Owning a home costs more than the sticker price. In addition to the monthly mortgage payment, homeowners have to take care of routine maintenance as well.
Taking care of home maintenance before it becomes an issue can make it more likely that some of your major appliances will last longer while running more efficiently. A lack of efficiency basically means money going up in smoke. Here are some home maintenance tips that will help you save money over the long run.
Get A Programmable Thermostat
There’s no need to heat or cool a home while everyone is at work or school. Whatever type of HVAC system you have, it’s likely that you could save money with a programmable thermostat, or even a smart thermostat. These thermostats control the temperature within your home automatically. If you like it cool during the winter while you sleep, the thermostat could be programmed to keep the house at a cooler temperature at night.
If you want it warmer during the night, you can set the thermostat to automatically provide the temperature you’re looking for. Also, you can set it to adjust the temperature up or down during the workday so that the HVAC runs less. Just make sure that you leave the house warm enough in the winter to make sure your pipes don’t freeze. This tip will save on energy costs in the long run, and the programmable thermostat will effectively pay for itself in no time.
Change Furnace Filters
While it might be a pain if your HVAC system is located in a crawl space under your house, it’s still a good idea to change your HVAC filters regularly. Some filters are supposed to last for a month. Others are supposed to last for three. You should change them out according to the specified guidelines.
Again, this is tied to efficiency. If the airflow in your system is obstructed, it will not work as efficiently. Also, it’s important to remember that when systems run inefficiently, they tend to break down more quickly. Because HVAC systems are expensive, you’ll want to make sure they run as long as possible before you need to replace them.
Check For Leaks
Not only is it important to make sure you spend no more than necessary on heating and cooling your house, you’ll also want to make sure you have no water leaks. Sometimes a leak will come from a dripping faucet. At other times, it will tend to come from a pipe that’s hidden under a sink or in the basement. Checking for leaks periodically will help you avoid paying more for water usage than you have to.
If you have an emergency plumbing repair to make, be sure to get it taken care of right away. Let the professionals step in so you know you’re getting the job done right.
Additionally, it will make it less likely that mold will grow in your home. Mold needs moisture to grow, and a home with no leaks will have less moisture to feed the mold. Therefore, you might be able to save money on water and avoid a major expense for mold remediation.
Older houses did not do much in terms of insulation. The walls tended to made up of empty spaces separated by wall studs. Additionally, attics did not have as much insulation as is now recommended.
Most of a home’s heat in the winter is lost through the roof because heat rises. Adding some insulation in the attic will allow less heat to escape. The more your house is able to keep heat in, the less your gas or electric bills are likely to be.
In colder places, this can be one of the most cost-saving home maintenance tips around.
Caulk is one of those home maintenance tips that can have more than one purpose. First, you can use it as a water barrier. Like the tip to look for leaks, making sure your bathtub and sinks are watertight will make it less likely that you’ll have a big bill for mold removal in the future.
Additionally, you can use caulk around some of the gaps you might have in windows and doors. Depending on the season, these gaps allow heat and cool air to escape your house. Any air that’s escaping your house is money that’s being unnecessarily lost. Therefore, you’ll want to seal these up as much as possible.
Install Weather Stripping On Doors
Caulk is a good option for some air leaks. Another is weather stripping. Making sure that your door has a secure fit with no gaps is a good way to make sure that you’re able to keep any loss of air or heat to a minimum. Every gap you can stop up means more money in your pocket because you’ve been able to cut down on your energy bills.
Use CFL or LED Lights
The incandescent light bulb had a good run. It was the industry standard for more than a century. Today, these inefficient bulbs are no longer as popular. The prices for CFL or LED light bulbs have gone down considerably in recent years. While you might pay a bit more per bulb than you did in the good old days, the amount of energy you’ll spend to light your home will be considerably less.
In addition to conserving energy, the bulbs tend to last longer. That means you’ll have to replace them less frequently. Upgrading your light bulbs can both save you money and cut down on your energy usage. That’s a win-win situation.
Clean Your Refrigerator Coils
Cleaning your refrigerator coils is an easy step that you can take to save money on your home energy bills while also prolonging the life of your refrigerator. When dust and pet hair accumulates on these coils, your fridge will not run as efficiently as it would were the coils clean. Therefore, it’s a good idea to clean the coils a couple of times a year to keep the cost of running the refrigerator to a minimum.
Clean Your Dryer Vent
Cleaning your dryer vents can help you in a couple of ways. First, one of the leading causes of house fires is lint in a dryer vent. This lint can get very hot and catch fire. Cleaning out the filter after each drying cycle is a good idea.
Periodically cleaning out the vent is important too. You could avoid an otherwise avoidable house fire, and you could also cut down on your energy bills because an obstructed dryer vent cuts down on the efficiency of the dryer.
Clear Your Gutters
It may seem that these home maintenance tips involve quite a bit of cleaning. Here’s another cleaning tip. You’ll want to make sure that your gutters are unobstructed each year. A dirty gutter can cause water to back up during a rainstorm. That water can then start to rot your roof or leak into your house.
Repairing water damage can be quite expensive, especially if there’s mold involved. The best step to take is to do your best to avoid water damage altogether if you can. Keeping your gutters clean can help immensely.
Extend Your Downspouts
Another important tip that’s related to your gutters is related to the length of their downspouts. You’ll want to make sure that the downspouts extend away from the house. This will help ensure that any water that comes through them is directed away from the foundation of your home. Water that stays next to your house can pool and put pressure on the foundation.
Over time, this water could cause cracks that allow for water leaks and an unstable house. Spending a few dollars for a little maintenance today could help you avoid some major expenses down the road.
We want you to steal these home maintenance tips for yourself. Our whole goal here is to help you save money on things you should already be saving on. Putting in some extra work to get your house into tip top shape is going to be one of the best things you can do for your wallet. Feel free to write down these tips on a notepad, and check off each one as you complete them. Each item you check off is essentially a free check to cash at the bank!
If you’re looking for more in depth ways to save big on your energy bill, check out our blog on improving your AC’s efficiency year round!