One piece of advice we encounter frequently throughout our lives? Small things add up. This is absolutely true when it comes to home improvement and saving money. The reality is that even seemingly minor home upgrades and DIY projects can lower your monthly costs, keep your overall expenses low, and pay for themselves in the form of energy savings over time.
Looking to put this advice into action? Start with these five easy yet effective home fixes.
Related: Six Strategies for Creating an Energy Efficient Home in Florida
Install a Smart Sprinkler System
Want to keep costs low while also doing your part for the planet? Installing a smart sprinkler system is a win-win. The equivalent of a smart thermostat for your backyard or garden, these intelligent devices automatically adjust to weather conditions in real-time so you don’t have to. They’re also remarkably accurate.
A recent New York Times roundup identified the Rachio 3, RainMachine Touch HD, and Orbit B-hyve XR as its picks for the best smart sprinkler controllers.
Whether you’re looking for user-friendliness, versatility, or more control, choosing the right smart sprinkler system can help you conserve several of life’s most precious commodities: money, water, and time.
Related: Lower Your Utility Bill with These Four Energy-Saving Secrets
Upgrade to a Tankless Water Heater
Upgrading to a tankless water heater may come with a steep price tag, but like all the fixes on this list, it pays for itself over the long run.
There’s a reason—well, several of them—why so many homeowners are making the switch from traditional hot water heaters to tankless systems. These include increased energy efficiency (and the lower monthly bills that go along with it), on-demand heating, and a space-maximizing compact size.
Featuring our Sentinel Single Hung Window 110.
Invest in Energy-Efficient Windows
Old, drafty windows don’t just make your home less comfortable; they also wreak havoc on your monthly utility bills. Enter impact-resistant and energy-efficient windows, which offer increased insulation that helps you create a pleasant living space without concern of high heating or cooling costs. In addition to dual-pane and/or laminated glass, low-e glass coatings, proper window installation, and window frame construction all factor into the efficiency equation.
While the specifics of your savings will vary depending on the brand, frame, and window type, homeowners save approximately 12 percent on their total utility costs annually with energy-efficient windows. This number can soar even higher with some homeowners trimming as much as 31 percent off their heating and cooling costs—as much as $465 a year!
Other benefits of impact windows can include access to tax credits, enhanced quiet and comfort, storm protection, and increased home property value.
Related: 5 Home Remodel Projects that Return the Most Value
While xeriscaping has been a common practice in dry regions of the U.S., it’s growing in popularity all over due to its financial and environmental benefits.
National Geographic defines xeriscaping as “the practice of designing landscapes to reduce or eliminate the need for irrigation.” More specifically, this means incorporating vegetation that’s appropriate for your climate—for example, replacing grass lawns with drought-tolerant native plants, as well as soil, rocks, and mulch.
How much can you save with xeriscaping? It has the potential to reduce your water usage—and your monthly water bills—by as much as 50 to 75 percent.
Give Low-Flow a Go
Low-flow faucets, showers, and toilets get a bad rap. However, we’ve come a long way since the days when low-flow automatically meant lost water pressure. Thanks to modern technology, many low-flow water accessories can create the exact same water pressure as less efficient models.
Take the High Sierra 1.5 GPM High-Efficiency Low Flow Showerhead, for example. After testing hundreds of showers, the New York Times’s Wirecutter recently included the High Sierra in its ranking of best showerheads—ahead of many traditional options. “[It] is a low-flow model that feels luxurious. It’s the most powerful low-flow showerhead we tested, spraying heavy, drenching droplets that felt more powerful than the 2.5-gpm settings on some other showerheads. We also appreciated its sturdy, all-metal construction,” raves the review.
The takeaway? Low-flow fixtures can be a win-win-win in the form of environmental benefits, reduced energy bills, and luxurious showers.
If paying less every month to be kinder to the planet (with no sacrifice of ease or comfort) sounds like a good plan to you, these five small changes are a great place to start—even if you’re working with a low budget.