Part of owning a home means taking care of it. Now that you own a home, there isn’t a landlord to call when the air conditioner goes out or the plumbing backs up.
Fortunately, you don’t have to take the high costs lying down. There are actually quite a few home maintenance hacks that can help you reduce your home’s operating costs (and maybe even save more for a rainy day, too).
Want to lower the costs around your household? Try these 10 tips on for size.
Take some time to program your home’s thermostat, setting different temperatures for different times and days. If you know your entire family is out of the house from 9 to 5 each weekday, for example, then set the thermostat to 80 during that time and cut down on how much energy you use while you’re away. You can set the home to start cooling down to a more comfortable number about an hour before you usually arrive home.
If you want to take it even further, you can install a smart thermostat. These “learn” your habits and can help you reduce your overall energy spend significantly.
If you have a sprinkler system in place, you should also schedule your watering efforts similarly. Set your sprinklers to go off in the early hours of the morning or just after the sun goes down. This will ensure the water can soak in before the sun burns it off. It will also reduce how much water you need to use to keep your lawn healthy. Make sure you take into account any local water restrictions, too. These vary from place to place.
Any hole, crack, or gap in windows, flooring or walls is costing you money. It either lets cold air out in the summer, or it makes it hard to keep heat in during the winter.
To make sure you’re getting the most for your energy money, check your doorways, floors and windows regularly for gaps or cracks. If you find any, seal them up with caulk or foam insulation. You might also consider adding weather stripping for extra protection.
Make it a point to clean out the leaves and buildup from your gutters and downspouts at least once a season. When these get backed up, it can cause rain and snow to get backed up there, too. This can lead to costly damage to your insulation, drywall, or even the entire roof. You might also see mold or mildew if the problem’s really bad.
Just wiping down your fridge isn’t enough. If you want to save cash, you should also be cleaning out and regularly dusting your refrigerator coils. When the coils get clogged up with dirt, dust, and grime, your fridge has to work harder to hold its temperature. That means more in energy costs and, in the long run, a shorter life span for your appliance.
LED lightbulbs offer serious savings when compared to traditional, incandescent ones. In fact, according to the Department of Energy, LED bulbs use up to 80 percent less energy, last 25 percent longer, and can save you up to $3.80 per bulb per year. They cost a bit more than other bulbs, but the long-term impact can be pretty significant.
Reducing the temperature on your home’s hot water heater can have a significant impact, too. Experts say the optimal setting is 120 degrees. Anything above that is wasteful. You’ll never need water that hot to shower or bathe, and water for cooking can be easily warmed via stovetop boiling.
This one’s similar to your fridge coils. When your air filters get clogged up with dirt and dust, your HVAC unit can’t as easily access the air it needs to heat or cool your home. That means it has to work harder and expend more energy just to keep your house comfortable.
Commit to replacing your air filters at least every two months or so. When doing this, you should also wipe down the intake vents to remove any dust or buildup. This can also keep your HVAC system from working efficiently.
Leak detectors, such as Flo, can pinpoint even the smallest leak in a pipe, faucet, toilet, or other piece of plumbing. Not only can that save you from potential water damage down the line, but it can also reduce your home’s overall water use — and the bill that comes with it.
You might also consider investing in an energy audit. This is a professional assessment of your home’s energy efficiency, and it can help you identify any problem areas, as well as where there might be room for improvement (or savings).
You contact your state or local energy office for help finding an auditor in your area.