There are many ways to improve the efficiency of your home ranging from small, inexpensive changes to major projects. No matter how much you are able to spend, making changes can make your home a healthier and cheaper place to well. Here are some ways to make improvements on a budget of any size.
Improve Indoor Air
One of the problems of having an energy efficient home is that the air does not get circulated as much. If a house leaks a little bit of air, there is a constant flow. But sealing up a house also seals in toxins. A cheap fix is to avoid anything that puts fumes into the air. Check that you have adequate ventilation to the outdoors. And change the filters in your air intake and your furnace regularly. If you are able to make an upgrade, replace carpet with hard floors.
Replace all furniture that is made from fiberboard or plywood to reduce formaldehyde in the air. If you can afford a larger investment, think about getting fresh-air exchangers that replace stale air with fresh air. Or install a whole-house fan that pulls stale air out of the house and takes it outside. If you choose this, though, be sure you open windows so that the air will be replaced with fresh air. Otherwise the fan will pull even more toxins out of objects and re-contaminate the air.
Improve Water Usage
Making good use of the water in your home reduces costs of getting the water to your home and the sewage out of it as well as the costs of keeping large quantities of water heated. The cheapest ways to reduce water usage are to use low-flow shower heads and install faucet aerators. If you have double vanities, designate the use of only one. Instead of using the garbage disposal, compost scraps to be used to fertilize plants. When you waiting for your shower or bath water to reach the right temperature, catch all the water in a bucket and use it to water plants. Reduce shower times. If you can afford to spend a little money, get a low-flow toilet or composting toilet. Use a rain barrel to water your landscape. If you are able to invest even more, buy more efficient household appliances. To make use of graywater, set up a system that uses it for irrigation.
Improve Energy Savings
Saving energy is an almost immediate savings, and energy efficient homes are worth more than others. Conduct an energy audit and then fix areas where air is leaking and use power strips to keep phantom loads from draining energy. For a little bit more money you can improve efficiency by adding insulation and an energy monitor. Storm doors, storm windows, and shades help to reduce the exchange of cold and hot air during extreme temperatures. Trees can protect your home from the heat of the sun and cold winds in the winter.
If you want to save even more energy after these suggestions and if you have a lot more money, think about improving your heating and cooling efficiency. Sixty per cent of your energy goes to keeping your home a comfortable temperature year-round. If you want to see more savings, improve your ability to conserve energy in this area. Replace windows with double- or triple-panes that have low-emission coatings. Replace your air conditioner with one that is more efficient and big enough to support the size of your home. Get extra energy through wind, solar, and geothermal means.
Improve Your Use of Space by Increasing
So, you need more space in your home, but you do not want to add on? Here are some ways that you can expand your storage capabilities without sprawling your house further than it needs to go. For a little money, you can use wasted space high up on walls for shelves. Or you can use storage ottomans, window seats with storage, or any other furniture that has a bonus storage capability like that. For a little more money, transform outdoor areas into living areas for eating or lounging. Rethink how different rooms can be used.
Place books shelves in the guest bedroom or create a mini-office in a corner of the kitchen. If you have non-supporting walls that are hindering your view and the flow of energy through your home, put a hole in them or knock them out completely. For a lot more money, add another floor to your house rather than another room on the ground. If you will only need the space occasionally, put a prefabricated building outdoors.
Improve Your Use of Space by Decreasing
What do you do if you have more house than you really need? What do you do with all the extra space? And how do you save money maintaining that extra space? Here are some low-cost ways to improve heating and cooling. Close the vents in spaces that are not used regularly; be careful however, because you might damage your system by doing this. Check with an expert first to be sure that it is safe to close off areas of the house with your type of heating and cooling system. Turn down the thermostat in the winter and use space heaters in occupied rooms.
Turn up the thermostat in summer and use fans where needed. If you can afford it, close up or partition areas that are not being used. Move all activity of the house into a central location and then do not bother with heating or cooling spaces that are never used. If you are looking to make a large investment, why not remodel the house? Remove walls to create more space for hobbies. Turn an upper story or a basement into a small apartment and take in boarders. If you have enough land, purchase a modular or manufactured home to put on it. Then move into the smaller space and let someone rent the large house.
If you want to impact the environment and save money in your home, there are many ways to do that. Home improvement can be done on a budget of any size.