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Small Home Improvements, Big Impact

A variety of reasonably-priced upgrades can add comfort, beauty and value to your home. Here are a few to consider:

Attic insulation

There are a lot of upsides to adding insulation to your attic. First, you get to enjoy cooler summers and warmer winters. Second, it can lower your utility costs.1 And third, you can potentially get back more than the cost of the project if you sell your home.2 Sounds like a win-win-win!

Energy-efficient appliances

Appliances with an Energy Star label use 10-50% less energy and water than conventional appliances.3 This means you’ll not only get to enjoy that new dishwasher, but it can help you save money on utility costs. Not to mention, it you’re looking to sell your home new appliance could make it more attractive to buyers. Check out these Energy Star certified appliances.

Upgraded water fixtures

Low-flow water fixtures, such as showerheads, faucets and toilets, have become a simple way for people to lower their water usage with little effort. As the name suggests, low-flow fixtures slow down the water flow to disperse water at a lower rate, but no need to panic. Most low-flow devices deliver high water pressure and some even allow you to choose the intensity4. In the end you could be gaining performance and saving money.

Weatherproofing

As the weather gets colder, energy bills can also rise. Space heating is the largest energy expense in the average U.S. home and accounts for nearly 45% of all energy costs5. In addition to retaining heat inside your home, weatherproofing can also keep the cold air and moisture outdoors. Make sure windows and door frames are sufficiently caulked and sealed. Heat can escape from even the smallest cracks so double-check to ensure everything is airtight.

Smart thermostat

Smart thermostats are the future. These sleek and modern devices don’t only look cool, they can save you up to $180 a year on heating and cooling costs.6 Some brands also offer a smartphone app so you can turn up the AC from your couch or on your way home from work. Best of all, at between $250-$500 with installation, they can pay for themselves in a few years.

I like what I did with the place

Minor improvements that make sense can have major impacts for years to come. Have fun giving your home an upgrade or two! 


1. Energy Saver. “Reduce Your Heating Bills with Better Insulation.” Energy.gov. https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/articles/reduce-your-heating-bills-better-insulation (accessed May 3, 2018).
2. Remodeling Magazine. “2017 Cost vs Value Report.” Remodeling.hw.net. http://www.remodeling.hw.net/cost-vs-value/2017/ (accessed May 3, 2018).
3. Energy Star. “Appliances.” Energystar.gov. https://www.energystar.gov/ia/partners/manufres/Appliancesfeb2005.pdf?8fd5-1967 (accessed May 3, 2018).
4. http://www.showerremedy.com/best-low-flow-shower-heads.
5. http://energy.gov/articles/energy-saver-101-infographic-home-heating.
6. Energy Star. “Heat & Cool Efficiently.” Energystar.gov. https://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=heatcool.prhvac&s=m (accessed May 3, 2018).

*This article has been updated from its original posting on May 8, 2018.
Authored by Matt Diehl. Video produced by Sam Kittinger.


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