Urban Efficiency : 4 Home Improvements That are Totally Worth It

Living in a big city is expensive, and you may hesitate to allocate funds for home improvements, especially since not all home improvement projects are worth the money. These four, however, will give you some money back on your investment.

 
Adding Insulation to your Attic

atticImage via Flickr by Red Moon Sanctuary

Experts have stated that a lack of insulation is one of the most obvious ways that attics make homes inefficient. When you don’t have good insulation in your attic, the sun will heat up your roof, making the rest of the house unbearably hot during the summer. Poor insulation also lets warm air leak out of the house during winter.

Luckily, it isn’t expensive to have insulation added to your attic. Putting insulation inside your walls is a bigger ordeal because you’ll have to remove the drywall first. If you’re willing to live with the mess for a few days, though, putting quality insulation in the walls will eventually pay for itself.
Replacing Old Windows
Today’s windows offer more insulation than those from the past. If your home’s windows are decades old, it’s probably time to start looking for replacements that will prevent outdoor temperatures from making the indoors uncomfortable.

There are several types of insulated windows that you should consider adding to your home. Some of the most common options have argon gas between the panes. Since argon gas conducts nearly 48 percent less heat than air, this buffer helps prevent temperature exchange.

If you don’t want to spend money on new windows, you can get some positive results by adding awnings, blinds, and drapes. Installing high-reflectivity films on your existing windows can also help.
Seal the HVAC’s Ductwork
Leaky ducts will kill your HVAC’s efficiency. If your ducts aren’t properly sealed, then they are probably dumping cool and warm air from your HVAC system into parts of the house that you don’t really care about, like the basement or the attic.

Processed air is also probably getting directed more to some rooms than others. If you have rooms that get really hot or cold compared to the rest of the house, you almost certainly have leaks that you need to seal.

Sealing ducts is inexpensive. However, it’s also time-consuming since you have to find the leaks and make sure the duct joints line up perfectly before you add the sealant.

Most people choose to hire professionals to do the job for them. Even if you pay someone else, you’ll quickly see a return on the investment.
Get a New Furnace
New furnaces are not cheap. Depending on the size of your home, you can expect to spend anywhere from $2,500 to $14,000. In many cases, that doesn’t even include the cost of installation.

If you have an old furnace, though, getting a replacement is often worth the investment. Furnace rarely last much longer than 20 years, so you may need to buy a new one soon, anyway.

The good news is that today’s models are often 90 percent more effective than older ones. You may not exactly make your money back, but you will see some return on the expense.

By choosing projects wisely, you can lower your utility bills and improve your home. Start with these four projects. They’ll give you some of the best returns possible.

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