backyard pool

Sound Home Investments for Elevated Living

Life Elevated” rings true — especially when it comes to health and quality of life. Salt Lake City residents are some of the healthiest people in the nation, and even the oldest seniors often stay active throughout their lives. Investing in one’s home becomes significantly more important, particularly if those investments improve one’s living conditions, health, and finances.

A Backyard Pool

Swimmers often have the best physiques — and for good reasons. Swimming is one of the best activities for the human body. It is a full-body workout that improves strength, strengthens bones, tones muscles, and strengthens the heart. Swimming does all these without putting undue stress on the body and with minimal risk of injury. A few laps in a pool twice or thrice a week will almost ensure you stay in the proper weight range and avoid all the health risks of obesity.

An inground pool can cost around $20,000-$50,000. The cost might seem steep — however, the cost of obesity is higher. A George Washington University pegged the financial costs of obesity at close to $4,900 per year for women and $2,700 per year for men. The more people in your household — the more value you get from having a pool. Almost anyone can start swimming. Age, fitness, and injuries have little to no consequences — and just immersing yourself in water is a workout in itself. Michael Phelps was documented to have consumed 10,000 calories per day during his historic Olympic runs in 2012 and 2016.

Most swimmers train a maximum of 2-3 hours per day — so even if he burned 1,000 calories per hour swimming sprints, he couldn’t have burned all the calories he ate just by swimming. However, being in the water makes a difference. Water disperses body heat and forces the body to burn fat to maintain its core temperatures. Just staying in the water can burn 500-1000 calories per hour.

Solar Power

solar power

Utah is a great state for solar power. Elevation increases the concentration of sunlight, allowing solar panels to perform at higher efficiency throughout most of the day. Solar power systems can be expensive. A 12-kW system that could power a 4-bedroom home can cost around $16,000. The system will produce more than enough power to cover daytime consumption, sending excess production to the grid to cover nighttime use — cutting your electric bill to zero or close to it. Federal tax incentives can bring costs down to $12,500, and Utah’s own solar incentive can cut an additional $1,200. A 10-year loan for $12,000 should have premiums of around $110, which is around $10 more than what you usually pay for electricity.

Solar power systems often last for 30-40 years — with most solar companies will guaranteeing the first 25 years at 80-90 percent optimum performance. Once you’re done with your payments, you’ll still get to enjoy 20-30 years of free electricity. Solar power systems effectively cut your reliance on the grid, insulating you from future price hikes if ever the government ditches the use of fossil fuels.

Add an electric car to the mix and you should save another $2,000 a year on gas. Since your home is net-zero on electricity, you wouldn’t be powering your car with fossil fuels from the grid (the US still relies on coal and natural gas for more than 60 percent of its power).

Tinted Windows

Utah is the skin cancer and melanoma capital of the U.S. Higher concentrations of ultraviolet (UV) radiation due to elevation increases the risk of developing skin cancer and melanomas. While most people apply sunblock when they go out into the sun, very few do so at home or while driving. Houses with large glass windows and doors are not safe from UV. Your everyday commute to work and back also exposes you to significant amounts of UV — particularly on the left side of your body.

The UV-filtering film should solve the problem. Window companies should have little to no problems applying UV film to your windows and doors. UV film blocks 90-99 percent of UV radiation and up to 80 percent of solar heat, without blocking sunlight. You can get your car tinted in almost any car shop. UV film can be as dark or as clear as you want, so you don’t have to worry about changing the aesthetics of your beloved vehicle. A single melanoma operation can cost thousands of dollars, while prevention with UV film costs a mere fraction of that.

A few upgrades to your home can vastly improve your quality of life in the future — whether it be health-wise or financial. Not every investment needs to have monetary gains, especially if you can save on health expenditures or wipe out your utility bills for the next 30-40 years.

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