Top 2022 Home Improvements Seniors Should Invest In
Homeowners are always looking for ways to decrease bills while maintaining the comfort of their home. But if you’re on a retirement budget, figuring out the best places to spend in order to save may feel even more crucial. From bigger remodels to smaller purchases, here are our top three home improvements for seniors – and one project you should consider applying those savings toward in order to stay in your home for years to come.
Solar panels are mounted on a roof or garage. The panels are designed to convert sunlight into energy without any moving parts or waste. They can increase home values while decreasing monthly energy costs. According to an analysis by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), costs to install solar panels have steadily decreased over time. Data suggests that the average U.S. household can break even on a solar energy system in about 8 years.
In addition to monthly energy bill savings, an added perk is receiving energy efficient property tax credits. Be aware: though you could get a credit up to 30 percent of the cost of the qualified product (including installation) through 2019, in 2022, it’s dropped to 26 percent. In 2023, it’ll be 22 percent, and after that, this credit will be gone. If this is a project you’re seriously considering, you may want to factor those tax rebates into your timeline.
Whether it’s January in windy Chicago or July in humid Houston, windows that are old, warped, or improperly installed can be a detriment to reliable indoor climate control. There are several options to consider when improving your windows. Frame material – like vinyl or fiberglass – and pane spacers can reduce temperature transfer and prevent condensation. A triple pane window is designed to insulate against outside temperature and noise, and gas fills can be used between panes to further insulate. You can even look for windows with low-e glass, which is a special glass coating applied to reflect infrared and ultraviolet light.
In terms of savings, you’ll see the most benefit if you’re replacing single pane windows with double or triple pane windows. However, even upgrading your frame material or going up to a triple pane will still save you money on energy every month, just at a more modest scale; if that’s your scenario, keep in mind that the bigger pay-off for you may be having your home at a consistently pleasant temperature without having to run your thermostat as often.
If you’re looking to add not just energy efficiency to your home, but convenience, too, you can also check out automatic window shades. Designed to automatically open or close at high-temperature periods, these automatic shades buffer temperature extremes during the day, making it another great (and less expensive) home improvement for seniors.
Smart Home Devices
Whether it’s the smart light bulb in your front porch lamp helpfully turning itself off and on at scheduled times or a robotic vacuum constantly cleaning your floors, it’s easy to see why home automation systems have become so popular over the last several years. Thanks to devices like Amazon’s Echo (Alexa) and Google Home, seniors now have ways to easily manage home functions like never before. As voice-activated smart speakers, these multi-command devices serve as effortless helpers around the house. But can they actually help you save money?
With the right smart home pairings, yes, they can. Wi-Fi enabled digital thermostats can be programmed to reduce unnecessary temperature cycles when no one is home. This easy home solution reduces energy consumption with minimal expense or hassle. When paired with an Amazon Echo or a Google Home device, this can be a helpful tool for a senior who is less mobile or whose vision might make seeing small numbers on a thermostat difficult. A simple audible command such as, “Alexa, increase the temperature to 74,” will activate the temperature change. Thermostat changes can also be made from a mobile phone app.
Thermostat efficiency is not the only benefit of using one of these smart speaker devices. You can make and receive calls, turn off/on fans and lights, set multiple timers and alarm reminders, and hear news and weather updates.
The Home Improvement for Seniors to Save For: Walk-in Tubs
Starting to see savings every month on your utility bill savings? Consider re-investing that money in a walk-in tub. It’s a home improvement that will allow you to stay in your house for as long as you want. Plus, you’ll be able to relax knowing you have a fund to keep your home accessible throughout your golden years. If you need a walk-in tub sooner rather than later, we can help. You can also check if you qualify for a home repair loan/grant that can help cover the costs.
These green and innovative home improvements are a smart way to start off your new year right.
This guest post was provided by Yvonne M Feltman at Senior Advice.