You have just moved into your nice new home. How exciting! You finally have a place to call your own. You’ve unloaded the boxes and started to unpack your life away.
That moment, is the perfect time to walk through a checklist of ways to save money on your home for years to come. Buying a home should not be a burden and your wallet should not suffer.
Starting on these things as early as possible will allow you to start saving money sooner. Plus, some of them will be easier to accomplish before you get too settled in. So, before you start hanging pictures on the walls, follow these tips on saving money!
Lower the temperature on your hot water heater down to 120 degrees Fahrenheit (55 degrees Celsius).
This is the optimum temperature for your hot water heater. Most people don’t use water hotter than 120 degrees — indeed, water hotter than that can scald you or a child — and thus the energy needed to keep the water above 120 degrees isn’t used effectively. Lower the temperature, save money on your energy bill, and you’ll never skip a beat.
Install ceiling fans in most rooms.
Ceiling fans are a low-energy way to keep air moving in your home. Because of the air circulation effect, you can get away with keeping your thermostat a degree or two higher in summer and a degree or two lower in winter, netting a rather large savings.
Install a programmable thermostat – and learn how to use it.
A programmable thermostat allows you to schedule automatic increases and decreases in your home’s temperature, saving money on cooling in the summer and heating in the winter.
They’re easy to install and easy to use, especially if you keep a fairly routine schedule. Just program the thermostat to drop a few degrees at night while you’re sleeping or off at work during the day and set it to return to your preferred temperature just before you wake up or return home from work. You won’t notice the difference — until you see your lower utility bill.
Replace your air filters.
When you first move in, you almost always need to replace the air handling filter or the filter on your furnace or AC unit. Don’t worry, it’s easy to do and it usually takes about 10 seconds.
Go down to your air handling unit, find where the filter is (it’s almost always a large rectangle), and mark down the measurements (printed around the edges). Then, go to the hardware store and pick up a few of them. Go home and replace the old one with a new filter and save the rest so you always have a clean one ready to go. An outdated filter not only doesn’t filter air as well, it also has a negative impact on air flow, meaning your air handling system or HVAC unit has to work harder — and use more energy — to pump out lower quality air.
Make sure the vents in all rooms are clear of dust and obstructions.
None of the vents in your home should be covered or blocked by anything – doing that makes your heating and cooling work overtime. You should also peek into all of your vents and make sure they’re as dust-free as possible and brush them out if you see any dust bunnies. This improves air flow into the room, reducing the amount of blowing that needs to happen.
Hang a clothes rack in your laundry room.
Better yet, an outdoor clothesline.
Even an efficient clothes dryer can really eat up your energy costs, but it’s convenient for many people. If you’re willing to battle that convenience, you can save money by hanging a clothes rack from the wall in the laundry room and using it for some items; t-shirts, underwear, towels, and pillow cases dry great on clothes racks. If you can hang up 20% of the clothes in a load on a rack, you can get away with running the dryer 20% less than before, saving you cash.
Even better tip: If you can, install a clothesline in your back yard and hang most of your clothes to dry outside, where a good breeze can do the work of a dryer in no time — and at no cost.
Check all toilets and under-sink plumbing for leaks or constant running – and check faucets, too.
Do a survey of the plumbing in your home before you settle in. If you find a toilet is running constantly, it’s going to cost you money – here’s how to easily fix that constantly-running toilet.
You should also peek under the basin of all the sinks in your home, just to make sure there aren’t any leaks. Got a leaky faucet? You should repair or replace any of those, because the drip-drip-drip of water is also a drip-drip-drip of money; not to mention the terrible interplay between mold and home insurance.
Install LED or CFL light bulbs.
LED and CFL bulbs can save you a lot of money on energy use over the long haul, plus they have much longer lives than normal incandescent bulbs, making them well worth the upfront investment. Consider installing some in various places — especially in areas where the lights may be in use for long periods, like the living room or kitchen, or left on accidentally, like a back hallway or basement. CFL bulbs tend to be cheaper, but LED bulbs are usually preferable in terms of performance and have come down in cost quite a bit over the past few years.
Plant shade trees near your house.
Mother nature can help you save significantly on your summer cooling costs — and heating costs in winter, too.
Plant deciduous trees — the kind that lose their leaves in the fall — on the western and eastern sides of your house. The leafy shade trees will naturally cool your home during the hot summer months by reducing the amount of direct sunlight that hits your house.
In the winter, they’ll lose their leaves, allowing that same sunlight to stream through your windows and heat up the home a bit more. And if you plant evergreens on the north and northwest sides of your home, they won’t affect the sunlight, but will shield your home from cold winter winds.
Change the locks and make spare keys.
One of the first things many homeowners do is change the locks on their new home. You don’t need to be particularly handy to install new door hardware, and a set of basic doorknobs and locks for your front and back door will only set you back $20-$80 or so. It may seem unnecessary, but there’s no way to know whether there are copies of your old key floating around, and who might have them if so. Investing a bit of money and time today can protect you from burglary down the road.
While you’re at it, get an extra copy of your key made and leave it with someone you trust, so you don’t have to shell out $100 to a locksmith when you inevitably lock yourself out.
Home Insurance is one of the most important parts of moving into a new home. Home insurance will cover Fire, Theft, Vandalism, Objects falling from the sky and flooding and accidental flooding. Visit us for a homeowner quote and we can help you save money on home insurance as well!