Monday, January 11, 2010

Home Improvements That Will Save You Money (and Energy)

While the details of the president's "Cash For Caulkers" program have not yet been released, now is a great time to get jump start on your home renovations.

Home improvements can save you money through tax credits and energy or water usage, and can also improve the resale value of your home.

If you are not sure where to start, try a couple of these tips, and then move on to bigger projects.

  1. Get an Energy Audit. A professional home energy audit is the first step in the assessment of how much energy your home consumes, and can give you a good picture of what you can do to make your home more energy efficient. Energy audits also determine the efficiency of your heating and air-conditioning systems. For information on auditing your home yourself, check here. For information on having a professional asses your home for you, please check here.

  2. Re-insulate Your Home. Though we don't have the extreme cold temperatures that you read about on the East Coast, or in the Mid-West, Southern Californian's could stuff benefit from re-insulating our homes. Insulation resists heat flow, which maintains the comfort level in your home by providing an effective resistance to the flow of heat. Insulation also controls sound, and controls moisture. Insulation is also one of the lowest cost options for improving the energy efficiency in your home. For more information, please visit

  3. Replace Your Old Windows. Research shows that the best type of windows in today's market are vinyl windows. Compared to wood windows, they are virtually maintenance free, and homeowners could save anywhere from 30 - 40% off of heating and cooling bills by replacing old windows.

  4. Install a Smart Meter. Per "Smart meters are digital meters that will communicate energy use information for SDG&E and you. Smart meters have a two-way communication between SDG&E and the meter at your home or business. Unlike existing meters, smart meters have a computer chip that records energy usage. This information can help you understand how you are using energy."

  5. Increase Furnace Efficiency. Whether you have a newer model or an old model furnace, small tweaks can make them much more effective. Make sure to keep your filters clean, and close off rooms that do not get used as often. Also, if your ducts are not already sealed, it might be a good idea to invest in sealing them, as doing so can reduce heat loss by up to twenty percent.

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