Wedding, down; House to go.
Now that the wedding celebration and honeymoon are over, a lot of newlyweds can begin thinking of their next major life event, purchasing a home. With interest rates at an all-time low, now is a great time to buy. But once you make that investment and have the keys to your little piece of the property ladder, the work and due diligence doesn’t end. As tempting as it may seem, resist the urge to call a contractor right away and start renovating. Before heading down the renovation road and spending lots of hard earned money, make sure you’re spending those limited dollars to get the biggest bang for your buck. In order to do that, it’s important to first understand how your new home functions. Here are some home energy saving tips that will not only save you money, but also a lot of unnecessary aggravation:
- Live in your new home for one cycle of all the seasons. (Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall) This is the best way to gauge your new space and to figure out what you can live with, and what needs to change ASAP! (I.e. you realize that your den is significantly colder than the rest of the house in the Winter and you can’t watch tv without your fingers and toes turning blue.)
- Schedule a home energy audit in the Fall or Winter. It’s important to have the audit done during this time of year in order for the auditors to accurately detail any actual loss of energy. (Diagnostic tests such as blower door tests and infrared imaging can only be done during the Fall and Winter) If you’re feeling a bit house poor, don’t worry. Call your local utility to find out how to schedule a FREE energy audit, or go to www.360Chestnut.com. Most states have programs with their local utility companies at no cost to the homeowner. The energy audit will help pinpoint areas for weatherization improvements and energy efficiency upgrades, and will also advise on the numerous rebate programs and state and federal tax credits available.
- Take advantage of the many rebates and heat loan programs available in your region. (For a list of rebates and tax credits in your state, go to: www.360Chestnut.com) For example, if you live in Massachusetts and have an energy audit performed on your home, you may be eligible for heat loan of up to $25,000 with 0% interest for 7 years. If as part of your audit you determined that it would be cheaper to convert from oil to gas, the heat loan would be a wonderful financing mechanism. (and cheaper than your monthly oil bill too!)
So while you’re basking in your newlywed bliss, don’t let problems from your new home be a distraction. By following the simple tips above, and getting informed BEFORE you invest a large amount of time and money, you will be able to make better decisions. That’s something you can live with for a very long time.
A Boston native, Lauren was a telecommunications professional in a former life. She has lived in exotic locations like Washington, DC, Greensboro, NC and until very recently, San Francisco, CA. While living in SF, arguably the “greenest” city in the US, she adopted the philosophy of trying to keep her carbon foot print as low as possible. She’s a big fan of recycling & composting, farmers markets, supporting local industry, public transportation and walking!!! As a recent career-changer, she is inspired by the world of sustainability and energy efficiency and can’t wait to share her thoughts via the 360Chestnut blog, as well as her twitter account @envirolauren. One piece of trivia, Lauren helped open a sustainable taqueria while in SF and has some killer taco recipes.
Disclosure: Compensation was received for this post.