You’ve probably heard it’s a good idea to buy energy efficient appliances, add insulation, and use “smarter” lightbulbs. While these aren’t improvements you necessarily show off to visiting friends and family, they’re some of the smartest choices you’ll make when upgrading, renovating or remodeling your Villanova home. All of these energy efficient home improvements will save you money in the long run. Besides lowering your costs, they’ll also improve the comfort and air quality throughout the house, and reduce its environmental impact.
Energy Saving Home Improvements
Energy experts estimate that over a third of heating and cooling is lost through the roof, and then even more escapes through walls, windows, doors, and by air leaks. We recommend you start with the basics and make sure air leaks are sealed and that your home’s insulation is sufficient for the Philadelphia area climate. While some issues can be handled with DIY solutions, they tend to be temporary fixes that need to be repeated every year. Your contractor can help you take more permanent steps that save you more time and money over the long run.
- Seal leaks by weather-stripping doors and windows. One of the most important steps you can take is filling any penetrations, such as openings around chimneys, wiring, electrical outlets, and recessed lighting fixtures. Many older homes have radiators with pipes that go through the floor, or door jambs that are out of square.
- Replace existing windows with double pane options to get rid of any conductive air problems. Storm windows are also an option, but don’t do the job quite as well. Low-e glass minimizes the emissivity of the window glass surfaces, improving your home’s insulation from external temperature changes.
- Insulate. Some older homes along the Main Line have no insulation, so you may have to start from ground zero. Since heat rises, the most important area of your home to insulate is the attic floor. If you’re doing a major renovation, it’s probably best to strip the interior plaster or drywall and insulate from within. If you’re adding or replacing siding, lay down the insulation before installing. In colder climates, blowing insulation into the walls can be very-cost effective, especially if it’s worked into a remodel or renovation.
Beyond Heating and Cooling
Heating and cooling are the best known areas for cutting costs, but you can also save money on electric and gas expenses. Smart thermostats are easy to install, customizable, and flexible. LED bulbs (dimmable or not) are an energy efficient way to light your home. Energy-efficient appliances not only save you money, but enhance your home’s value. In addition, Energy Star certified appliances help you save money on operating costs by reducing energy use, but with no sacrificing of performance.
Something you may not have thought about is how your home’s landscaping can have an impact on your energy costs. Trees can block out sunlight to help reduce a home’s temperature from season to season.Trees that shed their leaves in winter allow sun to enter your windows and doors, naturally heating up the home. In summer, the returning leaves help keep it up to 10 degrees cooler. Other trees – such as pines – block the sun year around and provide windbreaks that reduce chilly northerly winds. And shading your exterior air-conditioning unit can increase its efficiency by up to 10 percent.
More Than One Way to Save
There are additional savings you may qualify for outside of reduced energy costs. The Pennsylvania Home Heating Equipment Rebate Program offers incentives to upgrade heating equipment, and Keystone Help is the state’s special loan program for energy-efficient home improvements using Energy Star components. Make it a point to check for new or upgraded Pennsylvania incentive programs.
At Cottage Industries, we believe making these types of improvements can result in a real sense of pride in knowing your family will have a healthier and more comfortable place to live. If you’d like to learn more about energy saving home improvements for your Villanova home, schedule a conversation with us today. And don’t forget to download our free guide on the top 10 questions to ask when hiring a Main Line area contractor.