• In Atlanta, owning a home is a great investment, but caring for it can also be quite expensive. One way you may be able to save some of your hard-earned money is by lowering your energy bills. Not only will making your home more energy efficient help you reduce the amount of electricity you’re paying for, but it may also come with tax incentives. Continue reading to discover five steps you can take to upgrade your home today!

     

    Start Outside

     

    One great way to reduce your energy consumption inside is to take advantage of your outdoor space. Planting trees or adding shrubs to your property can provide shade for your home and allow you to spend less on AC. According to the American Power Association, effective landscaping can cut your cooling costs by as much as 50 percent annually. Not to mention, an attractive yard adds re-sale value to your home. The Arbor Day Foundation offers a handy, online tool to help you determine the best spots in your yard to add trees. Not only can shade reduce your monthly energy bills, it can also help extend the life of your expensive HVAC system.

     

    Check Your Windows

     

    In the winter, it’s estimated that one-third of heat loss takes place through a home’s windows and doors. If your existing window system has broken parts or rotting wood, it’s likely time to upgrade to new energy efficient windows. If your existing windows aren’t in bad shape, however, consider opting for affordable 3M window film. On average, it pays back its cost in energy savings in 36 months. Plus, it has tons of other benefits as well. For example, it’s UV protection prevents your furnishings and flooring from fading in the sunlight. Get a window film estimate today.

     

    Upgrade Your Water Heater

     

    Everyone enjoys a warm shower, but you may not realize how much you’re paying for the hot water in your home. Next time you’re in the market for a water heater, consider purchasing a high-efficiency model. Though they may be a bit pricier, they’re designed to save you money over their lifetime. Though storage tank water heaters are most common in Atlanta homes, consider opting for a tankless model next time you’re in the market. They tend to reduce energy consumption by only heating water while you’re using it rather than continually warming up a tank’s worth. As a bonus, you can’t run out of hot water with a tankless heater. Check out this helpful water heater shopping guide from Lowe’s.

     

    Invest in a Programmable Thermostat (and Use It)

     

    Programmable thermostats allow you to optimize your home’s AC use without having to remember to manually adjust the temperature every time you leave the house. Most programmable thermostats allow you to set four different temperatures throughout the day: morning, daytime, evening and sleep. Many models also allow you to set different temperatures for different days of the week. Programmable thermostats are affordable, but remember that you’ll only see a return on your investment if you take the time to program your thermostat once it’s installed and if you make sure to update your temperature settings for each season. This is especially important in Atlanta, where it can be very hot in the summer and very cold in the winter.

     

    Take Care of Your Ducts

     

    In homes with central AC, heated and cooled air is typically distributed around the house through ducts. According to Energy Star, however, in the average American home, about 25 percent of treated air is lost through leaks and holes in the ducts before it can reach living spaces. If some of your rooms just don’t seem to cool down, it’s likely your ducts are to blame. Depending on the results you’re looking for, you can try sealing your ducts yourself or brining in a professional contractor to help. Energy Star offers a helpful FAQ sheet on sealing your ducts. It’s a great place to start your energy saving journey.

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