5 Home Improvement Hacks to Boost Energy Efficiency and Cut Costs

Estimated read time 6 min read

Improving your home’s energy efficiency seems like a big project, but it doesn’t have to be. With small upgrades over time or a home improvement loan to fund bigger upgrades, you can cut your energy costs without breaking the bank. 

The good news about going green? Many energy efficiency upgrades will pay for themselves over time. And right now, interest rates are low for home improvement loans. So you can take out home improvement loans on interest rates that are very low! Fund upgrades like insulation, sealing air leaks, heating and cooling equipment, etc.

We recommend starting small if funds are limited. Swap out old light bulbs for LEDs, seal leaky windows, and insulate exposed pipes and ducts. Small upgrades make a difference! Then, down the road, save up for pricier projects like blown-in wall insulation or new doors and windows.

Top energy efficiency home improvement projects

Here are the top projects you can take on:

Insulate and Seal Your Home

One of the best ways to boost energy efficiency is by insulating and sealing air leaks around your home. This keeps warm and cool air from escaping, saving you money on utility bills.

First, check for leaks and cracks around windows, doors, pipes, and vents. Feel for drafts, or use an incense stick and watch where the smoke blows. Then, seal leaks with caulk, spray foam, or weather stripping.

Proper insulation also matters. Make sure exterior walls, ceilings, floors, and crawl spaces have enough insulation for your climate zone. Adding insulation like batts or blown-in cellulose can pay for itself within a few years through energy savings.

Switch to LED Lights

Upgrading old-fashioned bulbs to LEDs saves a ton on lighting costs over time. LED bulbs use at least 75% less energy and last years longer than incandescent bulbs.

Though more expensive upfront, LEDs pay for themselves through energy savings. Plus they last 10-15 years, avoiding the hassle of frequent bulb changes. And many utility companies offer rebates on LED bulbs and fixtures to make upgrading even more affordable.

Swapping out just 10 bulbs in your home could save hundreds per year! And LEDs provide the same bright light with zero humming or flickering. Making the switch is one of the fastest energy fixes with a great return on investment.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

One of the easiest energy upgrades is installing a programmable or smart thermostat. This allows you to control and schedule the home’s temperature fluctuations.

Smart thermostats let you program different temps for when you’re home, asleep, or away. This avoids heating or cooling an empty house! Most models also allow programming via an app, making temperature adjustments easy from anywhere.

Programmable thermostats can reduce heating and cooling bills by 10-30%. Say you schedule lower temperatures when asleep or awake at work. You save money without sacrificing comfort when home and awake.

Use Energy-Efficient Appliances 

Choosing ENERGY STAR certified appliances can seriously cut utility bills. These energy-efficient models meet strict requirements to save energy and water.

Check for the ENERGY STAR logo when shopping for fridges, dishwashers, and dryers. Also, check the EnergyGuide label showing estimated annual energy use and operating costs. Comparing these ratings helps choose the most efficient options.

While ENERGY STAR appliances usually cost more upfront, lower energy bills offset the higher prices over time. And many utility companies offer rebates for upgrading to certified energy-efficient appliances.

Get an Appliance Upgrade Loan Despite Poor Credit

Lack of funds and poor credit scores can make upgrading appliances tough. But don’t settle for energy-wasting models because top-rated ENERGY STAR appliances seem out of reach. Specialized loans for bad credit on instant approval provide appliance financing for bad credit.

Check eligibility for a bad credit appliance loan online. Fill out a short form and get matched with suitable appliance upgrade financing options. Companies work with credit scores under 580 to help all budgets upgrade essential appliances.

Water Usage Reduction

When it comes to saving money and resources at home, don’t forget about your water usage habits! While big upgrades like new toilets require investment, start with easy, no-cost steps for immediate impact. Every drop saved adds up to family budgets and environmental health.

Fix Leaks and Install Low-Flow Fixtures

An easy first step is finding and fixing any home leaks. Dripping faucets, showerheads, and toilets leak out hundreds of gallons over months. Fixing leaks is a free way to slash waste.

Next, install inexpensive water-saving showerheads and faucet aerators. Low-flow fixtures inject air into the water stream, maintaining pressure while reducing flow. New EPA regulations limit showerhead water usage to 2 gallons per minute (GPM). Installing low-flow fixtures meeting this standard significantly reduces water waste.

Upgrade Toilets and Appliances

Replacing aging toilets and appliances provides the most significant water savings. According to the EPA, toilets account for 27% of an average home’s indoor water use. New efficient models use 20-30% less water per flush while meeting or exceeding flushing standards.

Mistakes to avoid

Many homeowners rush into energy upgrades, hoping to save money fast. However, moving too quickly leads to problems that reduce savings. Let’s talk about common mistakes to avoid.

Rushing the Process

It’s tempting to upgrade quickly for instant savings. But rushing leads to buying bad products or hiring unqualified installers. This gives less savings long-term. Instead, research all your options first. Check available rebates and find trusted helpers. Taking it slow ensures you get the most savings over time.

Ignoring Custom Rebates

It was a big mistake not to check energy companies and local rebates before upgrading! Rebates can cover 25-100% of project costs for items like insulation and HVAC equipment. But you must review the terms first to qualify. Check all rebates so you don’t miss out on hundreds or thousands in savings.  

Choosing the Wrong Products

Homeowners often pick trendy upgrades that don’t actually save much energy. Instead, stick with products that passed independent testing by ENERGY STAR. For big upgrades, make sure products meet efficiency rules for your area, too. Flashy labels don’t guarantee real savings. Rely on hard performance data to guide purchases. 

Skipping Proper Installation

Even quality products waste energy if installed wrong. DIY upgrades often lack proper precision. And untrained helpers introduce new problems. Always hire industry-certified pros following exact factory instructions for your home. Paying more for the right installation protects your investment.

Conclusion

Upgrading all water fixtures and appliances may seem overwhelming. But every small step stacks up to real savings. Start by adding a few inexpensive aerators and showerheads when the budget allows. Fix any drips or leaks immediately to stop free-flowing waste at the source.

With consistent small upgrades over time, your whole home can run far more water-efficiently. Maintain this conservation mindset for all future appliance purchases, too. Together, these efforts reduce monthly bills and environmental footprints for sustained impact.

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