The average you can save a year by making your home more energy efficient is almost $1200.

That’s $36k over the life of an average mortgage.

If you applied that savings to your principal every month, you’ve erased of $16k interest as well.

So next time you feel a draft in your older home, just picture dollar bills disappearing into the great outdoors.

In some ways, your beautifully handcrafted home might already have some features that help keep it cool like thicker walls or using materials like brick and stone.

But there are also plenty of easy ways to complete an energy upgrade on your old house.

Follow these tips to building an energy efficient home.

Complete an Energy Audit

Hiring an independent energy auditor is a great first step.

Some states or local energy companies offer free home audits.

But even if you have to spend a few hundred dollars to have an energy audit completed, it will certainly pay for itself very quickly.

By doing a variety of tests from blowing air through the house to test for leaks to using infrared technology to get a high-tech reading of your homes energy weak-spots, you can come up with a baseline of how your home holds heat or cool air.

Be ready to review your energy bills for the year prior as well to help determine the cost-benefit of your potential energy savings.

In addition to checking your house for escaping heat, the audit should also identify other trouble spots. 

They may even suggest local, state or government incentive programs and tax rebates that help homeowners with the costs of improving efficiency.

Replace Your Lightbulbs

Changing out older lightbulbs is one of the easiest ways to make your home more energy efficient. 

By replacing your 5 most used lights with efficient lightbulbs can save you $75 a year.

Efficient lightbulbs have become more attractive over the years and are now designed for use in almost every style of light.

If you are looking for a softer glow or even a colored light you can find one that will save you money.

This is a no brainer and will only take an hour of your time.

Simple Plumbing Improvements

Leaking water can be a huge wasted utility cost that you can fix for under $20.

Check your faucets for leaks.  Sometimes a turn of a wrench is all you need to keep money from pouring down the drain.

If your toilet runs constantly, it may just need a new flapper or float system.

These fixes are so easy that you might be enticed to become a plumber.

While these fixes will save money on your monthly water bill, you can also save plenty of energy by insulating your hot water tank, hot water pipes and turning down your water heater by a few degrees.

Plant a Shade Tree

It may be surprising that making your home more efficient could start with a project that doesn’t involve working in your house at all.

A deciduous shade tree will not only help beautify your yard and improve the environment but can help block the sun from directly hitting your home.

In the winter months when the leaves have fallen off, the sun can stream through the empty branches and help provide some extra warmth.

Here are some more advantages to planting trees.

Replace Windows and Doors

While the walls of older houses are often better insulated than new homes, older windows and doors can be very inefficient.

Some experts say that 70% of a homes energy loss occurs from its windows and doors 

Older single pane windows do not hold heat or cold in a home nearly as well as a double-pane window.

If you install new Energy-Star windows with Low-E glass, infrared rays are reflected away from the window keeping solar heat out during the hot summer months.

As for doors, a homeowner should check how big the gaps are surrounding between the slab and the opening.

A 1/8 inch gap at the bottom of your doorway is the same as a 2.5-inch hole drilled in your wall.

You may want to replace your door completely if it contains older glass.

But at the very least, weatherstripping and a properly installed door sweep will go a long way to making your doorways more efficient.

If you have more questions, this service could be a great place to reach out for answers about window replacement.

Attic Insulation

While your attic is almost certainly insulated, chances are the rolled out fiberglass batting is not cutting it.

Using blown in insulation could cut your energy bill by 15 to 25 percent.

And if you don’t mind getting a little sweaty, this is an easy DIY project that could save you $1000 in labor.

In addition to your energy savings, there are also reimbursement credits in many locales.

Efficient HVAC

It’s possible that your HVAC system is working overtime to keep your home at the right temperature.

Proper maintenance including cleaning handler coils, regularly changing filters and hosing down your outdoor unit are things you can easily do yourself.

Even checking that your compressor has good airflow by cutting back vegetation will help keep energy costs down by allowing your system to work correctly.

It is also possible that your system is too old or not the right size for your home.

An undersized cooling system is going to be working way too hard to keep your house cool. 

Imagine the gas you would be wasting if your car engine was always revving in the red.

You need the proper size HVAC to have it running smoothly and efficiently.

Minisplit HVAC systems could also be a great solution if there are areas of your house that are often left unused as they are often multizone applications.

You may not need to keep your bedrooms super cold or warm during the hours that you are using those rooms.

One more easy HVAC tip to saving energy is just keeping your thermostat 5-8 degrees lower 8 hours a day.

Building an Energy Efficient Home

Just because you live in an older house doesn’t mean you can’t have an energy efficient home.

Follow these tips for building an energy efficient home, and you are guaranteed to see your energy bills start to shrink.

And perhaps just as important, you will be doing your part to take care of the environment.

So get out the ladder and start changing those lightbulbs!

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