My wife and I are building a house at the moment, and one thing that we have noticed is that everything is just so expensive. We have been trying to save money where possible, and we are still trying our best to make good long term decisions when it comes to saving money over the long term.
One of the first things we had to decide on was if we would buy the cheaper electric hot water system, or spend a bit more now and buy a gas hot water heater. The gas version was about $500 more in up front costs, but the cost of gas is a lot cheaper than electricity where I live, so I had to work out if it was worth going with the cheaper upfront option or going with the unit that would save me more money in the long run.
The next thing we had to consider was the type of air conditioning we should put in. The builder included an air conditioning unit in our build, but it was terribly inefficient and very power hungry. We investigated some other types of air conditioning units and found that if we spent about $1,000 more up front, we would save hundreds of dollars a year just in electricity costs and that we would be ahead financially within 3 years.
The last thing we are thinking about is whether or not we should install solar panels. The capital outlay is quite large depending on the size of the unit you put in, but over the course of a number of years, the solar panels pay themselves off, and so the sooner I can put them in, the sooner I can realize the financial benefits. The risk here is that solar panels seem to always be coming down in price, so I am not sure if waiting is the better option or not. I guess it will mainly depend on the level of power usage we have in the new house, so I will probably wait to decide what I do when it comes to installing solar.
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