Nothing is better than saving money after becoming a new homeowner. Read below for some helpful tips on padding out your savings!
Lower the temperature on your hot water heater down to 55 degrees Celsius (120 degrees Fahrenheit):
This is the optimum temperature for your hot water heater since most people don’t use water hotter than 55 Celsius. Anything above that can scald you so the energy needed to keep the water above 55 Celsius isn’t used effectively. If you lower the temperature you'll be saving that much more money on your energy bill.
Check the insulation in your attic and install more if needed:
If you have an unfinished attic, ensure you take a look around up there. You should see insulation between the beams, and there should be at least six inches of it everywhere (more if you live in northern BC).
If there is inadequate insulation up there, or the insulation you have appears to be damaged, install new insulation or hire someone to do it for you.
Wrap a 'water heater blanket' over your hot water heater:
Most modern hot water heaters are well-insulated, but a lot of older heaters aren’t insulated well at all. A blanket for your water heater will slowly and gradually save you money on your heating bill over time by keeping the heat in the water instead of letting it disperse slowly into your basement or utility closet.
Make sure. you don't cover the water heater’s top, bottom, thermostat, or burner compartment.
*If you have an on-demand (or “tankless”) water heaters, they don’t require this treatment.
Install ceiling fans in whichever rooms you can:
Ceiling fans are a low-energy way to keep air moving in your home. The air circulation effect allows you to get away with keeping your thermostat a degree or two higher in summer and a degree or two lower in winter. It might not seem like a lot, but it makes a noticeable difference in cost.
The most important thing to know is that the air directly below the fan should be blowing down on you in the summer and should be pulled upwards away from you in the winter. Use the reversal switch on your fan to switch between the modes at the start of each season.
Plant shade trees near your house (if possible):
If you own the outdoor land of your home, 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. Just make sure to plant them a safe distance from power lines and your home itself (no one wants a downed limb poking through their roof).
Wrap any exposed water pipes with insulation.
Exposed hot water pipes lose heat as they move water from your heater to your faucet or shower. Wrapping them in pipe insulation, especially in cold basements or garages, can make a two to four degree difference in the temperature of the water, and also allows hot water to reach your faucet faster.
Check that vents in all rooms are clear of dust and obstructions:
None of the vents in your home should be covered or blocked by anything. Dust and obstructions make your heating and cooling work overtime. You should also look into all of your vents and make sure they’re as dust-free as possible and dust them every month or so. This improves air flow into the room, reducing the amount of energy needed to keep the air blowing.
Buy a clothes rack for your laundry room:
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 having a clothes rack in the laundry room 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.
Install LED or CFL light bulbs:
LED and Compact Fluorescent light 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 a porch or hallway. 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.
Mark any cracks in the basement with dated masking tape:
Many homes have a few small cracks in their basement walls from the settling of the foundation and the weight of the house. In a stable home, the small cracks aren’t growing at all. If they’re growing, however, you’ll save a ton of money by getting the problem addressed now rather than later.
How do you tell if a crack is getting bigger? Take some masking tape and cover up the end of any cracks you notice inside or outside, and write today’s date on the tape. In a few months, check the tape. If you see a crack growing out of the end of the tape, you might have a problem and should call a specialist before the problem gets out of hand.
Purchase energy efficient appliances:
You may have to do a little appliance shopping for your new home. Focus on reliability and energy efficiency above all, even if that seriously increases the cost you have to pay up front. A refrigerator that uses a little energy and lasts twenty years works out to much cheaper in the long run than a fridge that runs for seven years and guzzles electricity.
Put together a home maintenance checklist:
Create a home maintenance checklist. This list should include regular home maintenance tasks that you’ll want to do every month, twice a year, or once a year.
As a homeowner, your home is a tremendous investment, and regular maintenance helps to ensure that there won’t be significant damage down the road that can potentially cost you a lot of money. Regular maintenance can also stop mold infestations before they end up costing you thousands. Take the time to regularly inspect and repair little things.
No need to finish everything at once! Do a couple hour’s worth each weekend or once a week. Just be sure to keep a schedule of what you’re doing so everything is addressed.
Keep Your Documentation Safe and Together:
Buy a binder or small filing storage container and keep insurance papers, repair receipts, and all other paperwork pertaining to the house in it. Storing all your house information in one handy place makes life easier for you, should you ever need to reference anything in the future.
Avoid Overspending on New Furniture and Remodelling:
You just spent a large portion of your life savings for a down payment, closing costs and moving expenses. If savings are depleted and monthly expenses are higher than before as well, don’t go on a massive spending spree to improve everything all at once. Give yourself time to adjust to the expenses of home ownership and rebuild your savings before completing all the projects you're excited for.
Until next time,