When people think of home improvements, they often think of the shows on television where couples and contractors practically destroy a house and rebuild it from the ground up. As they do they find more problems, and the amount things cost quickly escalate.
It does not have to be that way though. You can do some affordable improvements to your home that are pretty simple, affordable, and can actually save you a bunch of money.
A Smart Thermostat
Utility bills are one of the most controllable household expenses, but the ways to save are often ignored when talking about home improvement. Before you get new energy efficient windows and doors, start with a smart thermostat.
A smart thermostat can lower the temperature in winter or raise it in the summer when no one's home or when you go to sleep at night.
These small, scheduled changes in temperature can literally save you hundreds a year on your power bill. Many smart thermostats can now be controlled from your smartphone or computer. Installing one is simple, and you can do it yourself for a couple hundred bucks, or hire someone to do it for you for around five hundred.
Either way, the average savings a household experiences is $150 or more a year, which means you will recoup your costs in a short amount of time.
Smart lights include a number of things, like switching to LED’s, CFL, or halogen incandescent. But it does not stop there. Lights with motion and occupancy sensors can turn off if no one is in the room, dim at certain times of day, and enable you to turn them off remotely even if you are not home.
Some smart lighting systems also allow you to track energy usage with each light, so you can make better choices about what to use when. You can get a starter system for under $200, and you will begin saving money right away.
Automatic Sprinkler System
If you live in an area where you need to water your lawn, an automatic sprinkler system can be a great money saving solution. Not only will your lawn get the water it needs when it needs it, but you won’t accidentally leave it running resulting in a higher water bill.
The cost of installing this kind of system can vary greatly depending on your lawn, other landscaping you have done, and where you live. Still, the money you save in the long run, not to mention the good you will do the environment, will be well worth the investment.
If you don’t have gutters, even if you live in an area that is usually dry, you should install them. If you have gutters, make sure they are in good shape, clean, and that any broken parts are replaced.
The reason is that water damage to a home can be significant, and unusual weather or rain events can result in the water that runs of the roof pooling around the foundation, leaking into basements or crawl spaces, and damage to existing landscape.
Gutters are usually inexpensive to repair, clean, or even install, and the money they will save you in the event of bad weather makes them a must-make investment.
A Storage Building
Have you ever stopped to think how much money you might save if you ditched your storage unit or your RV or boat storage? Storage units can fun from $75 for a small, non-climate controlled unit to well over $200 a month for a large unit or vehicle storage.
The benefits of residential steel shed for storage can be huge, including the convenience of not having to run elsewhere to get your belongings when you need them. One might be a good choice for you if you are:
- Paying through the roof for self-storage.
- Have to pay to store your RV or other recreational vehicles.
- You have to leave those vehicles outside in the weather.
- You’re slowly getting more stuff.
If you plan to stay where you are for a long time, adding on site storage can have huge benefits, and in the long run can save you a lot of cash.
Whole House Fan
Live in an area where it is warm, but not blazing hot, and your home has attic vents, adding a whole house fan can save you a ton of money on air conditioning in the long run.
These work by pulling air in through your windows and sending it out the attic vents, using the air movement to cool your home. They can be especially useful at night, saving wear and tear on your air conditioner and keeping your house cool at the same time.
The cost of putting this kind of system in is usually somewhere around $400-$500 and the saving year over year will easily pay for it.
This sounds like a big expense, but many cities, states, and even counties offer incentives through taxes and even subsidies that make this very practical. There are even non-profit organizations that help with labor and the cost of panels.
If your system is good enough, and you still remain energy efficient, you can often sell back the power you produce to your local power company, and it can be used to power other homes.
These solar panels save you money, get you special tax credits, and can increase the value of your home by $15,000 or more.
Home improvements don’t have to be scary or to cost you a great deal of money. They can be simple additions or fixes you can do yourself, or hire a professional to do reasonably, and that can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year.