Did you know that energy efficiency can increase the value of your home? If you’re thinking about home improvement projects for the new year, remember you can save time, money, and headaches by doing some research on how difficult these jobs can be. So, here are our Top Ten New Year’s Resolutions for Home Improvement to help you get a jump on your projects for 2014. And like any good Top Ten countdown, our resolutions are presented 10-1.
10: Get a more energy efficient fridge without buying a new one: Clean behind your refrigerator and make sure there’s adequate space behind it for air circulation. Also be aware that many newer fridges work best when they have air-circulation space inside —so don’t cram them too full.
9: Start the Switch to LED Lights: Chances are you’ve already ditched the old incandescent bulbs and are using CFLs in your home. It’s also a good chance that those CFL bulbs are starting to burn out. With LED bulbs now costing less and lasting longer than incandescent and CFL bulbs, it’s time to save even more money by switching to LEDs.
8: Get an Energy Audit: Energy audits help determine your home’s energy efficiency, as you’ll learn more about how your home uses energy and how you can improve its overall performance. You’ll also learn about air leaks and some of the potential health problems that they can cause.
7: Insulate Your Basement/Crawlspace: If you have a cold or drafty basement or crawlspace, just insulating it can make your whole home feel more comfortable. This might sound like an easy job, but because of potential moisture problems, there’s a lot more to it if you want to do the job right. Crawlspaces should also be encapsulated to reduce moisture and improve energy efficiency.
6: Add More Insulation: Most North American homes are under-insulated, and though the energy benefits of adding more insulation can be immediately felt and the stuff pays for itself in a year or two, insulating your attic can be expensive and a bit complicated. So, it’s a good idea to read all about it and consider working with a professional installer.
5 Trade in Your Old Furnace: It’s been a long, cold winter so far, which means that your heating ventilation has been working hard. If your HVAC system is over ten years old, it may be wearing out. Newer furnaces keep your home warm more efficiently for less cost, especially if they have been professionally installed and maintained by a professional HVAC technician.
4: Install an Energy Efficient Dish Washer: A new dishwasher is more energy efficient than one from ten years ago. Many rely on more efficient air circulation to dry dishes instead of using an on-board heater. Sprayer-jet design use less water and more efficient pump motors use less electricity.
3: Install an On-Demand Water Heater: Old tank water heaters use lots of energy just to keep 40 to 50 gallons of water hot in case someone happens to need it. Tankless on-demand systems heat the water ONLY when it’s needed. One of these can save you about 18% off your annual energy bill.
2: Bathrooms: Because they’re often the most inconvenient, the biggest home improvement jobs seem to happen in the bathroom. But when accomplished correctly, they can also save money on your water and energy bills. Install a low-flow shower head and a low-flush toilet. Also, don’t forget to install a humidity-control switch. Similar to light switches (and just as easy to install), these convenient sensor-switches can be found at home centers.
1: Install a New Smoke/Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarm: CO is a tasteless, odorless gas that can slowly poison or kill you. With the bitter cold causing you to run your furnace extra hard this winter, CO poisoning can be a real threat especially with old furnaces. Remember, Ontario now has a new Carbon Monoxide alarm law that requires home owners to install a CO detector in their home in which a fuel-burning appliance is installed.