7 Energy-Efficient Upgrades with a High Return on Investment

Top Energy-Efficient Improvements for HomesAs everyone focuses their attention on reducing their carbon footprint, energy-efficient upgrades have become quite popular with homebuyers. Due to the rise in popularity, these home improvement projects come with a rather high return on investment, or ROI. If homeowners are looking to sell soon, they can benefit from making the residence more energy efficient than ever with the following high-ROI upgrades.

Energy Efficient Upgrade #1: Seals

It's often surprising how much heat transfer can occur through the gaps and cracks around windows, doors, and the like. Although weatherproofing seals and caulk should block those gaps and keep heat transfer to a minimum, those materials wear out over time.

As that occurs, more drafts will start to flow through the house, causing the heat or AC to be on more often. Replacing those elements also makes the home look better, too. Therefore, caulk and seal replacement can easily pay for itself several times over.

Energy Efficient Upgrade #2: Energy-Star Certified Windows

Old single-pane windows let up to 20% of heat flow straight out of homes, no matter how much caulk is applied around the outside. Although replacing those windows with double-pane units can help, that's not the most effective option.

Instead, homeowners can get the most for their money by going with Energy-Star certified windows. When all the windows in the house are replaced with those units, it's possible to reduce energy expenses by up to $465 per year. Because the new windows also make the house look amazing, they offer a ROI of 78 percent.

Energy Efficient Upgrade #3: Steel Doors

Depending on their material, doors allow a lot of heat transfer to occur, reducing the energy efficiency of a home. Thin wooden doors are the worst offenders, followed by vinyl units that lack adequate insulation in the center.

Homeowners can enjoy a return of 100 percent by replacing all of their low-quality exterior doors with steel doors instead. In addition to being highly energy efficient, these doors look great, too, which helps increase curb appeal and brings more interested buyers to the property as soon as it hits the market.

Energy Efficient Upgrade #4: Insulation

More than 90 percent of homes do not have enough insulation to block heat transfer through the summer and winter months. Because standards have changed considerably through the years, older homes are the worst culprits.

Unless homeowners have a new construction home, they can rest assured that their residence could benefit from an insulation upgrade. If they move ahead with this project, they are sure to get their money's worth. Insulation replacement provides a return on investment of 117 percent, plus looks spectacular in for-sale ads.

Energy Efficient Upgrade #5: Solar Panels

Depending on the climate in their area, homeowners can potentially pull their residence off the power grid by installing solar panels. These energy-efficient devices convert sunlight into electricity that powers the entire household. In some areas, it's even possible to make enough energy to feed back into the grid and receive a credit back.

No matter how much energy the panels produce, they are a big selling point and offer an excellent return on investment. In fact, the panels can increase the value of the home by up to $15,000, often offsetting their entire cost. They also help the home sell much faster at or above its asking price.

If homeowners decide to stay in their home after all, the solar panels will pay for themselves within about 10 years. After that, the energy savings are just icing on the cake.

Energy Efficient Upgrade #6: Tankless Water Heater

Conventional water heaters store up to 50 gallons of water and heat up the entire tank any time someone turns on the hot water. A lot of energy is wasted as a result, leaving homeowners footing the bill for no reason at all. Tankless water heaters solve all that by only heating up water as it's needed.

Although they are expensive to install, tankless water heaters provide a solid return on investment. When selling, homeowners can expect to get back much more than they paid for the system. Many homebuyers are easily won over by a tankless system, because it promises to save them a lot of money in the future.

Energy Efficient Upgrade #7: Heat Pump

A heat pump can cool and warm up a living space using the magic of heat transfer to get the job done. Although this system uses electricity to operate, its ability to move and convert heat greatly improves the efficiency of that power source.

In fact, unlike other electric HVAC systems, heat pumps offer triple the efficiency and provide a fantastic return, too. Homebuyers are much more likely to gravitate toward homes with heating and cooling from heat pumps than other systems. Homeowners can expect to get at least 50 percent ROI as well, making it well worth the expense.

By completing each one of these projects, homeowners can steadily improve the energy efficiency of their homes. Even just doing one or two can make a noticeable difference and provide that solid return they seek.

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