Measure thrice, check twice, cut once. This carpentry adage is equally applicable to renovations. Home renovations are expensive and you want your renovation to hold its value throughout your stay. Besides the typical advice you hear about investing in quality materials, here are things you can do during your renovations to help you save money over the long-term.
#1 Plan Your Power Points To Avoid Future Rewiring
In this age of multiple devices, having a plan for all the electrical points to keep our current and future devices juiced up will save you money and hassle in the future. This could be installing additional power points in the second bedroom in case the room is turned to a future home office or adding multiple power points in the kitchen for small appliances (e.g. coffee maker, toaster, rice cooker, stand mixer, etc.) if you are an avid baker or cook.
For older resale flats, consider doing a complete rewiring during the renovation, especially if the electricals have not been upgraded since completion. Doing a complete rewiring during renovation will save you from having to make future emergency electrical repairs due to power failures induced by wear and tear.
It may also save you a bit of electricity by having the appropriate power points, lights and devices on the same circuit, leading to more convenient shut-off of electricity when the devices are not in use. In a worst-case scenario, it will save you from ripping out build-ins or concealed wiring to replace the aging wiring.
#2 Consider Modular Furniture And Storage Solutions
Instead of custom furniture and build-ins, consider modular furniture and storage solutions which can provide more flexible usage. Modular seating allows you to expand your seating from a loveseat to full-size couches in the future as your family expands. Likewise, modular storage solutions allow you to customise the interior fittings with the option to add and subtract in the future.
This flexibility allows for better space planning, especially if your living situation changes such with a birth of a child or moving in of parents. A rearrangement of the furniture is much simpler and cheaper process than potentially removing build-ins.
Another advantage is that modular furniture and storage solutions allow you to stagger your furniture purchases such that you only need to buy the essentials first and still have the option to expand in the future while maintaining a cohesive style.
#3 Install Energy Saving Appliances
Choosing energy saving appliances (indicated by the ticks on the energy label) will also save you money over the long run by lowering your overall electricity bills. Five or four ticks on the energy label are indicative of appliances that are more energy saving and the upfront cost is usually comparable to other less energy-saving alternatives. Given that air conditioning forms a significant portion of most Singaporeans’ electricity bills, prioritising an energy-saving air conditioning system will also save you money in the future.
Another potential area for energy savings is switching to natural gas for your cooking and heating needs. Aside from imparting the elusive wok hei, gas is cheaper than electricity in Singapore and the upfront cost for gas cooker hobs are lower as well.
For water heaters, the cost comparison is more dependent on your home layout and heating needs and whether you want a storage or instant water heater. While the running cost of gas water heaters are lower, the upfront cost may be higher than electric water heaters.
#4 Install Water Saving Devices
Similarly, choosing water efficient appliances and installing water saving faucets and fixtures will also lower your water bill in the long run. While we are probably aware of water saving washing machines, research has also shown that using a dishwater actually saves more water than doing the dishes by hand. A dishwasher also has the added benefit of sanitising your dishes which is a positive in this post-pandemic era.
Installing water saving faucets and fixtures during renovation also allows you to reap the benefits from the beginning of your stay in your new home. With new technology, low flow doesn’t mean low pressure and you can have a fully satisfying bathroom experience.
Look for low flow toilets such as gravity flow toilets or pressure assist toilets, and low flow faucets and showerheads such as those featuring aerating or laminar technology.
#5 Install Blackout Shades Or Curtains To Reduce Heat Transfer
Installing shades or curtains is not just an aesthetic choice but can be money saving tool as well. Heat is a major bugbear for Singaporeans and the main driver for our high electricity bills.
Thermal or blackout shades or curtains can help reduce heat transfer from the exterior to the home interior if you close them before the sun shines in and heats up the room. This can be significant especially for homes with west-facing windows as the shades or curtains can block out much of the afternoon heat.
Additionally, blackout shades and curtains not only block out light and heat, they also have some sound dampening qualities which can lead to a more pleasant home environment.
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