Living in an old house has its share of pros—you get to enjoy living in a home rich with history, sturdy in composition, and built during a time where everything from the electric wiring to fireplace ventilation were built to stand the test of time. However, old homes can carry a sizable number of cons as well!
Odds are, your older home will feature a number of outmoded technological facets, from less efficient heating systems to more demanding electrical systems. Some of these aspects may have even already come to your attention, after receiving abnormally high utility bills during months of mostly mild weather.
Beyond the arena of minor annoyance, however, these relics of ancient home utility technology are most likely also causing undue damage to the environment over time (and wasting a noticeable amount of unneeded resources). But is it possible to teach an old house new tricks?
Updating Light Fixtures
One of the quickest and easiest ways to bring your home up to speed will be to inspect any light fixtures actively in use and assess how old they are. If they’re more than half your age or older, there’s a decent chance they may be using an unnecessary amount of energy.
If you fancy an older chandelier, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to bring its inner workings up to date with a bit of smart DIY know-how. This can even provide a good opportunity to perfect the look of antique fixtures that sold you on the home to begin with, such as applying a careful coat of paint to give a bit of 20th century brass a more deliberate, rustic appearance.
In many cases, you may even be surprised to find that light bulbs from long ago have remained in use for the long haul—replacing any of these vintage bulbs with fluorescent equivalents will provide your home with a better light source at substantially less cost.
Windows and Panes
A notorious sapper of heating and cooling efforts, older window (and door) fixtures can often fly under a homeowner’s radar as a source of upped utility costs. Don’t underestimate the negative influence of rudimentary window panes—an older window installation can steal so much warm air from a home during the winter that it feels like an air condition when you stand near it.
Believe it or not, poor window installations account for a notable 25 percent of annual heating and cooling costs for the average home. Window pros will generally recommend that you bring older windows up to speed by replacing them with double-paned windows or the like—modern window installations feature everything from more sufficient insulation to improved noise cancellation.
Roof, Floors and More
Your roof will account for a great deal of insulation and energy conservation throughout your home, so it goes without saying that an older roof can prove less efficient in this regard for a number of reasons. Many opt for metal roofing when renovating their exterior, as it can provide an effective solution for reflecting heat/cool during harsh months(as opposed to absorbing outdoor temps).
Additionally, your choice of flooring can affect everything from insulation to conservation. Eco-friendly alternatives to conventional hardwood can provide equally sturdy and warm quality, at a fraction of the cost, both to your wallet and the environment. If hoping to renovate a room adorned in cringe-worthy shag carpet, be on the lookout for environmentally conscious materials like corkboard.
Heavy duty appliances like water heaters and washer/dryers will often give rise to major utility expenses as well—more sophisticated solutions can go for a bit more on the front end, but can often cut your long-term energy costs anywhere from 50 to 80 percent.