Environmentally conscious or "Going Green" continues to be the ideal home improvement option for homeowners today. Even if you can not afford a set of custom solar panels, you can make your home more environmentally friendly and more efficient without breaking the bank. Below are the top five:
Ideal Home Improvement # 1: Update your heating system. If your furnace is old, replace it with a new, more efficient one, preferably a model with an Energy Star label. The same holds true for your water heater.
Ideal Home Improvement # 2: Stop the gaps around your home. Plastic insulation foam is perfect for filling in those drapty areas around windows and doors. Rolling out new insulation in your attic can help to stop drafts as well.
Ideal Home Improvement # 3: Replace old windows and doors. You can get replacement windows with up to triple panes. They are pricey to be sure, but their effects are also instant. Of course, if the cost of replacing your windows is too steep, consider blackout curtains instead. Blackout curtains, while not a full trade, are still a great helper for trapping energy inside the home. Replacing drapty doors with insulated doors and also and also adding new weather stripping around them can go a long way with little expense to you. Insulated doors are also a great option and usually only cost a few hundred dollars.
Ideal Home Improvement # 4: Turn down the thermostat while you're not at home. You can buy a programmable thermostat to do this for you automatically. Your pipes and pets will be just fine with a five to ten degree swing in temperature.
Ideal Home Improvement # 5: Swap out the rest of your light bulbs. You're probably pretty knowledgeable about energy saving light bulbs but have you changed every light bulb in your house for one? If you answered 'no' it's time to get to 'yes'. Why? The incandescent costs twice to run than what it cost you to buy. On the contrast, a Compact Fluorescent Light Bulb that's Energy Star qualified automatically pays you back the purchase price within six months. The truth is self-evident.