Top 15 Green Home Improvements: Costs in 2021 – Home Energy Efficiency

All major home remodeling efforts demand careful consideration and planning. When tackling an energy efficient home upgrade, that task can truly expand exponentially. It is imperative that you utilize a whole-house system approach to the project to wring the most value from your efforts.

Did you know? Home Energy savings realized in one segment of your property can easily be gobbled up by neglecting to pay attention to other energy-sapping culprits — With that in mind let’s look at some of the popular energy-saving home improvement projects and take a stab at evaluating their value…

1. Smart Home Energy Audit

energy-audit-thermal-image via Henges Insulation

Your first step is to engage a professional energy audit of your house ($300-$500 by a trained energy expert although you may be able to wrangle one for less – or even free – from your local utility eager to reduce its power burden). This will factor into your home remodel plans such vital actors as site conditions, your local climate, your home’s micro-climate, the state of your current heating and cooling environment versus your required needs and so on.

Hey, this is already 2021, so much of this work can be accomplished by a computer simulation! When complete, you will not only have specific goals for the reduced utility and home maintenance costs, but also ideas for a healthier and safer interior living environment that will increase the physical comfort, energy efficiency, and dampen noise levels. A professional home energy audit should also include any local state incentives and tax breaks you are in line to receive for embarking on energy-saving projects.

A typical home energy audit will uncover opportunities to improve energy efficiency and comfort of your home by sealing the air leaks and drafts and upgrading the level of insulation in critical areas such as crawl spaces, wall cavities, and attic where there might be thermal energy loss due to inadequate insulation.

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How to Winterize Your Home: Top 10 Home Weatherization Updates to Do Before Winter

Before frigid winter temperatures arrive in your neighborhood, take the time to prepare your home for the unexpected. Even if you live in a moderate climate zone, where low temperatures are rare, winterizing your home can improve its durability, energy efficiency, and help prevent common and costly winter emergencies such as burst pipes and flooding inside your home or basement.

Home Weatherization in a Nutshell:

Winterizing your house is all about sealing and eliminating unwanted air drafts, ensuring adequate insulation and ventilation to prevent energy losses and ice dams related issues, checking roof and gutters, insulating exposed pipes, sealing air-ducts, checking water heaters and furnaces, and boosting your home’s energy efficiency.

Below are the main items to address to make sure your home is properly protected, cozy, and warm, even when the weather outside is frigid and frightful:

1. Roof Inspection and Maintenance

Common Roof and Home Exterior Inspection Areas. 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

An inspection of your roof (and gutters) should be an annual job. While this is a doable DIY job, knowing what to look for is vital:

  • Moss and Algae Growth
  • Loose, Missing or Damaged Shingles or Tiles
  • Major Cracks in Roof Shingles or Tiles
  • A Large Portion of Curled-up Shingles
  • Flat Roof Seams Coming Apart or Becoming Unglued
  • Damaged or Improper Chimney Flashing, Skylight, Roof Vent and Pipe Flashing
  • Dips and Swales in Roof Surface
  • Roof Ventilation Issues
  • Evidence of Roof Leaks – Water Stains Around Walls and Ceilings – Wet Insulation in the Attic

Roof Inspection Cost: A professional roofing contractor may charge between $150 to $250 for an inspection, depending on several factors. Most of the time, the cost of a roof inspection can be counted towards the price of a roof repair or getting a new roof.

Note: you should be getting a written report outlining roof performance issues for a stand-alone inspection.

Caveat on Roof Inspections: If you end-up having to ask a professional roofer to climb on your roof after the cold, icy weather has set in, expect the cost of the inspection to go up.

Post-Inspection Maintenance and Repairs:

A roof inspection will determine the need for a roof cleaning, especially if moss build up is normal in your region. If the inspection report shows that some maintenance or repairs are necessary, the costs will vary depending on the extent of repairs:

Minor Repairs: $250 to $450 for minor repairs, which is where a roof cleaning job fits in.

Moderate repairs can cost in the range of $1,000 and typically include fixing or replacing any loose or missing shingles and tiles and sealing and re-flashing chimneys and skylights on the roof.

Major repairs are generally large sections of the roof needing extra attention and may cost as much as $3,000 or higher. Beyond this, and it’s time to consider re-roofing or replacement.

More info on roof repairs: https://www.roofingcalc.com/roof-repair-cost/

Complete re-roof or replacement may be required if a large portion of the roof has old or damaged shingles. A new roof provides opportunity to increase the lasting value of your home. A new roof can also be an insurance against unwanted roof leaks, house water damage, and a very costly roof failure, especially in the middle of winter.

Cost Recouped: A typical roof replacement has an average cost-to-value return (cost recouped at the time of sale) of about 70%. A metal roof has an average cost-to-value return of about 85.9% in the mid-range pricing range.


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How to Prevent Ice Dams on the Roof

Winter season brings us heavy snowstorms, low temperatures, and ice dams. Are you one of the many homeowners who must worry about the unsightly ice dams and icicles hanging down from the eaves of the roof and causing damage to the roof, gutters, and your home this winter?

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Why Ice Dams are Dangerous

The major issue with ice dams on the roof, is that they trap the melting water running down from the top of the roof, and thereby cause it (the melted water) to rise up underneath the roofing shingles, and eventually seep through the boards and walls inside our homes.

ice-dam-formation

What causes Ice Dams?

The heat from inside the house rises up into the attic space where it continues to rise reaching the apex of the roof. The warm air warms up the top of the roof, which causes the snow accumulated on top of the roof to melt. The melted snow turns into water that starts running down the roof surface underneath the snowpack. When the water reaches the colder edges at the bottom of the roof, it refreezes forming a wall of ice. This wall of ice is commonly referred to as an ice dam, because it traps the melting water like a dam.

Common Misconceptions:

Although, ice dams can sometimes reach the gutters, they do not form in the gutters, but rather they form at the eaves of the roof. If you can get your attic-space air temperature to stay at 30° F, or lower (during heavy snow fall accompanied by low temperatures), then you should be able to eliminate ice dams from happening in the first place.

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