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  • Jackie Mayo

How Do I Prepare My Home to be more Energy-Efficient?


The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University prepares a State of the Nation’s Housing each year which is filled with very interesting information. It usually comes out in the spring of each year. You can review this year’s study at https://www.jchs.harvard.edu/state-nations-housing-2019


One section which caught my eye said, “The Joint Center projects that the number of households in their mid-30s to mid-40s will increase by 2.9 million over the decade, while those age 65 and over should grow by an astounding 11.1 million. “ It continues further in the study, “Under these assumptions, the aging baby boomers will add some 8.4 million households that are either single persons or married couples without children living at home. While this surge in one- and two person households might imply strong demand for smaller homes, older adults plan to remain in their current homes as they age. To do so, though, many of these households will need to modify their homes to accommodate the physical limitations of aging, fueling strong growth in the remodeling market” (highlighted section by this author).


This is a trend we are seeing locally where most people do want to remain living in their home for as long as possible. Even if you do want to downsize, there might not be an affordable option that makes financial sense for your personal budget so you choose to remain living in your current home.


Compounding the inability to downsize because of the costs to do so, many of today’s homes were built before energy-efficiency became an important way to help reduce utility costs in a home. As energy costs increase, so does the financial hit to the budget.


There are a few tweaks you can do to help reduce some of those energy leaks in your home.

  • Ensure the gaps in doors and around windows are sealed.

  • Replace or increase insulation in your attic and crawlspaces. This can really have a big impact on your monthly utility bills.

  • Other cost saving features are changing out old toilets to low-flow toilets which require much less water to use and can reduce your water consumption. There are new WaterSense® faucets which can also reduce the water usage in your water faucets, which doesn’t impede your use of the faucet.

Let’s face it, utility costs are increasing and it can feel like you are putting money down the toilet sometimes when you get a big bill. Ensure your toilets don’t have a slow leak. I have experienced this shock when I opened a water bill one year and had a $300 bill. I couldn’t believe my eyes! The toilet was the culprit. Once fixed, the bill went down dramatically.


These are often quick and easy fixes which can help reduce the overall cost to live in an older home. Preparing your home to age in can also be a huge cost benefit when comparing assisted living costs. Home remodeling done well can be a big help in allowing you to enjoy not only your home, but also your neighborhood where you have put down your roots over the years.

Bill at Knoxville Aging in Place is ready to listen to your ideas about making your home ready for the next few years as you continue to enjoy your home.


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