Energy Efficient Home Upgrades + Home Equity Loan = Savings!

Energy efficient home updates with a home equity loan
Save money with home updates.

Here in Wisconsin, no one wants to take out a home equity loan to pay their energy bill so its time to think about energy efficient home upgrades as the leaves are falling and the temperatures follow suit.

Just as temperatures in Dane County can reach extremely low levels in winter, they can get extremely high in summer, as you know. If you’re interested in keeping your home’s energy bills down (and honestly, who isn’t?) when the temperatures shift from one season to the next, here are five ways to help you save money.

Heating and Cooling Units

Maintaining your air conditioner for the summer and furnace for the winter are probably the best ways to ensure your house runs most efficiently and at optimal temperatures. Changing air filters before and after a new season is a must for your furnace unit to clear out all the built-up dust. Compared to a clean filter, a dirty one can prohibit air from through the system, thus forcing it to work harder. Changing filters only takes minutes and will help your systems run optimally.

Cleaning out the air vents and ducts also helps air flow through your home more efficiently. As gunk builds up in your air filters throughout the year, it overflows into your vents. Clean vents and ducts allow more, cleaner air to come through.

Upgrade Your Thermostat

If you reside in an older home, chances are your thermostat is outdated. By upgrading to a programmable thermostat—or better yet, a smart thermostat—you can shave up to 15% off of your energy bill. For a programmable thermostat, all you have to do is set your thermostat to rest at high temperatures throughout a warm day and cooler temps during winter days when you’re not at home. Smart thermostats, on the other hand, actually adapt to your patterns—no programming necessary!

Home Equity Loan or Line of Credit for New Windows

Insulating windows is a must during a Madison winter. But just as windows can keep the heat in during winter, they can also help keep summer’s heat out. Think about adding a second pane to your single-pane windows: The second pane not only better reflects sunlight, but it also serves as another layer of insulation.

The cost of replacing your home’s windows can be steep but it’s a worthy investment. A home equity loan or line of credit is a smart and helpful way to cover the expense.

Keeping your blinds or drapes closed during a summer day is one of the easiest energy efficient fixes for a home. By keeping your shades drawn, you’re simply keeping the sun’s heat out. If you’re interested in going a step further, you can even put solar screens on your windows. Solar screens keep the heat from transferring through your windows while still allowing you to see out of them. Now that’s efficient!

If you prefer the earth’s air to air conditioning, be sure to repair your window screens. Allowing cool breezes to enter your home is great, but letting bugs in is not.

Never Underestimate the Power of a Ceiling Fan

Since we’re already discussing alternative-to-A/C options, we might as well talk about ceiling fans. If it’s a cooler summer night—or you just prefer to not use air conditioning—why not turn on a ceiling fan or two? Ceiling fans push down cold air and propel hot air upwards, making any room feel cooler than it may actually be. As you might have guessed, they use much less energy than air conditioners, and even though they cost $150 on the low end, they’ll save you a lot of money in the long run.

Light Bulbs

The easiest way to save money on your energy bill is to simply replace your home’s light bulbs. Fluorescent and incandescent bulbs both give off heat, and by replacing them with LED alternatives, your home will instantly feel cooler and you’ll be saving on energy costs. Not only do LED bulbs give off less heat than their outdated alternatives, but they shine just as brightly. Just like all repairs listed here, LED bulbs may cost more upfront, but they’ll pay back their worth in monthly savings.

Most of the tips listed here will help your home run more efficiently year round and help you save money. Any quick home fixes are always worth it in the long run, no matter the season; the more you save on your energy bill, the more you have to put towards the things that truly matter to you.


Published by

Tom S.

Tom is a 2006 graduate of UW Madison, currently residing in Verona with his wife and 2 girls. He has been passionate about writing ever since he was 15 years old, and displays that same enthusiasm in his work today. When he’s not sharing insightful financial wisdom, you can find Tom chilling on the Union Terrace, enjoying craft beer at the Great Dane, or hiking at Governor Nelson State Park. In the Fall he loves to take his family to Badger Football games!