Jul 19, 2014

5 DIY High-Efficiency Home Improvement Projects that Save You Money

Most homeowners are capable of taking on simple home improvements themselves. But when it comes to the prospect of making your home more energy efficient, you may mistakenly believe that such projects should be left to the pros. And while you probably don't want to tangle with installing a modern, energy-efficient AC unit on your own, there are certainly tasks you can tackle that don't require you to have the knowledge and skill of a licensed technician. The best part is that you can not only save money by adopting a DIY attitude; you can also save over time as your upgrades make your home more energy efficient, cutting your carbon footprint and your monthly utility bills in the process. Here are just a few fantastic home improvement projects that will increase energy efficiency and save your household money.

 1. Install energy film. One of the least expensive ways to improve the energy efficiency in your home is to use a product that stops the sun's heat-producing rays from turning your house into an oven. Energy film is a clingy, transparent sheet that you can cut to size and then stick and re-stick to windows throughout your home. This product could block as much as 90% of the sun's heat-producing rays, lowering your reliance on electrical cooling for your interior and cutting your energy usage in the process. Best of all, you can remove it during the winter months when the sun coming in can help to heat your home naturally.
2.  Seal leaks. If you're really gung-ho, you can attempt to perform a home energy audit on your own as a way to find sources of energy waste. But even online tutorials won't provide you with the equipment and experience a pro brings to the table. That said, hiring a professional home energy auditor will ensure that you end up with a comprehensive listing of the energy issues in your home, giving you the information you need to start adding weather stripping and sealing leaks throughout your structure to improve energy efficiency. Just don't forget that sealing your home may lead to the need for increased ventilation, so you should talk to your HVAC technician about testing your interior air quality the next time you have a service call.
3.   Install a programmable thermostat. You can save some money by upgrading from your standard dial or digital thermostat to a programmable version, provided you follow instructions. Just remember to turn off the electricity before you begin so that you don't zap yourself. Once you've installed your new unit you can program it with Department of Energy guidelines in mind: no higher than 68?F in winter, no lower than 78?F in summer, and dial it back 10-15 degrees during the hours you're at work and while you're sleeping for optimum savings.
4.   Optimize lighting. Using natural light as much as possible is a great way to save on your energy bill, so think about installing mirrors throughout your home to bounce and optimize the light coming in. From there it's a good idea to upgrade your electric illumination. Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) last up to 10 times as long as regular incandescent bulbs and they use about a third of the energy for the same relative wattage. And they fit in standard fixtures. LEDs are even more efficient, but you may have to install new lighting fixtures to use them.
5.   Add insulation. You don't have to understand ductwork design principles or the ins and outs of your HVAC system in order to reduce your need for heating and AC; all you have to do is beef up inadequate insulation. And if you have exposed batting or fill in problem areas like the attic or basement, this is easily accomplished. 

Added Note:
Are you in a budget but still dreaming to create a luxury look of your home? You should check out these 61 cheap home DIY hacks and get inspired!

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