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Residential Real Estate
Sep 15, 2014

The Best Of Many Reasons For Energy Efficiency: Saving Money

Sponsored Content provided by Michelle Clark - Realtor/Broker, Intracoastal Realty

We’ve all heard the many important reasons why saving energy is a good idea, from making our country more independent to helping the world’s climate. But for every homeowner, the most compelling reason to be energy-efficient is that it will save each of us money, often significant amounts.
 
After all, don’t we all have better ways to use our money than to send it off every month to the power company?
 
Our modern lifestyles use energy in big and small ways. It’s easy to avoid wasting that energy, and our utility budgets. While some of these require money up front, they do pay for themselves.
 
The biggest use of energy in most homes is the heating and cooling system. If yours is more than 10 years old, it almost certainly isn’t as efficient as more up-to-date heat pump units. It can be well worth investing in a more efficient unit, especially if your old one is requiring more frequent maintenance or repairs. Not only will you see savings on your electric bill, but you may qualify for an immediate rebate from Duke Energy when you buy a new, energy-saving heat pump unit.
 
Even if you’re not replacing your heating and cooling system, you may be able to save significant money by minimizing waste.
 
Having your ductwork inspected may reveal leaks that are sending treated air – and your money – out into your crawl space or attic.
 
Installing and using a programmable thermostat is a small investment that will give you the best of all possible combinations: maximum comfort and minimum energy use. Why run your unit at the optimum-comfort level when nobody’s home, or while you’re asleep? The programmable thermostat will set the temperature at energy-saving levels overnight, at mid-day or when you’re on vacation. It also will automatically warm up the house before you wake up on a cold winter morning, or cool it just the way you like it when you get home from a hot summer day’s work or play.
 
Then there are those standard check-list items that homeowners have been urged to fix ever since the first energy crisis in the 1970s:

  • Be sure your house has the recommended level of insulation. Many older homes don’t. Adding insulation to attics or to floors above unheated crawl spaces will pay for itself in greater comfort and smaller bills.
  • Insulate hot water pipes that run through unheated spaces.
  • Be sure all exterior doors have good weather-stripping to prevent air leaks.
  • Add storm windows to any window that doesn’t already have double-pane glass.
  • Hang insulating drapes over large windows for comfort and privacy. 
From a real estate perspective, of course, remember that all these improvements add to a house’s value. They also make it easier to sell when that time comes.
 
After heating and cooling, the next biggest energy users in most homes are the refrigerator and the water heater.
 
New refrigerators use much less energy than their predecessors. But if you buy a new, efficient model, beware of a trap some homeowners fall into. It may be tempting to put that old unit in the garage for extra capacity. But it’s still using energy, even if you’re using it only occasionally.
 
If your appliances are old, it can make excellent sense to replace them with higher energy-rated new ones.
 
Not all changes need to be big or expensive. Here are a few simple tricks that can make a big difference:
 
  • Modern low-flow shower-heads give the same feel, but use less hot water, than older ones.
  • Today’s laundry detergents clean clothes just fine in cold water. Washing machines are one of any household’s biggest energy wasters – or savers.
  • Making sure clothes dryers have clean lint traps and vent lines will help clothes get dry quicker, using less energy. 
Finally, don’t overlook your computer and other electronic devices. Use their energy-saving settings to shut down monitors and disk drives when they’re idle.
 
A little awareness and a few thoughtful adjustments can keep your energy use, and your costs, under control while enhancing your own comfort and your home’s value.
 
Have a question about buying, selling or any other real estate matter? Let me know and I’ll address it in a future article.
 
Michelle Clark is a broker with Intracoastal Realty, based at the Wrightsville Beach office. She is an Accredited Luxury Home Specialist, ALHS and also a Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource. Whether you are buying, selling, or investing, know that Michelle and her team will go the extra mile for you. To learn more about Michelle and Intracoastal, go to www.intracoastalrealty.com. You may contact Michelle at [email protected] or 910-367-9767. Like Michelle’s team on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MichelleClarkTeam.

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