With tax season here once again, it’s time to answer that all-important question: How should you spend your tax refund?
While there are many possible ways to answer, one of the smartest is to invest in those much-needed home remodeling projects you’ve been putting off.
Updates that increase energy efficiency are among the most valuable changes you can make, whether you’re preparing to sell or just want to enjoy living in your home a little more.
Here are a few energy-saving projects to consider, depending on the size of your tax refund.
#1: Heating and Cooling
Your HVAC system accounts for over 40% of your energy bill, so upgrades here will give you the most bang for your buck.
- Old heating and cooling units become inefficient with normal wear and tear. A newer model will save you money.
- Having your existing HVAC system serviced and cleaned on a regular basis can add up to 10 years to its life.
- A smart thermostat makes it easier to regulate indoor temperature.
- Ceiling fans help to lower air conditioning costs in the summer.
Proper insulation keeps cold air out in the winter and hot air out in the summer. This decreases demand on your AC and furnace, which means lower utility bills.
#3: Windows and Doors
While curb appeal is a great benefit of stylish new windows and doors, so is a more beautiful energy bill.
- Consider your climate. Windows and doors can be customized for high or low temperatures, high winds or heavy precipitation.
- Check the insulation rating to choose a model that keeps your indoor temperature stable while preventing outside heat or cold from coming in.
- New fiberglass doors and quality weather stripping do a great job of protecting your home from extreme temperatures.
- When shopping for windows, consider the ability to keep out hot and cold air as well as the amount of natural light allowed into your home. This enables you to use electric lights a little less.
#4: Water Heater
The average American home spends up to a quarter of its energy budget on hot water. So if your hot water heater is past its prime, investing your tax refund on a new one can yield significant savings.
- Corrosion and mineral build-up inside the tank cause your water heater to lose efficiency over time.
- Tankless water heaters offer high efficiency and take up less space than traditional tank models.
- However, tankless heaters are not for everyone. They tend to be expensive and may not heat water fast enough for your needs. A well-insulated tank water heater can also save energy.
#5: More Energy Savers
Other sources of energy savings include up-to-date appliances, lighting and even your exterior paint.
- Appliances. Look for Energy Star-rated washers and dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators, ovens and other appliances.
- Lighting. Upgrading to energy efficient switches and fixtures, installing dimmers and of course using LED bulbs help you get all the light you need with less wasted energy.
- Paint. Believe it or not, exterior paint color is not just a cosmetic choice. Light colors reflect heat, making them ideal for warm climates. Dark colors retain heat and give your furnace a helping hand in cold regions.
If you’re looking for smart home improvements to make with your tax refund, contact Elite Renovations and put our experts to work for you.