The majority of us do not like to waste our money whether it involves pizza, engaging local movers, a stainless steel fabricator, or any other service or products. We will do almost anything to save a few bucks and eradicate useless spending that does not bring us any significant return, but what about our current house? Should we do everything we can to save the home we currently live in and protect it from costly damages and inconveniences?
From weatherproofing your home to increasing convenience, there are several simple and effective high return on investment (ROI) home innovations you can undertake on your house that will pay back the cost of the materials over time. Here’s our list:
1. Installing Insulation
In most homes, the giant energy hog is heating and cooling loss through uncontrolled air leakage–air leaks around windows and doors and through holes in attics and basements allow conditioned air to escape outside while bringing cold drafts in through unheated spaces above garages or storage areas. An excellent place to start if you want to save money on heating and cooling costs is adding insulation where it has been lost. If done well, you’ll not only save on your energy bills the day after the insulation is installed but for years to come.
2. Installing New Windows and Doors
If you’ve been putting off replacing old drafty windows and doors, this would be a great time to get this as it is one of the high ROI home innovations. You can expect a payback of 1-3 years from most types of windows and about four years for triple-pane windows with Low-E coatings (which provide solar heat gain control). Note that if you’re selling your home in the near future, suitable window replacement, just like engaging a home painter to curb the appeal, will significantly add value to your property. A bonus: new windows will help cut drafts and reduce moisture penetration into your house, lowering indoor air quality problems such as mold growth, which has been linked to allergies, asthma, and other respiratory problems.
3. Weather-Stripping Doors and Windows
You can get promising ROI home innovations by installing weather stripping around doors and windows by allowing you to lower your thermostat set point and thereby reduce your heating and cooling bills. You should also invest in weather stripping for the exterior of all attic access panels, soffit vents, exhaust fans, unheated garages—anyplace where conditioned air escapes from your house. In addition to lowering energy bills, however, having an efficient HVAC system will help control humidity levels in the home to avoid mold growth or moisture damage from water leaks. While kits make this job more manageable (for example, no-nail-required weather stripping and dowel and sealant systems), you can do a decent job with basic supplies from the hardware store.
4. Fixing Cracks in the Basement Wall
If you have a leaky basement, it might be time to consider some waterproofing options, such as outside perimeter drainage (outside the foundation) or curtain drains (inside). Waterproofing can get expensive fast since it involves digging and drilling through the concrete, requiring hiring a concrete company with masonry skills and moving large amounts of soil; exterior perimeter drainage is the more affordable option but may not always work depending on your situation. Curtain drains are a practical option, but they require cutting holes in your walls and floor and funneling water to one drain tile—so not for everyone’s taste! Consider hiring a waterproofing contractor to give you an estimate for your particular problem before taking on this project since it can be complicated.
5. Fixing or Replacing Broken Gutters and Downspouts
Water damage is one sign of missing gutters, which should form the watertight border of any drainage system. It’s not hard to replace gutter sections yourself if they’re damaged, but the chances are that new gutters will need cleaning out at some point; hiring someone to do this every couple of years may not be too expensive in terms of time (if you can do it yourself) but spares you recurring headaches when things clog up while you’re away on vacation!
6. Improving Insulation Around Water Heaters
If your water heater is located in the garage, basement, or any other unheated area of your home, insulation can seriously prolong its life. A good strategy for water heaters exposed to cold drafts is to insulate around them with 1-inch thick fiberglass batts cut to fit tightly around the heater. If your water heater is indoors and less exposed to temperature changes, you’ll want to seal off any heating ducts or outlets touching the unit by attaching a metal collar flashing kit.
7. Replacing Conventional Light Bulbs With CFLs
Lighting accounts for about 15% of an average household’s electricity use—a fact that should have homeowners consider having a skylight and swapping out incandescent bulbs for compact fluorescent lights. With an expected payback of 6 to 15 months for ROI home innovations, it’s easy to see why CFLs are so popular. Just be sure you buy ones labeled as Energy Star compliant since these bulbs will be cheaper in the long run and more efficient than their less-labeled counterparts.
8. Using a Power Meter
Using a Kill a Watt or similar device can help you quantify your savings from all these measures by measuring the wattage consumed by each appliance plugged into your surge protectors or outlets. You’ll quickly discover how much energy is being wasted on devices that are plugged in but not in use—and then unplug them! Many larger appliances continue to use electricity even after you’ve turned them off with phantom loads.
9. Installing Solar-Powered Attic Fans
If you live in a warm climate, one of the ROI home innovations that can save you money on your cooling bills is to install a solar-powered attic fan. In the summer months, when it’s hot outside, these fans draw hot air from the attic and expel it through vents near the roof edge, allowing cool air to flow in and making an AC unit less necessary (or at least reducing its runtime). Depending on where you live and how much sun exposure your roof gets, you’ll need between 1 and 4 square feet of open area for one watt of power; larger or more powerful units will require 2 or 3 square feet. A contractor can estimate installation costs to enhance proper preparation in getting ideal ROI home innovations.
10. Replacing Conventional Showerheads With Low-Flow Models
The EPA estimates that 3.5 gallons per minute (or 14.0 liters per minute) is the minimum flow rate necessary for effective rinsing; using any lower than this can make hair or skin dirtier as you rinse because less water is flowing over the body! Today you can find many full-featured low-flow showerheads on the market, but if your old one has got too icky to use, consider replacing it .
