Energy is becoming increasingly more expensive and even unaffordable to many Americans. In fact, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the cost of heating oil is expected to be 45% higher than prices last winter. Natural gas and electricity are also expected to cost up to 25% and 11% more. For current and new homeowners alike, this means actively finding ways to cut down fuel and electricity usage during this energy crisis. Here, we share how experts recommend house hunters search for a home that will help cut down on energy costs.
Location is a crucial part of any home search but considering your daily commute matters now more than ever. According to real estate expert Richard Harless, “The location of your new home should be close to your work to make sure you don’t spend a fortune on gas alone – something a lot of people tend to compromise on during their search for a house.” In addition to considering your career commute, you should also map out all the places you plan to go to carry out daily activities. This includes schools, grocery stores, doctors’ offices, and parks. You may even decide to opt for a city district that allows you to be within walking distance of important locations. The closer you are to these necessities, the more you can cut down on fuel costs.
Once you decide on a location and start to look at individual homes, experts recommend you find out the fuel sources and compare them to neighboring homes. It is important to make sure your desired home’s heating source is consistent with the rest of the neighborhood to ensure ease of maintenance. According to Doug Greene, owner of Signature Properties, “Buying a new home that relies on some unique or different heating method means more difficulty in getting it serviced, finding fuel providers, and future maintenance.” You may also find it helpful to ask your future neighbors or consult online neighborhood forums to determine their recommendations for heating.
In addition to inquiring about the heating source, you should also consider how well the home is insulated. Not only should you check out the insulation in the walls, but you should also pay careful attention to the ceiling and the attic. Since heat rises, you want these locations to be airtight to avoid heat escaping from the roof. A thorough inspection will provide details about the home’s insulation status using thermal imaging devices.
While appliances are not the dealbreaker for purchasing a home, no homeowner wants to spend the extra money to replace them upon moving in. If the home you are interested in is sold with the appliances, make sure you inspect them to determine if they are energy efficient. If the fridge, stove, washer, and dryer are all outdated, chances are they will add more dollars to your monthly electricity bill. In addition to the small appliances, check that the furnaces and water heaters are at least 95% energy efficient; it is ideal to have PVC pipe for exhaust, over dated aluminum ductwork.
Good location, proper insulation, and updated appliances are all effective ways to cut down on energy usage and costs, however, there is one more way to make sure your new home is efficient. Experts recommend looking for homes with more than one working energy source. This will allow you to have more reliable energy and the flexibility to switch sources depending on availability and affordability. For example, a home that has electric, gas, solar, and/or a wood stove will allow you to control what type of energy you will use and when.
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