When most home buyers look for a house, of their own, they consider many factors and considerations, including whether it meets their needs, in many ways, and is affordable, for them. When considering these economic factors/ considerations, very often, little attention, is paid, to the continuing costs of utilities, especially for heating, air conditioning, and electric. As a Real Estate Licensed Salesperson, in New York State, for over a decade, as well as a homeowner, and an investor in a few rental properties, I have come to recognize and realize, it’s very important, essential, and relevant, to pay keen attention to energy costs and considerations. This article will, therefore, attempt to briefly review, examine, consider and discuss, 5 specific areas of a home, which may have a significant impact.
1. Windows and Doors: Energy studies often indicate, perhaps, the largest loser of energy, in most homes, is via, the windows and doors. We often refer to these as drafts, but there are several possibilities, many of which, might be simply addressed. Pay attention to exterior doors, and see if there are areas, which may not be air – tight! A simple adjustment, such as applying seals, etc, along the bottom and sides of the doors, minimize this waste/ leakage! Are the windows, energy – efficient? If they are not, examine the Return on Investment, in terms of replacing the inefficient ones, with energy – efficient windows. If the windows are the right quality, also check and review, whether there is a need to seal the sides, etc, with quality caulking. You’d be amazed by, how much energy, might be saved, by addressing these issues!
2. Heating system/ alternatives: It’s important to have your heating system, examined, and maintained (including Preventive Maintenance), every year, prior to the colder weather. A well – tuned, properly, efficiently performing burner and boiler, not only will save you money, but avoid numerous potential headaches. Some individuals might benefit from using alternative methods, such as solar, geo – thermal, etc, and it is a good idea, to review, whether you might benefit from these.
3. Separate hot water system: While you only use your heat, during certain seasons, you need hot water, year – around! Therefore, doesn’t it make sense, to avoid, wasting money, by running the entire heating system, when you only need to heat your water. Some use solar, for their hot water, depending on location, costs, etc. Others might benefit, from having a separate hot water tank!
4. Insulation: Obviously, the quality, amount, and location of insulation, has a significant impact on energy costs. However, many ignore, the need to insulate, behind light plates, because there is often, significant energy loss, there.
5. Other materials; electric; etc: Examine the materials used, and whether they are efficient, quality, and hopefully, sustainable. Also, make a point of reminding, everyone who lives in the house, to remember to turn off the lights, etc, when they aren’t needed and/ or necessary.
In the vast majority of situations, much of this can be accomplished, at a relatively minimal expense/ cost. Don’t complain about energy costs – address them!