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Top Tips for Lowering Winter Heating Bills

HVAC Improvements Can Add Value to Your Home

One reason that homeowners tend to conceptualize their home as an investment is that most people don’t stay in the same house their entire lives. Most first time home buyers eventually become repeat homebuyers. For many different reasons, people eventually move, whether it’s due to a job or family reasons or just to experience a different life. That means that when one is taking care of one’s home, you’re not just doing it for your current benefit, you’re also doing it so that when it does come time to sell, you can get the most out of it.

So it stands to reason that anything you can do to your house to improve it that simultaneously makes it nicer for yourself, lowers your bills, and increases the value of the home is going to be a win-win. Upgrades to your HVAC systems can definitely fall under this category. In this tip we’ll look at some of the best Austin heating, ventilation and air conditioning improvements for upping the value of a home and making it more attractive to buyers.

AC and Furnace Replacement

First, let’s go over the biggest over haul in the HVAC system that you can do and its potential to add value to your home. This is regarding a complete replacement of your air conditioner and/or furnace. What can this do for you now, in the next few years, and when you’re looking to sell your home?

Well, first of all, if your current air conditioner or furnace is old and on its way out, replacing it is a no brainer. Holding on to an old HVAC unit past its shelf life will bring you nothing but discomfort, frustration, and costs. Old units tend to break down and need repair more often and they run less efficiently with every passing year, meaning you’re going to be feeling it in your energy bills. When home shoppers are looking for a home they expect the furnace and air conditioner to be in fine condition, so if yours are in need of replacement then there’s no question here, get to replacing as soon as possible.

But what about the grey area where a replacement could be made and you could upgrade to a higher quality, more efficient model but you don’t absolutely have to? Well, there are mixed opinions on how much this will benefit you when it comes time to sell. But you have to look at the whole picture. Ultimately, the amount that a unit upgrade is going to benefit you in the long run will depend on how old your current system is, the difference in efficiency between the old and the potential new unit, how long you plan on staying in your current home, and whether or not you market this increase in energy savings properly.

Going from a non-Energy Star rated system to an Energy Star rated system can add a significant boost of value to your home especially when it comes to buyers who value home energy efficiency. Buyers are quite selective about homes they will consider. The state of your HVAC equipment has the potential to make homeowners back away from bidding on your home, or rush to get in their offer before someone else does.

Whenever you think about an upgrade for your home, you should balance your own wants and needs with an understanding of what future buyers may think of it. This is especially true if you plan to sell your home anytime in the next five years. For instance, you might need more space as your family grows. Whether you’re planning on staying in your home for a while but your system is outdated, or you’re planning to sell in the next couple of years, it makes sense to evaluate your HVAC system to determine if its condition will depreciate your home value in the long run.

There are arguments against the potential for a new furnace or air conditioner to bring more value to your home as well. Many homebuyers expect these systems to be in good working order and will not pay extra just because you recently installed a new heater. Also the fact that these things are tucked away and unseen doesn’t help it out either. Out of sight home improvements don’t tend to have the greatest overall effect on home impressions. So consider carefully before deciding whether or not an HVAC unit upgrade is the right choice for you.

Insulation Improvements

Insulation is an essential factor in a home’s value. That’s because good insulation can mean the difference between an uncomfortable house the bleeds money and a cozy house that is easy to heat and cool and wastes as little energy as possible. Insulation has been proven time and time again to be both a great investment for your current enjoyment and satisfaction with your home and its overall value.

The attic is a good place to start when doing insulation improvements because most of the heat that escapes a house does so through there. It only makes sense as heat rises and the attic is the barrier between the house and the roof. Improving attic insulation is a two-step process. In the first step, a professional remodeler air-seals an attic floor in order to address any air leakage from conditioned spaces to unconditioned spaces. They then add fiberglass loose-fill insulation, placing it on top of existing insulation if present, until an R-30 insulation value is reached.

R-value is a measure of insulation’s ability to resist heat traveling through it, with higher values representing better thermal performance. Higher levels of insulation are likely to involve a slightly lower return on investment, but purely from the perspective of real estate valuation. A 2015 NAR survey examined the cost recouped from a project upgrading from R-13 to R-48 across the country and found a 95-percent return. However, higher levels of insulation are also likely to yield greater energy savings, and therefore expense savings, for homeowners.

The attic itself isn’t where improvements end though. Anything you can do to improve the insulation of your home is going to benefit you now in energy savings and benefit you later in home value. An energy efficient home is an attractive home, more so each year as efficiency becomes more and more desirable. New roofing, doors, and siding, and the insulation and sealing associated with those improvements, can have significant impacts on the operational costs of a home. These impacts are particularly robust in a package of measures. Home owners that retrofit the envelope first can reduce the size of the furnace needed, thereby saving on the cost of new furnaces. Envelope measures tend to have longer paybacks than attic insulation, with recouped values of 75 to 83 percent depending on the project.

A Programmable Thermostat

It may seem like a new thermostat is a small improvement compared to insulation over haul or an HVAC unit replacement. But the bottom line is sometimes the things that can make the biggest difference when it actually comes time to sell a home are the things that catch the eye. A high tech new thermostat can be one of those things. Combine that with the fact that a programmable thermostat is one of the best upgrades you can make to a house in terms of cost versus savings and you’ve got a winning combination.

Programmable thermostats are electronic controllers for the HVAC system. Whereas older thermostats were little more than on/off switches for the furnace or air conditioner, programmable models give you a wide range of control over the function of your HVAC equipment. Use the thermostat's pre-programmed set points to reduce HVAC system operation when it's not needed, such as when you and your family are gone during the day, or at night when everyone is comfortably in bed. Avoid using manual temperature overrides whenever possible. Programmable thermostats are relatively easy to install for a do-it-yourself type of homeowner.

How much you’ll save with a programmable thermostat will depend on the size of the house, how you set the thermostat, and how long you’ll be in your house for. But usually people recoup the cost of the thermostat within a few years. And then you have to consider that a programmable thermostat is going to look great when showing your home in a viewing. It’s a visual indicator that says to a potential buyer that this is a home that the owner has made an effort to make particularly modern and energy efficient. For those who are interested in smart house features, this can be a very attractive plus.

HVAC Improvements and Heating Repair in Austin

For those who like to think in the long-term, the fact that improvements to one’s heating, cooling and ventilation can also add value to a home when it comes time sell, regardless of how far down the road that is, can be another pro weighing on the decision of whether those improvements are worth the time and money. Anything from a complete system overhaul to simple smart device additions like a programmable thermostat can make the difference when it comes time to sell. An energy efficient home is often stated as one of the most attractive features a home can have to new home buyers. Add this to the fact that any improvements you make are going to be enjoyed by yourself and your family in the meantime and the reasons to upgrade and improve are plentiful.

Also don’t forget that smaller things like keeping up with heater maintenance still remain important. If you haven’t had your heater checked up on in the past year it is definitely time to do so. Winter has officially begun which means your heater is going to need a little attention if you want to limit the chances of needing heater repair in Austin in the future. And if you do ever find yourself in need of Austin heater repair don’t hesitate to call AC Express. We operate all throughout the Austin area, from Cedar Park and Georgetown to Lago Vista and Taylor. For the same day heater repair, call today!


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