Your home doesn’t have to be a money pit. Take some advice from savings-savvy homeowners and use these tips to help you save money on homeownership.
Automate Your Thermostat
Investing in a programmable thermostat is well worth the initial cost. For less than $100 you can go with a model that keeps the temperature inside your home between certain parameters preset by you. Or spend a little more and invest in a smart thermostat that you can control with your smartphone from pretty much anywhere. Some smart thermostats can even sense when there’s nowhere in the house and go into energy-saving mode, then kick the temperature back down a bit if it’s warm outside (or up if it’s a cold day) when you get home.
Using a ceiling fan allows you to bump up the temp on your thermostat in the summer and even lower it a bit in the winter. Fans use considerably less energy than your air conditioner does, and they can actually lower the temperature in a room by a good five degrees or more. And if you weren’t aware, switching the direction of the fan in the winter can also help warm a room.
Block Out the Sun
Use blinds, tinting film, or blackout curtains on windows that see a lot of sunlight during the day. Blocking the sun helps keep a room from getting too hot during the sunniest part of the day. Closed blinds and curtains can also help keep cold air from leaking into the room when it’s chilly outside.
Use Less Hot Water
Besides saving money on water usage and being greener all around, using less hot water will help save money on your air conditioning as well. Think about it. If you’re taking long, super hot showers that steam up the room, all that heat has to go somewhere.
Inspect and Replace A/C Filters Regularly
Dirty air filters block airflow and make your HVAC system work even harder. If it gets bad enough, it can even cause your system to burn out. Replace air filters every three to six months
Remove Foliage Around HVAC Unit
If there’s shrubbery surrounding your HVAC unit, you could be causing it to work much harder than it needs to. Shrubbery can restrict the airflow your unit needs in order to run efficiently. Make sure you have at least one foot of clearance around your unit, and definitely trim any bushes or trees that are touching it. Remove any leaves and dirt that might be surrounding it, and if there’s significant dirt or debris inside the unit, have it professionally cleaned and serviced.
Try “Solar Drying”
Give your clothes dryer a break and hang the wash out to dry when the weather’s nice. It might take a little longer, but the savings and fresh outdoor air will be worth it! If outdoor drying isn’t a good option for you, invest in a drying rack. Allowing the bulk of your clothes to air dry could save you a good chunk of change over a year.
Clean Your Dryer Vent
You know your clothes take longer to dry when the lint trap’s full; but did you know your dryer’s performance is also affected big time when the vent hasn’t been cleaned in a while? The Consumer Energy Center says that next to refrigerators, clothes dryers are the second highest energy-using appliances. With that in mind, you should definitely keep cleaning the dryer vent high on your regular maintenance list.
Use LED Bulbs
Not only do LED lights last longer than incandescent bulbs, but they’re also more efficient and put out less heat.
Put Your Outdoor Grill to Use
Try using an outdoor grill more often for cooking. You’ll use less electricity and cut down on the extra heat the stove and oven create inside the house. As a bonus, grilled foods are usually healthier foods sauteed or fried on the stovetop or casseroles baked in the oven.
Fix Leaky Windows and Doors
The air leaking from even the tiniest gap around a window or door can add up to a lot of wasted money. Add or replace weather stripping or use caulk to eliminate air leaks around doors and windows. Sealing these tiny gaps can actually make your heating and cooling more efficient and budget-friendly.
Keep a Home Maintenance Calendar
A well-oiled machine runs best. Keep your home and all its parts properly maintained, and you’ll definitely save money in the long run. As long as everything is working properly, you should be able to keep major issues to a minimum.
Keep a Maintenance Fund
Set aside a little bit of money each month to put in a maintenance fund. This will help immensely when the inevitable maintenance issue pops up that requires professional attention.
Do Periodic Walkthroughs
Do walkthroughs from time to time to inspect your home and make sure everything’s shipshape. Don’t forget to do the same for your home’s exterior! Not all home maintenance issues happen inside the home. Check for things like dry rot, missing or broken roof shingles, signs of termites, etc.
Unplug What’s Not in Use
Chargers for phones and other electronic devices can be power suckers even when the device is not plugged in. If you’re not actively charging or using an electronic device, unplug the charger from the wall.
Use Less Lighting
Turn off lights in unoccupied areas of the house. Use natural light or smaller lamps whenever possible.
Clean Refrigerator Coils
Even the best, most efficient Energy Star-rated refrigerator can be an energy sucker if it’s not maintained properly. Grit and gunk can collect on your fridge’s condenser coils, putting the hardworking appliance into overdrive and leading to sky-high energy bills. Use a vacuum cleaner with a crevice-friendly attachment to suck up that yucky stuff from the coils and improve your fridge’s energy efficiency.