Every homeowner has their own motivating factors in mind when they set out to upgrade certain aspects of their property, but comfort, aesthetic appeal, and financial practicality are generally the top considerations. Some upgrades look great, others add comfort, and some save you money, but the best kind of renovations and home additions can do all three of those things. If you’ve been looking for new ways to make your home a more comfortable and frugal living environment, consider the following 8 money-saving and comfort-boosting upgrades:
1. Installing an Energy-Efficient HVAC System
If you’ve recently had to pay for a heating and air conditioning repair, or you suspect that your current system is outdated and inefficient, you could save a significant percentage on your monthly electricity bill and gain better control over your in-home climate. This kind of upgrade will also save money by keeping you from having to pay for HVAC maintenance in the near future, which could be quite expensive in and of itself.
According to Semper Solaris, one of Southern California’s leading HVAC & solar service providers, “switching from an older system to one of the best heating and air conditioning units on the market can save you up to 30% or more on your energy bill.” By following up and collecting feedback from clients after performing installations and repairs, Semper Solaris has been able to verify that the savings obtained by switching to a new HVAC system can be quite substantial.
2. Upgrading Insulation
New insulation saves you money by reducing the burden on your home’s heating and air conditioning systems. It also makes your home more comfortable by keeping it warmer during the winter while letting you use less energy to do so. If you have a newer home, your insulation is probably already up-to-date, so this is primarily a tip for homeowners who own houses that were built longer than one to two decades ago.
Nonetheless, it’s a worthwhile recommendation because studies show that at least 25% of homes in the U.S. are now overdue for an insulation upgrade and weatherization. This is an upgrade that is more likely to be necessary if the home has been used as a rental property for many years, as many landlords don’t have any incentive to optimize or upgrade their tenants’ insulation. If you just moved into the home and you’re not sure what the insulation situation is, have your walls and attic inspected by a professional determine if there’s a need to upgrade.
3. Adding a Pool
Adding a pool to your yard is clearly going to make those hot summer days more comfortable and enjoyable. It can also keep you and your family from making costly trips to the beach, waterpark, or community pool, as you’ll be able to have plenty of aquatic fun from home.
This is a particularly useful tip for families who live in temperate climates where the cost of swimming outings can add up to a significant yearly expense.
4. Installing Smart Showerheads & Faucets
Gaining more control over the water usage in your home helps you save money on your water bill, preserve the environment, and simplify the process of controlling water temperature, stream type, and water pressure level. Likewise, they can boost the amount of time that you have to shower before you run out of hot water, which is by far one of the biggest annoyances to deal with when you share your home with family members or roommates.
Some of the best smart showerheads can be controlled via waterproof touchscreen interfaces to establish different user presets and favorite configurations. This means you can have your shower water the exact same temperature every time, exactly as you like it, without ever having to manually fiddle with a knob.
5. Upgrading to Energy-Efficient Doors & Windows
Many homes have poorly insulated windows that make use of outdated and inefficient designs. Newer models have been designed to create more effective seals and barriers between your home’s interior and the outside weather.
Many architects and construction-related engineerings would argue that windows and doors are the primary variable when it comes to a building's energy usage. Compare energy prices here to see more about this topic in your specific area.
Upgrading to Energy Star certified doors and windows can reduce your monthly energy usage by ten to fifteen percent, as many of the problems that need to be corrected within a weatherization project are related to sealing small cracks and caps that surround the home’s entry points and windows.
6. Building a Deck, Porch, or Patio
Much like the pool recommendation above, the suggestion of adding a deck, porch, or patio for the sake of adding comfort and saving money makes sense because you won’t have to leave your house to find an entertaining venue for hosting parties and get togethers.
This is a project that can be completed gradually over the course of a summer on a DIY basis, although you may want to have a helping hand or two if you want it to get it done quickly. Plus, let’s not forget that adding one of these features is a reliable way to boost the value of your property.
7. Add a Home Theater
Adding a home theater has obvious comfort-boosting benefits in that you’ll have an entire area dedicated to and optimized for media viewing. It will also save you money in the long-term by keeping you from having to drive to the cinema, pay for overpriced snacks, and cover hefty ticket prices.
When you’ve run out of new movies to watch, you can resort to playing video games for endless hours of entertainment. Any time you can make your home a more entertaining place to be, you’ll be preventing many of the unnecessary outings that only happen because your family gets bored at home.
8. Installing a Garbage Disposal
A garbage disposal makes your life more convenient by keeping you from having to worry about the sink becoming clogged by food. You won’t have to meticulously scrape dishes before putting them in the sink, or deal with the hassle of having to pull out your plunger. Plus, it can prevent serious plumbing issues that would create significant expenses in the form of drain cleaning products or plumbing services.
Installing a garbage disposal is also something that seems complicated but is actually very easy to do on a DIY basis with the help of a simple tutorial. Conventional garbage disposals would be wired to the home’s electricity and then activated via a light switch. Nowadays, they have models that come with pre-wired counter top buttons, so you don’t need an electrician or advanced skills to install them anymore. Although, keep in mind that you’ll need to use an appropriate drill bit to fashion a hole in your counter top for mounting the button.
Upgrade Gradually for a More Affordable Approach
If you were to initiate all of the upgrades listed above in the same week, you’d wind up with a pretty hefty lump-sum cost for the renovation. Instead, consider adding one minor upgrade every week, one moderate upgrade every month, and one major upgrade or renovation once or twice per year. Following a gradual home upgrade schedule like this will make your house feel more like a home without putting a strain on your budget. Furthermore, smart home devices have become relatively affordable, so things like smart showerheads and thermostats can be added to your weekly minor upgrade list.