Easy Fixes to Make Your House Eco Friendly

Easy Ways to Make Your House Eco Friendly

When it’s time to maintain or improve your investment property, you have everything to gain and nothing to lose by making your property or house eco friendly. Existing and prospective tenants will appreciate it, and your efforts will have a lasting payoff in increased value whether you’re renting it or selling it.

Easy Fixes to Make Your House Eco Friendly

Improve What You’ve Got

Changing the air filter for the HVAC system is essential to keeping it running dependably and efficiently. Supply your tenants with enough air filters to last them for a year and send them monthly reminders to check it. A dirty air filter drives up conditioning costs and harms all the components inside the HVAC system. Once a year, have a licensed HVAC technician service the equipment.

Don’t forget the water heater. Recent changes to their efficiency standards have forced design changes that often result in higher purchase and installation costs. To lengthen its lifetime, drain a few quarts off the bottom at least once a year. Turn down the temperature to 120 degrees F to prevent scalding while lowering energy bills, and prolonging this appliance’s lifetime.

Deal with the Envelope

The two energy improvements that will give you the best return on your investment include adding insulation and sealing the air leaks in the home’s envelope. If you’re uncertain about the quality and effectiveness of the insulation or where the air leaks are, consider an energy audit.

Licensed auditors and HVAC contractors use equipment to measure the amount of heat gain and air losses inside the home caused by air and thermal leakage. The report they give you will help you establish priorities and give you a roadmap for making the improvements.

Older homes may have single-pane windows with aluminum frames that absorb tremendous amounts of heat in the summer and lose it in the winter. Energy Star and thermal-rated windows will cut these energy losses, but if they’re not in the budget, fit the windows that receive sunlight with shade screens on the outside. These screens can block up to 90 percent of the heat going through the glass, reducing cooling bills.

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New Appliances

Whenever you have to replace appliances, look for the Energy Star or Most Efficient designation. These have met the DOE’s rigorous requirements for efficiency, and the Most Efficient label indicates the appliance is the best of the best.

You’ll find Energy Star designations on water heaters, HVAC systems, refrigerators, washers and dryers, dishwashers and pool pumps. As a property owner, upgrading to Energy Star also helps you save money, since nearly all appliances that meet the DOE’s standards are also more durable.

Plumbing Fixtures

The EPA has started a new program called WaterSense that helps homeowners conserve water. Qualifying fixtures carry the WaterSense label on their packaging, an even on the product.

The plumbing industry has made great strides in designing new water efficient fixtures that combine performance with substantial water savings. If your fixtures are up-to-date, you can use WaterSense aerators as replacements for your water-hungry faucets and shower heads.

Protect the Air

Redecorating the interior unquestionably improves the property, but often at the expense of the indoor air quality. When you choose new materials, be sure that they’re low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs). More products are now available that are clean air compliant and contain low levels of VOCs, or none at all.

The Bottom Line

From simple projects to major improvements, making your investment home more environmentally friendly increases the comfort it offers. It also cuts its energy bills and adds value whether you continue to hold it as an investment or decide to sell it.

See also 4 Ways to Decrease Maintenance Costs

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