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Older Homes, New Trend: Tips for Improving Comfort and Energy Efficiency
Dated: July 6 2021
Older homes tend to require upgrades that houses constructed after standards for energy efficiency came into widespread use do not. Buying an older house may mean living in a property with history and charm but there are trade-offs, some of which can be costly. Improving energy efficiency is a wise decision when it comes to making cost-saving home upgrades, especially if you want to increase your home’s value. Whatever your objective, it’s wise to have an energy audit done before committing to upgrades that may require a serious investment.
While newer homes typically sell for more than older houses (less maintenance required), a well-maintained older home can sell for as much or more based on its condition, so keeping up with maintenance is important. As Icon Premium Realty notes, if the seller is unwilling to make repairs, and a buyer doesn’t want a bunch of work upon moving in, you’ve shrunk the pool of potential buyers for your property. And these days, energy efficiency is an important factor for buyers.
Keep Out the Drafts
In the era before homes were constructed according to strict building codes, houses were often inadequately sealed. If you notice a distinct draft in your home, a reputable contractor can take care of the problem fairly easily and it’ll prove to be an effective upgrade that’ll soon pay for itself in significant savings.
Some homeowners take it upon themselves to handle the work, but the larger the house, the more difficult the job, so hiring a contractor makes a lot of sense here. If you hire someone to repair your windows, for example, Angi.com recommends getting at least three quotes and making sure that the contractors are licensed and insured.
The newest generation of HVAC systems has some energy efficiency features that far outstrip older versions. Heating and cooling systems are generally expected to last about 20 years on average, so if yours is late in its life, it could be time to start shopping around for a new unit with a design that will function more efficiently and do a better job of heating and cooling a large house.
Keep vents and air ducts free of dust accumulations so air can circulate freely. Make sure air filters are cleaned or replaced on a monthly basis. It’s also a good idea to have your AC system checked regularly. Also, consider adding a programmable thermostat, which will also help make your heating/cooling system more efficient and save money on your energy costs. It’s amazing how much money you can save by adjusting the thermostat just a few degrees as the weather changes.
A big wooden house presents termites an inviting target; indeed, termites are a common problem for many owners of old properties. If you discover signs of a termite infestation, such as piles of granular wood or tunneling, call a pest control professional as soon as possible for inspection. When hiring a termite exterminator, expect to pay up to $2,500.
It’s not unusual for older homes to have little or no insulation in the walls, which makes efficient heating a problem. There are different ways to insulate walls, including expanding foam, loose fill, or rigid panels. According to The Spruce, if there’s insufficient insulation in the attic, you may need to start there because an insulated attic helps prevent harmful ice dams from forming on the roof.
Homeowners can spend thousands of dollars insulating a large-sized house, though some forms of insulation make it relatively easy to handle DIY. Fiberglass, which is a relatively inexpensive insulating material, is probably best if you intend to go solo and save a few dollars. However, beware that fiberglass can cause skin irritation, so be sure to wear protective clothing.
It’s the cherished dream of many people to live in a grand old home with plenty of character, but it comes at a cost. Basic upkeep and lower-impact jobs can often be done DIY, though if your home needs plenty of insulating, sealing, or structural work, do yourself a favor and call in a professional who has experience dealing with large-scale improvements in older homes.
Guest post provided by Suzie Wilson.
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