11. Using Low Flow Toilets and Aerators
Low flow toilets and sink faucets is one of the high ROI home innovations that save water —but it’s essential to make sure you get ones that don’t sacrifice performance. Toilets should use 1.6 gallons (about 6 liters) per flush, and faucets should use no more than 2.2 GPM.
12. Fixing Leaks
All exterior hose bibs should have an internal washer that can be easily replaced when they wear out or tear—every 2-3 years or so is often enough to keep your water bill down. While you’re at it, check any indoor plumbing fixtures with constant running sounds while turned off to see if their supply tubes are leaking.
13. Taking Shorter Showers
If you live in a home without an instantaneous (or tankless) hot-water heater, then taking shorter showers can save as much as 50% on your water bill! If this sounds too tough to do, consider keeping track of how long you’re showering by using a stopwatch or clock with a second hand. Start it when the shower starts running—and have fun timing yourself! For many people, being conscious of their water usage can lead them to spend less time in the shower, even if they don’t reduce its duration by any significant amount at first. Being more mindful about your water usage can not only help you save money, but it can keep your home more comfortable by reducing the chance of mold and mildew growth, which can lead to allergies.
14. Fixing Dripping Faucets
Besides wasting water, dripping faucets are usually noisy and eating up the energy with each drip. Replacing faulty washers or O-rings is easy (generally requiring only a screwdriver) and even simpler models.
15. Insulating Exterior Doors
Suppose your home has metal or fiberglass exterior doors. In that case, they’re probably losing a significant amount of cold or warm air from drafts around their edges—which means there’s also less insulation keeping your home at a constant temperature! You can temporarily fix this with foam insulation, sold in tubes for between $5 and $11; it can be peeled off when you want to close the door again.
16. Fixing Creaky Doors
If your newly insulated exterior door doesn’t seem like it’s closing (or opening) easily, check that its hinges aren’t squeaking or grinding by lubricating them with vegetable oil.
Using excess oil with a damp cloth before rehanging the door so water doesn’t seep into cracks where rust could form is one of the high ROI home innovations to keep your door operating efficiently. Be keen to check that your door is in its proper state or if you need garage door repair services.
17. Sealing Gaps Around Windows and Baseboards
You may also want to check any operable parts of your home for drafts—including openings around electrical outlets, HVAC registers (‘return-air vents’ for heating and cooling), and baseboard radiators. For gaps around windows, you can use a tube of acoustical caulk. If you find areas where wires or pipes penetrate walls or floors, dollar store putty sticks are helpful to keep drafts from seeping through these cracks.
18. Using Cold Water in the Laundry
Using cold water instead of hot water on the wash cycle can save money on their monthly utility bill for many people with front-loading washers! You can usually set it for your preferred temperature when doing a regular load, but be sure to check the manual to see if your machine will automatically switch back to hot for subsequent uses to reap the benefits of high ROI home innovations when using the device—and look at the fill hole to see about what volume of water it will use for different types of loads.
19. Fixing Squeaky Hardwood Floors
Some people worry about the upkeep required to keep their wood floors looking good, but one cost-saving measure is routine maintenance done to keep them feeling good underfoot! If your floors are squeaky, you can either replace the squeaky boards (or buy wood glue to prevent additional squeaks) or lubricate them with mineral oil.
20. Using Non-Disposable Razors
There’s no denying that disposable blades are convenient and high ROI home innovations, but they’re often more expensive in the long run—especially if they’re never sharpened! If you don’t want to spring for an expensive reusable razor, consider whether there’s a way you can use it multiple times before throwing it away—including using one side of the blade on your face and the other on your legs.
21. Repairing Broken Appliances
Some appliance repair work is easy enough for anyone to do without extensive experience and many parts only cost a few dollars—so DIY repairs are high ROI home innovations to save hundreds of dollars over the cost of hiring a maintenance specialist!
22. Fixing Loose Door Hinges
Before the screws strip, take advantage of their large contact area and tighten them with a screwdriver. If you’re dealing with ancient hinges, however, they may not have anchoring screws at all —and if one side is only attached by a nail or even just counter-sunk into the wood, it could very well fall out as soon as someone tries to open the door!
23. Replacing Broken Light Bulbs
Another simple fix for many models of lamps and overhead lights is replacing burned-out bulbs. Lighting is an essential factor in everyday life. Although many may not see it, you can’t do just about anything when the lights are off. This means when a light bulb breaks and stays broken, it puts a strain on your household. Replacing one will not cost much and will increase productivity for everyone living there. Numerous things need to be done around the house, but lighting innovations are high ROI home innovations as lighting always takes up the time of people’s day-to-day routines.
24. Adjusting Faucet Aerators
One final household maintenance tip is to check any faucets with adjustable aerators for leaks. After removing the aerator, take care not to lose or misplace the rubber washer that forms a seal between it and the spout.
Well, there you have it. Other than specific things like cleaning your house and keeping your yard free from dead trees, planting roses, these are some of the ideal high ROI home innovations that will require big money to get started but can save lots of money once they’re up and running. Some of them are just fun to do for their own sake, while others are life-changing in terms of being able to retire early or otherwise enjoy your life more.