For homeowners, they’re necessary nuisances. There are many large appliances in your home that can break at any time. There are also many parts of your house that could use an upgrade, but don’t necessarily need them at the time. Usually we put off these expenses until the last minute. But that might not be the best strategy.
There are instances when upgrading before it’s necessary will work out in your favor. Here are four such instances. Get ready to open your wallet now for savings later.
1. New windows
No one wants to replace their windows until it’s completely necessary. Not only are the windows themselves expensive — especially if you have a bay window — but chances are you can’t install them yourself. That means paying someone, and any specialty labor costs plenty. So why go out of your way to pay for this kind of upgrade?
Sure, you might pay hundreds of dollars to put in new windows, but that investment will pay you back every month. Old windows are notorious for letting hot air out and cold air in during winter months (and the opposite during the summer). It might take a couple years to recoup your money, but there’s no doubt that you’ll make it back in savings on your heating and cooling bills.
2. Backup sump pump
If your house has a basement, you know the importance of a sump pump. It’s a little guy that pumps water away from your house. It is integral to avoiding a basement flood. Yet sump pumps, like any other household appliance, can break. Worse, sometimes it breaks and you don’t know it. Then you get a bad rainstorm and your basement floods. So what do you do?
If you have a backup sump pump, you can get it installed and stanch the flow of water into your basement. It will still take an effort to bail it all out, but at least you’ll have a pump working on your side. If you don’t have a backup that means taking a drive to the hardware store where you just hope they have one in stock. All that time, your basement continues to flood. Having a backup might cost a few hundred, but it can repay you a thousand times with the damage it helps avoid.
3. Tankless water heater
Here’s a fact that many homeowners know from first-hand experience: your hot water heater is only expected to lost a decade at the longest. Some last even less than that. They’re not exactly cheap to replace, either, and the cheaper you go the less life you’re likely to get from it. Worse, it uses a ton of energy. Just think about how much it takes to keep that tank warm constantly.
A tankless electric water heater can save you money in three ways. First, they can run cheaper than comparable tank water heaters. Second, they use less energy, since they don’t need to heat an entire tank of water. Instead they heat the water on-demand. Third, they last much longer than your tank water heater — perhaps twice as long or more. Plus, it means never running out of hot water, so there’s no getting into a freezing shower.
4. Programmable thermostat
If your house is unoccupied while everyone is at work or school, you’re probably wasting money on heating and cooling costs. After all, you don’t want to arrive home to a freezing or sweltering house, so you keep it at a reasonable level while everyone is gone. It would be nice to turn down the heat or air conditioning while you’re gone, turning it back up just before you arrive. This you can accomplish with a programmable thermostat.
There are a few different types of these, but the most popular ones let you set it on a schedule. In the winter, for example, you might set the temperature to lower at 8 a.m. and then start warming up at around 2 p.m. when the kids get home from school, or around 5 or 6 when you get home from work. That way you’re not wasting money heating the house for no one’s benefit. Soon enough you’ll see thermostats you can control from your smartphone. That will really help save money.
Laying out the cash for these upgrades might hurt at first. You’ll lament the money spent in the short-term. But in the long term you’ll see the savings rolling in. That is, these one-time expenses will bring with them long-term monthly savings. It might take a while, but you’ll eventually make your money back on them. Once you’re in the black, it’s all gravy.