8 Energy-Efficient Home Upgrades That Yield High ROI

8 Energy-Efficient Home UpgradesIncreasing your home's energy efficiency saves money on monthly utility bills and can increase the property's resale value. With the constant improvement of smart technology home upgrades, there are many ways to make a home more efficient, and it's sometimes hard to know where to start. While it'd be great to invest in every power-saving upgrade on the market, it's best to start with the ones that suit your immediate needs and promise a strong return on investment (ROI). Keep reading to learn about eight high-ROI energy-efficient home upgrades.

Replacing Windows: 75% ROI

Some experts estimate that close to a third of a home's heat and AC dollars can go out the window: literally, in the form of drafts. Window technology gets better every year, and if the current windows are old, replacements will look better and make everyone feel more comfortable. And there could be 75 percent or more ROI at resale time, not to mention utility savings in the interim.

Upgrading to Steel Doors: 100% or More ROI

As with windows, if old doors are leaky, new ones will mean an immediate improvement in energy savings and enhanced curb appeal. Steel doors are thick and protective and keep heated or cooled air from escaping. These handsome doors often yield more than 100 percent ROI at resale.

Adding Insulation: 100% or More ROI

Most homes already have insulation, so some folks think this one is already covered. However, newer insulation is more efficient. Heat rises, so attics and ceilings are the first areas to look at. But don't forget basement closets, crawl spaces, and areas under stairways: any place precious warm or cool air may be escaping. Insulation is one of the best investments you can make with a 100 percent or more ROI.

Adding Attic Vents: 100% or More ROI

Attic spaces should be insulated from the living area, but it also helps if the attic is connected to the outdoors with proper ventilation. Vents reduce AC and heating costs and help prevent moisture buildup. In addition, there is less likely to be internal frost, mold, or water damage to the rafters and insulation with venting. With an additional cost of about $500 or less, they can more than pay for themselves by preventing room damage and repair.

Sealing Ventilation Ducts: 100% or More ROI

People tend not to think much about their ventilation ducts, but in most homes, they leak. Cooled or heated air seeps out into basements, attics, and crawl spaces and makes the HVAC work harder. Despite the name, duct tape is not suitable for sealing ducts. A job that lasts takes special tape, mastic, and the know-how to apply it. However, if a pro does the work, there could be over 100 percent ROI in the first year.

Using ENERGY STAR Appliances: 10–25% ROI Per Year

The EPA gives the ENERGY STAR designation to appliances that meet its testing standards. Refrigerators, dishwashers, washer/dryers, and standalone freezers are among the top money-saving options for efficient appliances. Always replace worn-out appliances with ENERGY STAR, and in some cases, it's worthwhile to swap out units that still have some life left. Annual ROIs run from 10 to 25 percent, and the payback period is typically five to 12 years. You can calculate refrigerator savings based on the size and model of your old appliance.

Upgrading to Smart Thermostats: 50% ROI Per Year

Programmable thermostats have been a popular home upgrade for several years. They allow homeowners to automatically vary the temperature and save energy when sleeping or when no one is home. Smart thermostats go further. They can learn the residents' lifestyles and automatically adjust to achieve minimum energy use. Most are connectable to wifi so that a smartphone can manage the temperature from anywhere. The investment returns about 50 percent annually.

Improved Water Heaters: Save 30%+ on Energy Bills

One choice is the tankless heater. Conventional water heaters fill up with hot water that may get cold before anyone uses it, but tankless heaters provide hot water just when it's needed. They can reduce energy use by up to a third. They also have an annual ROI of around 15 percent for a payback period of around six or seven years.

Solar water heaters do even more. There's a higher initial cost, but tax credits may offset it, and once savings have covered the startup expenses, sunshine is free.

Save Money And Increase Property Value With High-ROI Upgrades

Homebuyers want energy-efficient homes and are willing to pay extra for them. These home improvements yield significant returns in both energy savings and the appreciating long-term value of the home.

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