As the cooler temperatures start to roll in, many homeowners are thinking about what they can do to save money and energy during the fall and winter months. There are plenty of small and large changes that can be made in order to increase the energy efficiency of a home and decrease costs. Improvements can be made on both the exterior and interior of a home. The following post will give you tips on what home improvement projects you can make that will help you save money.
Replace your windows.
Your windows will have a major effect on how much you pay for energy in the cooler months. Vinyl replacement windows are one of the most energy efficient options available. Vinyl replacement windows are extremely effective insulators for your home, thanks in large part to its low U-factor. A U-factor score measures the heat loss or gain through a material, so the lower the value, the greater the window's resistance is to heat flow and the higher its insulation. Additionally, vinyl windows commonly include two or three panes of glass, has a low-e coating and multiple insulation glazes. These features provide better thermal protection for your home while keeping the heat in during the winter months and increasing the effectiveness of your AC in the summer. Moreover, vinyl windows are recyclable so that when you eventually replace them, they can be reused to make new resources. When you add all of these benefits together, vinyl replacement windows easily meet all of Energy Star's eco-friendly criteria, which qualifies you for federal tax credits.
Install insultated vinyl siding.
Insulated vinyl siding provides value that can reduce energy use, and therefore is recognized by building and energy efficiency programs. Both the Department of Energy (DOE) and U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognize that insulated siding can improve a home's energy efficiency. Insulated vinyl siding can actually increase the R-value of a building, which reduces energy consumption and related CO2 emissions. Energy Star, cosponsored by the EPA, mentions vinyl siding as an option to comply with thermal bridging requirements to earn the Energy Star recognition for new homes.
Insulated siding also meets the requirements of vinyl siding and foam plastic insulation in the International Residential Codes and the International Building Code. Tax deduction programs may also be available to building owners that install insulated siding. With all of these energy efficiency benefits, insulated vinyl siding will greatly reduce your monthly energy bills.
Remodel your bathroom.
A bathroom renovation is the perfect time to improve your energy efficiency and lower your bills by updating old lighting fixtures and appliances. Talk to your bathroom contractors about lighting for your bathroom that uses less energy, like Energy Star qualified LED bulbs or compact fluorescent bulbs. Some residential LED bulbs use up to 75% less energy and last 25 times longer than regular light bulbs. We also recommend making your bathroom more water efficient by purchasing a low-flow shower head that will reduce the amount of water you use while taking a shower.
Replace your entry door.
Another way to save money on energy bills is to replace your entry door with an energy efficient one. Nearly all Therma-Tru doors, for example, are Energy Star qualified and NFRC certified. Therma-Tru doors help save homeowners money on their energy bills, but also may qualify for up to $500 cash back in tax returns. In January 2013, Congress passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act which reinstates and extends the Residential Energy Efficiency Tax Credit (Code Sec. 25C) through December 31, 2013. Homeowners are now eligible for a one time federal energy tax credit up to 10% of the cost of the product up to $500 for doors.
Need more ideas on fall home improvement projects? Download our guide to learn more!