Which Big Ticket Home Improvements Are Really Worth It?

paint and tile samples - which home improvements are really worth it

Updating your home with the latest technology or more modern designs can be a great way to increase its value and improve its appearance.

According to a report from Harvard University, every year, American homeowners spend over $400 billion on renovations and home improvements. The vast majority of these improvements are related to system upgrades, interior and exterior replacements and remodels.

These kinds of upgrades can certainly cost a pretty penny. But while these renovations and improvements are not usually cheap, some really do pay off in the long run.

So, which of these major investments are actually worth it?

1. Smart Temperature Control 

Energy efficiency is not only great for the environment, but good for your wallet, too. Older heating and cooling systems that are not energy efficient require much more power for lower outputs, which leads to higher energy bills at the end of the month.

By upgrading your system with an HVAC Company that values energy efficiency, you will save over the long run by cutting down costs while keeping your home at a comfortable temperature year-round.

For example, trustworthy HVAC companies are concerned with how your home can sustain cool and/or hot air – as opposed to just selling expensive appliances. This involves inspecting leaks and insulation.

In terms of the system itself, investing in a smart temperature control thermostat will work to automatically adjust to conserve resources – saving you money in the process.

Some smart thermostats utilize the latest machine learning technology to “learn” your family’s behavior and adjust the temperature accordingly. This means that it notes what times people are home and what temperature settings are preferred and automatically adjusts to fit this pattern.

According to Energy Star, this can provide up to a 10% annual savings on your energy bill.

Finally, once all of your energy efficient renovations are complete, you should also see which federal tax credits you are eligible for. You could receive a sizeable refund from the government for making energy saving improvements!

2. Updated Kitchen Appliances

While the costs of these projects can certainly vary, according to Moving.com, most kitchen renovation projects will bring up your home’s value significantly. In fact, most homeowners report a return on investment ranging from 53% to 81% after the sale of their homes.

This is because home buyers are often willing to pay much more for upgraded kitchens, so if you are planning on selling your home in the near future, this is a great place to start.

If you want to cut down on your electricity bills, make sure to purchase energy efficient appliances, especially in the kitchen. In fact, the average American household pays over $2,000 per year on utilities alone, with 13% of this coming directly from kitchen appliances like refrigerators and stoves.

3. Window Replacements

yellow wall with white windows - which home improvements are worth it

Homes lose about 30% of heated or cooled air through leaks and cracks, with a lot of this air seeping out through windows.

Replacing windows with brand new seals and tighter locks can reduce your heating and cooling costs by up to 15% every month. If you are thinking of replacing your windows, consider an Energy Star Qualified window, which features multiple pans and vacuum-sealed spaces to keep air inside your home.

According to Energy Star, these certified windows can actually bring down your energy costs by 24% by helping to regulate the internal temperature more effectively.

4. Energy Efficient Devices

While replacing devices throughout your home – like lightbulbs and thermostats – may not be the most expensive project, they can also offer significant returns through lowered energy costs.

Traditional lightbulbs actually put off quite a bit of heat, which can raise your home’s temperature during the warmer months. For energy conservation, CFL (compact fluorescent lamp) lightbulbs and eco-friendly designs actually emit 75% less heat and use far less energy.

Energy Star states that by switching out just five of your most used lightbulbs with energy efficient models, you can reduce your annual electricity bill by 9%!

Programmable thermostats are also huge energy savers by allowing you to either automate temperature changes or control them from your smartphone. This way, your home can use less energy during the day when everyone is out, then change the temperature when everyone is at home.In order to maximize savings, Energy Star says it is generally best to adjust the temperature by 7 to 8 degrees when the house is empty to see the most savings. By following this guideline, you could save up to $180 a year!

It’s always exciting to have something new in your home – but remember, not all renovation projects are totally necessary or even a good investment. If you want to see a good return, opt for upgrades and additions that will either increase your home’s value or reduce costs in other areas by increasing efficiency.

Amy McConaghy is Reliance Home Comfort’s Digital Marketing Specialist, managing the editorial, video and visual content creation for all digital platforms. Amy’s writing is focused on bringing home improvement, energy and money saving tips to the homeowners and answering questions about all their home comfort needs. You can find Amy on LinkedIn.

Feature image: Pixabay; Image 1: Waldemar Brandt

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