You already know that homeownership is expensive.
Between insurance, maintenance costs, and property taxes, homeowners can spend over $1,200 (£987) a month on home expenses – and that doesn’t include mortgage payments and accidents.
Your home is a place of peace, but home expenses can disrupt your peace-of-mind. While these costs can’t be banished entirely, you can cut them down without sacrificing your comfort. We guarantee there’s at least one item on this list you haven’t tried, so follow this list to decrease housing costs, increase property worth, and expand your budget.
Don’t waste AC
Upgrade your furnace
Let’s start with your heat source: the furnace. Outdated furnaces are a money drain, as newer models are more energy-efficient, and older furnaces aren’t running at 100%. What’s more, updated furnaces raise property values. Not only are they worth more than older models, but they also make your home lower maintenance.
Cool down your water heater
The water heater can be a huge energy drain. Water heaters require a regular stream of heat, accounting for around 17% of energy use in the average home. However, the water is kept way hotter than needed. The good news is, there’s a quick fix: setting your water heater at around 130ºF is more than enough heat for your home use. Additionally, you can insulate the heater by buying a water heater blanket and by making sure that your pipes are properly insulated.
Secure drafty windows
This one is obvious, but if your windows aren’t properly sealed, you’re wasting AC. The good news is, checking for drafts in your windows is cheap. Simply holding a candle up against the window and watching for air movements can be enough to inform you of whether you need to install new windows or fix the caulking.
Insulate the home
One last way to keep heating costs down is to make sure everything is properly insulated. Windows aren’t the only concern here. Loose-fitting doors can cause air to slip out, and older windows don’t always keep heat in, even with recaulking. The fix is easy: fitting a draft excluder under your door can prevent wasted AC, and installing an insulation film can make old windows work just as well as new ones.
Install a programmable thermostat
Programmable thermostats can set your home to different temperatures depending on the time of day. Turning your thermostat off when you’re out at work or sleeping, without having to set it ten times a day, can save energy with extra convenience.
More energy drains
Invest in new lightbulbs
Your home lighting can cut into your budget if you aren’t careful. Old lightbulbs are energy drains and have shorter lives. By contrast, CFL and LED bulbs save households plenty in lighting costs by lasting longer and being more energy-efficient. While these bulbs are more expensive upfront, they cost way less in the long run.
Invest in outlet timers
Another tool to prevent energy drains are outlet timers. Outlets that are plugged in but not in use still draw a little electricity, sometimes known as “phantom energy.” These small sparks of electricity add up to big wastes. However, outlet timers allow you to shut off appliances after a set amount of time so that they aren’t drawing unnecessary electricity.
Vacuum your refrigerator coils
Weird, right? Dust covered coils can reduce your fridge’s efficiency, causing it to suck more energy. It’s recommended that you vacuum these twice a year, and more frequently if you have pets.
Other housing costs
Phone, cable, and internet
It might be a good time to look at the price of these services. If you’re looking to keep cable, maybe compare rates with different providers, and check to see if your internet speed is too fast for your household. Also, many houses have ditched the home phone, but if you still hold onto yours, see if you can’t find a way to bundle it with a different service.
Lower your homeowner’s insurance
This is probably the trickiest cost to manage, but it’s possible. Insurance companies are more likely to charge less for a few things. Raising your deductible (if you can) and investing in home security can lower your bill. Upgrading your basic house systems like plumbing and heating can also lower insurance costs. You’ll need to get your house appraised after this, but it can go a long way on your monthly bill.
Houses aren’t cheap, but with these tips in mind, you can clear up your budget and rest easy about the price of homeownership.