As a homeowner, you may have a long list of improvements you’d like to make but budget and time constraints mean narrowing that list down to just a few truly worthwhile upgrades. One way to prioritize which upgrades you decide to go for is to focus on upgrades that make your home more energy-efficient. Not only will these upgrades make your home more comfortable and possibly add to your home value, but they will also lead to serious energy savings.

Lower energy bills and possibly even tax credits will definitely help offset the cost of these home upgrades:

Update Your HVAC System

Experts recommend replacing your air conditioning system every ten years and your furnace every 20 years, or sooner if they are showing obvious signs of becoming less energy-efficient over time. HVAC systems get more efficient all the time, so even buying a less expensive model may offer significant energy savings over a much older system. Energy-efficient options like ductless mini splits will seriously amplify your energy savings.

Replace Your Windows

Brand new, high quality windows aren’t cheap, but replacing your windows is one of the most effective ways to save energy at home. New windows are also appealing to prospective home buyers if you intend to sell your home in the next few years, and they can be more attractive and easier to use and clean than older windows. Older windows tend to lose a lot of heat during the winter and cool air during the summer. If replacing all of your windows isn’t in your home improvement budget this year, try replacing the weather-stripping and adding window film to reduce heat and cooling loss.

Add Ceiling Fans

Most people don’t think of ceiling fans when they think about ways to save energy around the home, but the truth is these devices do more than add to your decor and make things more comfortable in the summer. By simply circulating air, ceiling fans can make your home more comfortable year-round while allowing you to use less heat or air conditioning.

In the summer, ceiling fans help your air conditioned air flow much more efficiently, which means you don’t have to crank the AC nearly as much to keep things cool and comfortable. In the winter, change your ceiling fan to run in a clockwise direction and it will help push heat that escapes to the ceiling back down to your living space where it can keep you and your family warm. For extra energy savings, look for ceiling fans that are Energy Star-certified.

Purchase a Smart Thermostat

A smart thermostat allows you to program and automate your home’s temperature, usually using an app on your smartphone. This helps you save energy because you can pre-program your home to use less heat or air conditioning during the times when you don’t need it, like when you’re at work during the day or snuggled under your comforter at night. You can also change your home’s temperature remotely, no matter where you are.

Add Low-flow Shower Heads and Toilets

Low-flow toilets and shower heads are designed to use significantly less water while still working effectively and providing plenty of water pressure. An option that is increasing in popularity in various parts of the world is a dual button toilet, which uses a smaller amount of water to flush liquid waste and a larger amount of water to flush solid waste, thus reducing the overall amount of water used.

By focusing on energy savings when you make upgrades around the home, you will slash your utility bills and do something great for the environment at the same time.

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