will only continue to slip away through the windows. While it may not be as effective and efficient as new windows, fixing your homes sealings is a quick, cheap fix that can impact your energy usage and bills.
A third solution to inefficient or older windows can be getting some insulating curtains or shades or installing regular blinds. These can help keep the sunshine out in the summer and cold air out in the winter. This solution can also be a lifesaver for the last room down the hall with more windows and less insulation.
Proper Insulation and Ceiling Fans
Although insulation and ceiling fans may not seem to be connected, they both significantly impact the air flow within your home and can make big differences in the house’s temperature. Many houses do not have enough insulation, which means rising heat escapes during the winter. A solution is to add an extra layer of insulation, which will keep your heat locked in the house and increase the overall efficiency of your home.
To increase air circulation consider installing ceiling fans. When ceiling fans are correctly paired with the AC, it allows cooler air to be circulated throughout the home rather than in one specific place. They also provide a constant breeze giving an increased sense of coolness, meaning the homeowner will be less likely to feel the need to crank down the temperature. Ceiling fans can reduce the temperature of a room by up to three degrees without touching the thermostat. Think of the savings!
Make Sure to Monitor
The simplest improvement any homeowner can make to increase home efficiency is to monitor current energy usage. By closely following when you are using the most energy and what appliances prove to be the most expensive, you can evaluate what improvement will make the biggest impact. You will also recognize if you are using unnecessary energy and can make adjustments that will result in instant savings, and this can easily be done with a smart thermostat. Although this may take a little time and effort, it is worth it and can help any homeowner reduce their energy usage.
You can also look into performing an energy audit. Energy companies will send an inspector to your home, who will use your power bill and other energy-related findings to determine how you can best reduce your usage.
Solar Energy: The Home Improvement of All Home Improvements
With so many energy improvements available, it can be difficult to know which one will get you the most results and which ones will be worth it in the end. Unlike the other home improvements listed, solar is the only one able to produce energy for your home. Solar power automatically reduces your grid electricity usage, and by default, your utility bills.
By installing solar panels, homeowners can produce all the power they need to run appliances, AC, furnace, and anything else within the walls of their home. In many states, if your system produces more energy than you use, you can receive credits for less sunny months or even get paid for the extra energy generated.
There has never been a better time for homeowners to go solar! Prices are lower than ever, and with lucrative tax credits and state incentives, solar is more accessible and affordable to homeowners than it has been before. With Blue Raven Solar, we have made it a priority to bring the possibility of solar to all types of homeowners, with financing products that can put solar panels on your roof for $0 down!
It is our mission to make your solar journey as pain-free and simple as possible. Request a free, no-commitment savings report from one of our solar experts today. By simply entering your name, email, phone number, and zip code, we will estimate your savings and help you decide if solar is right for your home. You do not want to miss out on a free consultation and the benefits solar power can bring to you.
Join the solar movement and experience the future of energy, today.