Home improvement projects can add new life to your house. While some renovations may seem expensive, they can actually help save you money in the long run. Here are a few smart projects to consider:
Stay warm and cool – You probably won’t have your friends over to check out your new insulation, but you will notice a big difference in your monthly utility bills. Get an energy audit to check insulation, air ducts, windows and doors. If it’s time for a new heating and cooling system, be sure to choose one approved by ENERGY STAR®, a government program that promotes energy efficiency.
Upgrade your kitchen – Kitchens use a lot of energy. Focus your finances on quality appliances that are the right size for your needs. Buying an energy-efficient dishwasher, refrigerator, microwave and oven can save you between 5-30% on electric bills. Update your plumbing and add aerators to your faucets to save hundreds of gallons of water from being wasted – and paid for.
Take it outside – New windows and a quality roof can also save you money over time. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) reports that for every $1 you spend weatherizing your home, you get $1.83 back in direct energy savings. These features can also add curb appeal if you are thinking of selling your house in the near future.
Landscape for looks and protection – A great-looking yard is another way to add curb appeal to your home. The DOE estimates you will get your investment back in energy savings in an average of 8 years. As you design your landscape, consider adding a windbreak, which is a combination of trees and shrubs that doubles up to protect your home from the elements as well as add visual appeal to your property.