Benefits of an Energy Efficient Home
Aside from lowering your mortgage rate, another great way you can save on your monthly housing expenses is by making your home more energy efficient. Improving your home’s energy efficiency can reduce your utility bills while increasing your home’s value and desirability. On top of those perks, reducing your home’s energy waste is also beneficial to the environment. To help you maximize your home’s energy-saving potential, check out these tips below.
When researching energy-saving tips for your home, you will find that many energy-saving tasks can be tackled by novice homeowners. One of the easiest tasks is changing your furnace and HVAC filter monthly. Other energy-saving projects most homeowners can do themselves include insulating water pipes and hot water heaters and sealing air leaks, which can occur around windows, doors, ductwork and even electrical sockets. Another DIY task that helps your energy consumption and saves you money is converting your home’s light bulbs to LED lights, which last longer and consume less energy than incandescent bulbs. For more seasonal energy savings tips, click here for winter tips and click here for summer tips.
Learn about “Peak Hours”
Peak hours are the times in your market when energy demand is at its highest. Consequently, many electric companies will charge a higher rate per kWh (kilowatt-hour) during peak hours in the summer and winter seasons. To maximize your energy savings and minimize your costs, try to reduce—or avoid—using appliances that draw the most energy during peak times. The biggest consumers of energy are HVAC systems, water heaters, ovens and dryers. By using programmable thermostats or being mindful of when you do laundry or use hot water, you can avoid those peak hour rate charges and reduce your monthly utility bills.
Tackling the Big Ticket Items
Whether buying a new home or renovating a current home, some energy-saving improvements, such as new doors and windows, may require additional funds and knowledge, but they can provide a return on investment in the form of energy savings and reduced power bills over time. Here are a couple financing options to help you tackle the bigger changes:
- Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) – A HELOC is a revolving line of credit you can access based on the equity you have in your home. HELOCs typically offer fewer fees than a cash-out refinance, and the interest rates are cheaper than those of credit cards. Similar to a credit card, you only pay interest on the amount of credit you use. HELOCs are an ideal option for those who desire a lower cost method to access extra funds for projects without altering their current mortgage payment and terms. Learn more about HELOCs.
- Cash-Out Refinance – A cash-out refinance allows you to pull a lump sum of cash from the available equity in your home while renegotiating the rate and terms of your current mortgage. This may be a good option if you want one fixed monthly mortgage expense that can be spread out over a longer period.
- Renovation Loans – Many people think renovation loans are only for buyers who may need to do major renovation work to their home. However, they can be quite effective for small projects such as energy improvements. Learn more about renovation loans.
For more mortgage options to assist with home improvements, contact your local Ameris Bank mortgage banker today.
By: Marlene Sheard
Marlene is a mortgage marketing representative for Ameris Bank and previous sales and marketing president for her local Home Builders Association. She enjoys sharing her experiences for the buying, selling, and financing of homes.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. All loans subject to credit approval. This document is not a complete description of all eligibility requirements. Additional program restrictions may apply.