4 easy projects that pay for themselves

A more efficient home is one that gathers dollars in your wallet year-over-year, and streamlining your house's energy efficiency is a simple thing to do. It's possible to save hundreds annually with much less than an hour's worth of work and very little effort.

If easy home improvements aren't too much of a problem, then you can be well on your way to saving. Some of the things you can do in your home to save money include:

1. Install a low-flow shower head
A low-flow shower head can save up to 8,000 gallons per year, according to MSN. That is a lot of water and that means a lot of money saved. 

There are shower heads that can save you as much as $250 each year, depending on shower usage. Newer models can control flow based on temperature so that you don't use too much hot water.

In addition to installing a new shower head, you can slow the flow of your bathroom even more with a low-flow toilet that, just like the shower heads, will cut the cost of your utilities. 

2. Wrap up your windows
Covering your windows in plastic wrap is a very simple way to drop energy costs, Christian Science Monitor noted. When the cold eventually sets in plastic wrap will be enough to prevent much of the heat loss that is prone to occur during the winter. If you have older windows in your home, this is where the plastic wrap will work best. 

While a kit costs just $15 dollars, the sheet of plastic can save as much as $20 per window over the course of the winter, the newspaper explained. 

3. Insulate your home
If you're itching for some better temperature control, roll-out some new insulation in the attic. Heat lost through your home's walls, roof and floors can account for up to 45 percent of its total heat loss, MSN reported. Attics are usually the easiest part of the home to insulate - this can make for an easy weekend project if you're looking for some time to kill. While it depends on the location of your home, on average the ideal thickness should be around 12 inches.

Insulation should pay for itself within two to three years, according to 

4. Put in a ceiling fan
Ceiling fans don't just look good, they can cut your energy bills as well. Because they circulate the air in a room, they can regulate temperature during both warm and cold weather, Christian Science Monitor explained. As long as it is rotating in the right direction according to season, a fan will push the air you need where you want it, so that the temperature of your home is moderated throughout the year. 

With your thermostat and ceiling fan working in conjunction you can save up to 10 percent of annual heating and cooling costs, the newspaper stated. If you install two $50 ceiling fans in a large room, you should see a return on your investment within seven months. 

With a fairly small amount of work and hundreds of dollars in savings in store, the question is how could you pass on these projects? 

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