So you’ve just moved into your brand new home – congrats! This is a new, exciting chapter in your life.
It’s a good idea to have some sort of plan of action in mind to make sure you save as much money as you can, because we all know owning a home can be pretty pricey.
The sooner you start, the sooner you save money and energy – so here’s what you need to do.
Replace your air filters
It’s always a good idea to replace your air filters when you move into a new place, but don’t worry, it’s very simple to do. All you need to do is find the filter and write down its measurements. Then go to your local hardware store and pick up a few of them. Then all that’s left to do is go home and replace the old with the new.
An old filter will not work how it should, and this can negatively affect the airflow, which means everything else will work even harder – resulting in more energy being used to pump out low-quality air.
Check all toilets and under-sink plumbing for leaks
You should check up on the plumbing before you get settled because if there is an issue, you’ll want it sorted quickly. For example, if a toilet is running constantly (even if it’s not actually leaking) it will be costing you a whole lot of money, and in fact, it’s not hard to repair. So have a look under all of your sinks to make sure there aren’t any leaks that you’re unaware of, and if there is – repair or replace them to ensure you’re not wasting money, or risk getting any mold.
Lower the temperature on your hot water heater to 120 F
There is no reason your hot water should be higher than that, because most people don’t ever have a shower at that heat – water any hotter than that can even scald you. So lower the temperature if it hasn’t already been done to save you a whole bunch of money on your energy bill.
Put a water heater blanket over the hot water heater
Most water heaters are modern nowadays which means they’re well insulated. But some are still better than others, while older heaters aren’t well insulated at all. Investing in a heater blanket will, in time, save you money on your heating bill by keeping the heat in the water, rather than letting it seep out into your utility closet.
Wrap exposed water pipes with insulation
If you allow hot water pipes to be exposed, they will gradually lose heat over time when they move the water from the heater to your shower or taps. If you wrap them with insulation (especially when they’re in a cold basement), you could make up to a four-degree difference. Make sure you use good quality pipe insulation though otherwise there’s no point even making the effort.
Make sure the vents are clear of dust and obstructions
You don’t want any vents in any rooms of your home to be blocked by dust or anything else, because this will stop your heating and cooling system from working over time. Take a look at all of your vents and make sure there is no dust building up, and brush them out if you can see some forming. By doing this, you will drastically improve the airflow in the room which will also reduce the amount of blowing that needs to happen in order for it to work properly.
Invest in the right thermostat
A lot of people will think that one thermostat in the home is enough, but in fact, the best thing is to have one in each room. Companies like ZoningSupply.com, give you a heating and cooling system that is able to connect to several different thermostats that are cleverly placed around your home. This gives you the ability to control the temperature of your entire house. This also prevents you from over using energy when you don’t need to.
Install ceiling fans in most rooms
Ceiling fans keep air moving throughout your home, and because of this, you won’t have to keep changing the temperature on your thermostat, which will end up saving you a lot of money.
It’s important to know how ceiling fans work so you know how to use it to your advantage. In the summer, the fan should be blowing down on you, whereas in the winter the air should be pulled upwards away from you. You can do this manually whenever you need to.
Track any cracks in the basement with tape
It’s very normal for homes to have small cracks in the basement walls, this is due to the settling of the foundation and the weight of the house. If your home is a healthy, stable one, the cracks won’t grow in size at all, meaning they aren’t anything to be concerned about. But if they aren’t, you will need to get the problem sorted as soon as possible. You can figure out whether a crack is expanding by putting some masking tape on the end of the cracks that you have noticed, and write the date on them too. Go back and check the tape to see if the crack has grown past where you stuck the tape – if it has, you’ll need to call in a specialist before the problem gets even worse.
Check the insulation in your attic
Go and have a look in your attic to see if there’s any insulation in there – even if there is, you may need to install more. It should be in between any beams, and be at least six inches thick everywhere. If it looks damaged, it will need to be reinstalled because there’s no guarantee that it’s doing its job well. Depending on where you live will also come into play, meaning in colder areas, you may need more than six inches.
Plant trees near your house for shade
You can significantly lower the cooling costs of your home in the summer and the heating costs in the winter, all thanks to a little thing called mother nature. Trees that lose their leaves in the fall are the perfect trick for this. The leaves in the summer will cool your home because it is shaded from the hot, glaring sun, reducing the amount that gets in. While in the winter, it will lose its leaves, allowing the sun to stream through, heating up your home a little more.
Trees can also increase the value of your home which is always an added bonus.
Hang up your clothes instead
Tumble dryers are an easy way to dry your clothes quickly, but they also eat up a whole lot of energy. If you have no problem with patience, then hang up your clothes instead. You could even put up a line in the laundry room as it’s dry and warm in there. You will save a lot of money going the natural way.
If you have enough space in your garden to install a clothesline – this will be even better as a good breeze will dry your clothes even quicker, for free.
Choose energy efficient appliances, even if you have to pay more up front
If you were lucky enough to buy your home fully furnished, then this won’t apply to you. But if not, you will have to find the best ways to keep your home reliable and energy efficient. That may seem pretty pricey to begin with, but the investment will save you a whole lot of money in the future. So for example, a fridge that doesn’t use up much energy will last around twenty years or more, and that works out to costing a lot less than a cheap fridge that will only live for six years and will drain your electricity. Find out more on www.uswitch.com.
Air-seal your home
If your home is pretty new, you may not have to do this because they should be very tight and secure already. But if it’s older, you should look for any areas that could be letting air out of the house. The most common areas for this is around the windows, doors, or electric outlets.
Change the locks and make spare keys
You should always change the locks in your home when you have just moved in. It may not seem necessary, but it’s better to be safe than sorry, because you never know who may have a spare set of keys – and you don’t want to find out!
You should be able to change the locks and doorknobs yourself – you don’t need to be a professional handyman to do it. Here’s how on www.instructables.com. While you’re doing all that, make an extra set of the new keys and hand them over to someone you really trust. That way you don’t have to cash out on a locksmith if you accidentally lock yourself out. (It can happen to the best of us…)