I purchased my home in March of 2014. It was a complete dump. There were no appliances, the floors were bare besides a dingy brown carpet glued to the living room floor, and every problem revealed about 2 to 3 more. The roof started leaking after 3 months and it almost buried me initially. My goals became to bring my bills down. 1st I had to replace the roof. After that I increased the insulation. I changed out the windows to double pane glass. I had solar attic fans installed. Changed every appliance I could to natural gas. Tankless gas water heater, gas range, gas dryer. Added roller shades, and thick curtains. Tinted the windows. All LED light bulbs. Added solar lighting outside. Programmable thermostat. Water efficient toilets. I had no life for 2 to 3 years.
My gas went down from $50 to $60 to in between $25 to $30. My water went down from $50 to $60 to in between $30 to $40. My electric bill kept going up though. Like most of you I always just paid my electric bill. Never looking at the knick knack fees they tag on, or being aware of the annual pricing increase that negated a lot of the work I put in. The average Central Florida utility company increases their rates by 3 to 4% annually. I have Duke Energy like a lot of you. They gone up in between 40 to 50% during a ten year span.
I was always interested in Solar, but always thought it was something that only rich people could afford. I was wrong. For most people it's a zero down situation, that has you paying less than you do to the electric company, gives you a fixed and stable bill, you are paying down principle on something you will own rather than a rising cost, eliminating your largest utility, reducing your carbon footprint towards global warming, and increasing the equity and value of your home if the job is done properly.
Below you can see the night and day difference of what my home looks like now. I live in no mansion, but I am no longer embarrassed to have guests over, and can host again. My neighbors have seen my efforts and have begun working on home improvements as well which increase the value of the neighborhood. Instead of being the ugliest house on the block, my home is now one of the nicest houses on the block. I was able to do this because everything I had worked on brought down my bills annually by $3,500. The last project I am working on for energy efficiency is a higher SEER A/C. It's nice to be enjoying more of the pleasures of life rather than stressing about the bills like I used to. This year Duke was only able to raise my bill from $9.96 to $10.90. I left my career field of Real Estate because I found that Solar was something I had much more passion for, and the the things that I did in my house that I became knowledgeable about on my own, the rebates I got back for doing so, and the ways I learned to save money were useful skills and abilities I could share with others to skip some of the hardships we endured here. Look below at the transition at my home. The next page will be my neighbor. He went a different route and it didn't work out as well for him.
The foreclosure I purchased in March 2014. The eyesore of the block at the time.