Hopefully, living in a charming old house gives you a warm feeling inside, because those cold winter winds rattling through it certainly won't. Fortunately, there are a variety of updates you can make to your home that will add some modern comfort and efficiency while keeping that old-house charm.
Switch to LED lighting
The fastest way to brighten your home and your energy budget is to switch to LED lighting. LEDs use far less energy than conventional bulbs and they last much longer.
LEDs also produce vivid lighting in a variety of color tones. Inside, they will help make your old space look new again. Outside, LEDs will help show off your showplace and make you feel safer. Purchase ENERGY STAR®-certified bulbs. ENERGY STAR products are independently tested to provide efficient performance.
Older homes are often poorly insulated, or not insulated at all. Check your attic. Make sure it is properly insulated according to recommended levels for your climate zone.
Walls are trickier. Hire a qualified insulation contractor to check wall insulation. If insulation is needed, one option is to have it blown in through holes drilled into your walls. Check with your contractor about insulation options for your home.
Weatherize doors and windows
Check windows and exterior doors for gaps that may be letting conditioned air escape. Seal any you find with caulk or weatherstripping.
Older windows and doors may have the right look, but they can cause significant energy loss. By carefully selecting new, high-performance windows and doors, you can maintain that old-fashioned look and feel of your home, while improving efficiency and comfort. Make sure to select ENERGY STAR-certified windows and doors.
Upgrade heating and cooling
If your older home includes an aging HVAC system, maybe it's time to upgrade to an ENERGY STAR-certified furnace or heat pump. Air-source heat pumps provide super-efficient, year-round heating and cooling.
If your home has little or no ductwork, a ductless mini-split heat pump may be the answer. Mini splits have an outdoor heat pump connected to multiple indoor units to heat or cool, and some units even allow both at the same time for different temperatures in multiple rooms. No ductwork required.
With smart home technology, you can teach your old house new tricks. The latest smart thermostats provide advanced features, such as remote control and self-programming. Smart plugs automatically shut off power to electronic devices when they're not in use. These and other advanced technologies make saving energy easier and more convenient than ever before.
With these upgrades, you can enjoy your home's antiquated style while leaving those high energy bills in the past.