If you live in a house that’s more than fifty years old, you’re probably used to paying higher utility bills. Today’s architects and contractors take into consideration the energy efficiency and consumers value it as one of the best features a home can have. It wasn’t always like that. Not because the energy was more abundant thirty or forty years ago, but because the construction industry couldn’t seal off the outside influences with the same efficiency as they do it today.
So, there’s no reason not to make use of the new energy-saving construction trends. To do that you don’t need to demolish your house and build a new one. There are dozens of fixes, alterations, and renovations that can improve your old house’s energy efficiency and make it as good as new.
This is the easiest fix, which any homeowner can afford. If you still use the old incandescent light bulbs, replace them with the LED or CFL ones. This way, you will save four to six times more energy. LED light is by far the most economical option, but even the CFL light bulbs spend four times less power than the incandescent ones.
While you are at it, you can further improve the lighting in your home. By installing motion sensor switches, you will ensure that the lights are turned off when nobody’s in the room without you having to think about it. If you connect this switch to a smart home system, you’ll get a portable light controller that can work from a smartphone app. It will allow you to turn your lights on and off, while you’re on vacation. This way, you’ll put off the burglars and won’t need to leave your porch light on during the whole vacation period.
Old toilets spend much more water per flush than the modern ones. In addition, old houses also come with leaky faucets and shower heads. These parts are easy to replace and fix, and the latest low-flow toilets can drastically decrease your home’s water consumption.
The water authorities claim that leaky toilets from the 70s’ and the 80s’ spend 77% more water than the new low-flow ones. Depending on the water and sewer rates in your country, replacing your old toilet with a new water-saving one can save you a lot of money. Leaky faucets can also affect your water bill. Fixing them and changing the old shower heads will also make your morning showers more enjoyable.
Doors and windows are traditionally the biggest air leaks in every household. Many old houses have traditional single pane windows, and even if they have several panes, they usually come with a lot of space in between. This allows cold air to come in and decrease the temperature inside the house.
Old wooden doors tend to bend and shrink, due to humidity. Combined with single-paned windows, loosely fit doors can create a constant draft within your house, which can decrease the temperature in winter months and increase it during the hot summer days.
If you want to replace the windows, the best option would be including double- or triple-paned windows with aluminum frames. Although aluminum is easier to clean, you can also get the same amount of insulation with PVC frames, for a much lower price. If you don’t have enough funds for replacing all of your windows, you can add caulking or plastic insulation to decrease the air leak.
Older houses usually have far less effective insulation. Twenty or thirty years ago, contractors used more traditional and less energy-efficient insulation materials. Before you start adding more insulation, you should conduct an energy assessment first. The type and the thickness of insulation should depend on the climate and the condition your house.
Adding a blanket or a blown-in insulation to your walls and attic can easily save you several hundred dollars per year. In addition to this, you also need to seal all the gaps in the roof and the attic to stop the cold air from entering your home.
Using alternative energy sources
Although they require bigger upfront investments, alternative energy-sources are real money-savers. By switching to solar, wind or geothermal energy, you’ll drastically decrease the utility bills. The choice of alternative energy sources depends on the climate zone you live in. For example, solar energy works best in the hotter climate zones. That’s why there are thousands of houses with solar panels in Sydney, while residents of cooler climate zones rather choose geothermal or wind energy sources.
Apart from saving your money, making your house more energy-efficient decreases your carbon footprint and helps you establish a clean and healthy way of living. That’s why helping the environment can be viewed as the most important benefit that these easy fixes bring.