The other day, a close friend gave me a ring, telling me he needs my help. Turns out he and the wife finally decided to redecorate the house, and wanted to get the best out of this decision. They called me, because architecture is a pet peeve (not my day job, just a hobby) and I’m handy with power tools.
So I was requested (read: coerced) into helping them out with their refurbishment plans, so that they could get the most out of their house for the least investment. They also warned me that they had spoken to a few other mutual acquaintances about their proposed plan to renovate their house and how they had successfully roped me in to assist them, and because of this I should expect some calls coming my way (how ungrateful of them, right?), because everyone likes to save money, and I could show them how.
This article is my way of staving off these calls and addressing the situation on a more public forum so that those who are interested in improving the functionality of their home and wish to end up thickening their wallets at the same time have a form of guidance in achieving these ends. Allow me to let you in on a little secret; these results are not as mutually exclusive as most people expect them to be.
Getting straight to the point then, you’ve decided that you want to put some money into improving your house, but you don’t want that money to just disappear, you want a financial return to show for it, what do you do? Read on to find out.
Five tips to improve your home so that it saves money for you
- Start from the top. Your roof and attic are important to keeping heat in the house during colder climes, and keeping it out during summer. Air leaks, gaps and a lack of insulation can cause cold air during the summer and warm air during the winters to escape from your house, driving up the costs of power due to the high consumption rates of artificial temperature control devices such as air conditioners and central heating. You can simply lay down carpet insulation or invest in more professional, heavy duty options depending upon your budget and willingness to perform manual labor.
- Don’t forget the bottom. A neglected basement can cost you more than a pretty penny if not addressed in a timely fashion. Water leaks can turn into gaping holes during periods of heavy rain and wind, forming an unattended gateway for air to creep in, and maybe small animals too. Make sure your gutters are clean and water doesn’t collect at places it shouldn’t. Check your Structural foundations for water damage or weakening, because your house is only as strong as its foundations.
- Energy efficient windows. You can now buy windows that will perform higher insulating functions as well. These windows are scientifically designed to trap in heat/cool air depending upon the season, requiring you to spend less on power and making your home cozier in the process. When buying these windows, make sure they have a government mandated energy star rating, and they come with a high warranty.
- Water works. It’s not just power that needs saving, you can save a lot of costs by making you showers, faucets and taps more efficient by investing in fixtures that consume lesser water. So invest in low water flow fixtures that aren’t that expensive, and come in a variety of styles so that you don’t have to compromise on your aesthetic values in exchange for financial prudence either.
- Appliances. If you’re going for a technology upgrade in terms of televisions, stereos, ovens, fridges or basically any other electrical appliance, you’d rather buy one that has a higher energy star rating. It’s a one-time investment that will pay dividends for decades.
Remember, the day isn’t far away when we run out of fossil fuels and water supplies begin to dry up. Being energy efficient and water efficient means not only will you save a lot of money, but you’ll also improve the state of our natural resources, saving them for our children and grandchildren. So be financially responsible, and respect your environment by improving your home into a more efficient unit. Also, consider geothermal heating and cooling systems.