12 Tips To Help You Save Money On Your Home
Owning a home is one of life’s great achievements but comes with a number of ongoing costs. Utility bills, repairs, and maintenance to name but a few. By taking advantage of a few simple tips and tricks you can save hundreds of dollars each year whilst also being a more environmentally responsible homeowner.
1. Get a programmable thermostat and learn how to use it
These handy little devices give you the ability to schedule automatic increases and decreases in your home’s temperature. You will save on A/C in the summer and heating in the winter. They are simple to install and use, particularly if you maintain a fairly constant routine. Just set it to reduce the temperature at night and when you’re out at work and schedule it to increase for when you wake up or get home from work. Better yet, many energy providers will send you one for free or at least cover most of the cost. A reduction in your utility bill is the only change you’ll notice!
2. Install ceiling fans to reduce A/C costs
Ceiling fans can make a room feel up to 4C colder and thereby massively reduce the load on your air conditioning unit. They keep the air in the room circulating which avoids layering. Additionally, the moving air whisks the heat away from your body more effectively resulting in a faster and more efficient cool down.
3. Lower your water heater and throw on a water heater blanket
55C is the optimum temperature for your water heater. Few of us can withstand water hotter – hotter will in fact scold you or your children – so it’s a plain waste of energy to heat it up above the magic 55C. Moreover, if you spend some money on a water heater blanket you’ll be wasting a lot less energy on heating the air around the boiler. Though newer water heaters are more efficient, most older ones have terrible insulation and this small investment can save a lot of money in the long run.
Finally, if you really want to max out on water heating saving consider insulating any exposed pipes around the house. So, lower the temperature, insulate what you can, and watch the bills tank!
4. Hang your laundry
Even the most efficient clothes dryer can bump up your energy costs, but it’s convenience is difficult to sacrifice. Hanging a clothes rack from the wall in the laundry room and using it for some items is a great way to begin saving energy. Some items dry fabulously on drying rack including: t-shirts, underwear, towels, and pillow cases. The more you items you commit to drying on the rack the more money you’ll save.
A clothesline the back yard or on your balcony is an even better option, particularly in the summer. On hot summer days they may in fact dry faster outside.
5. Air-seal your home
New homes are designed and built to a much higher standard of air sealing, but in old homes this is not the case. Typically, air leaks occur around door ways, windows, electric outlets, and even your kitchen sink. These leaks are literally money disappearing into thin air…
Fixing small air leaks is straight forward – The US department of energy has produced this fantastic guide on how to find and patch up these air (money) leaks.
6. Regularly replace your air filters
Every 3-6 months replace your HVAC filters. When they are clogged and dirty airflow is reduced and this severely hampers your system’s efficiency. At the worst, they can even cause the system to burn out and require a replacement. When you’re changing them make sure to get the same rating as your system requires. Even though a higher rated filter could seem desirable, a filter not designed for your system is likely to be bad news. Replacing your air filters won’t take you more than a few minutes and could save up to 15% a year on energy costs.
7. Buy energy efficient appliances
Yes, they are generally more expensive to buy from the store but over their lifetime they more than make up for the initial up-front cost. The appliances that use the most energy are: Water heater, Washer & Dryer, Lighting, Refrigerator, Oven, TV, and Dishwasher. When you’re buying these items make reliability and efficiency your number one priority. Think about it, a dryer that uses less energy and lasts 15 years will save you hundreds of dollars compared with a energy sapping one that dies after 5.
8. Be clever with Smart-Strips
If you don’t already have all your electronics plugged into surge protectors, stop what you’re doing right now and go out to buy some. This is a simple precaution that protects thousands of dollars of equipment being destroyed in the event of an electrical surge. However, with SmartStrips its worth spending some time figuring out where to put them and what to plug in to them. These devices detect when a device is in standby mode and stops power flowing in until it is switched on. Over time, standby mode uses lots of energy and reducing this waste will save you lots of cash.
9. Upgrade the insulation in your attic
We all know that heat rises and therefore the most important insulation in your house lies beneath the roof in the attic. At a minimum the entire underside of your roof should have at least 6 inches of insulation (far more in colder regions). Additionally, many attic doors are left uninsulated, so check yours and if it is make sure to insulate it. If the house if older consider getting quotes from a builder to completely redo the insulation in your ceiling. This will be expensive in the short run, but it will save thousands of dollars in the future and you even be eligible for a partial refund from the government (More on that soon).
10. It’s time for LED or CFL light bulbs
Incandescent light bulbs use about 10-15% of the electricity supplied to them to light the room, the rest is turned into heat that is cooled by you’re A/C. Yes, LEDs or CFL bulbs are a bit more expensive but like most of the tips we’ve given they more than make up for their cost in the long run savings. CFLs tend to be cheaper but are worst in terms of performance where as LEDs are quite the opposite. Be strategic and put LED bulbs in the places you need the best light and use CFLs everywhere else.
11. Create a maintenance checklist
Over time, small things you neglect in and around your home build up and require expensive repairs. To maximise the lifetime of your household items and features a yearly and monthly maintenance checklist can ensure that everything is kept in tip top condition and you can spot small problems before they escalate. This guide by The Simple Dollar is a great place to start but be sure to add the things that are specific to your home.
12. Research and apply for government incentives and tax breaks
Governments around the world are quickly catching onto to climate change being real (Mr Trump if you are reading please take note...) and are offering many incentives to encourage more efficient housing. In Vancouver, they will pay for a total EnerGuide home evaluation, and contribute towards the replacement of heating systems, windows, and doors. There are many others that can be found depending on what you need to improve (the EnerGuide evaluation is a great way to determine this) and before you make any upgrades you should do your research.
Do you have any more tips that could help our readers save money and energy? Leave a comment below or send us a message on Facebook!
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