Summer weather has already turned up the heat. And as we all know, the hotter it gets, the more energy your home is going to use to try and keep things cool. According to some forecasts, this summer is set to be a real scorcher – so if your home isn’t as energy efficient as it used to be, that could translate to higher bills.
With that said, there are a number of upgrades you can do to your home to make it as energy efficient as possible, saving you money over time. It will require some investment upfront, with some upgrades being more expensive than others. If you find you are in need of the larger upgrades, a cash-out refinance could help, and that and is always a good option, especially with today’s low interest rates. So, what should you look at in your home to see if you are experiencing the benefits of an energy efficient home…?
Windows & Doors
Specifically, your windows and doors. The biggest thing to consider here is that, over time as your home settles, the frames for your windows and doors will start to develop small openings that let outside air in and inside air out. Those openings make your home less efficient. If you’re in an older home with original windows and doors, you’ll stand to gain the most from this upgrade, while those in newer builds will probably not want to opt for this upgrade as the cost will far outweigh the benefit. Note that this type of upgrade is typically an expensive one – especially windows. So, if you go this route, it’s a good idea to look into a cash-out refinance like we mentioned earlier.
Another small thing you can do for your windows is evaluate your interior window covers. If you have large uncovered windows, the unfiltered sun coming in can make your house hotter. Buying black-out curtains to pull shut during the heat of the day should make your house cooler.
Technology companies like GoogleTM have been insinuating themselves into our homes for years with the internet, computers, smartphones and TV streaming devices. And, if you didn’t know, they also make a smart thermostat. Now, GoogleTM is not the only company to make smart thermostats, but they do make one of the more popular ones as part of Google Nest®. These devices can work on a programmed schedule so your system is cooling only when you’re home and not wasting energy during the day. They can also “learn” your behavioral routines and automatically create a schedule to run more efficiently. A smart thermostat is a virtually hassle-free way to make your home more efficient. And, at only around $200, it is an especially “smart” solution if you have an older HVAC system and don’t want to spend the money for an upgrade.
HVAC & Other Appliances
While a smart thermostat can help increase energy efficiency with your older unit, you will only truly be most optimized if you also have an efficient HVAC unit. Because of the cost involved, this is one upgrade hardly anyone ever truly wants to make, and tends to be made only when absolutely necessary. But the truth is a new, high-efficient HVAC system is the upgrade that will probably have the most positive affect on your energy bill in the future. If it’s efficient enough, it’s likely to pay for itself and then some over a long-period of time. Again, it is an expensive upgrade, so it’s one you’ll want to consider a cash-out refinance loan to help with the cost.
You can also upgrade other appliances in your home, like your refrigerator or dishwasher. If your current appliances are less than five or ten years old, you probably aren’t looking at needing an upgrade, but if they are over ten years old, an upgrade can definitely help boost your home’s efficiency. Also, instead of just having your old appliances tossed in the landfill, think about donating them to charitable organizations like Habitat for Humanity. Many of these charities offer at-home pick up, and your donations could be tax deductible.
It never seems like we’re ready for the heat of summer – and the truth is, your home may not be ready either. So, if you’re concerned about energy efficiency, now is a good time to explore some of these possible upgrades and determine which, if any, could benefit your home. And, if you do decide it’s time for a major upgrade to your windows and doors or HVAC system, we’d encourage you to reach out to one of our Guardian Mortgage Loan Originators and learn more about your cash-out refinance options.