You’ve moved into your nice new home. You’ve unloaded the truck and countless boxes and started to unpack your life. Right now is the best time to walk through a brand-new home owner checklist of ways to conserve money on your home for years to come. Start beginning on these homeownership pointers as early as possible. This will enable you to start saving money quicker rather than wondering where did all that money go. Plus, a few of these tasks will be easier to accomplish prior to you hanging pictures or get too settled in and lose your move-in momentum.
Things to do after purchasing a home to save on energy and maintenance costs
1. Check the insulation in your attic and install more if required.
Pop your head up in the attic and take a look around. You need to take a look at the insulation up there between the beams, and there should be at least 6 inches of it all over (more if you reside in the northern part of the United States).
If there’s insufficient insulation up there– or the insulation you have appears to be inferior install new insulation. Here’s a fantastic guide from the Department of Energy on attic insulation, including specifics on how much you should have depending upon where you live.
Lots of states use financial rewards, up to a 75% refund for example, to encourage property owners to better insulate their homes.
2. Lower the temperature on your hot water heating unit down to 120 degrees Fahrenheit (55 degrees Celsius).
This is the maximum temperature for your warm water heating unit. Many people don’t use water hotter than 120 degrees. Beside, the energy required to keep the water above 120 degrees isn’t used effectively and will cost you more. Lower the temperature level by a few degrees and conserve money on your energy costs.
3. Toss a hot water heater blanket over that hot water heating unit as well.
While the majority of modern-day hot water heaters are well-insulated, some are insulated much better than others, and lots of older heaters aren’t insulated well at all. A small investment in a hot water heater blanket for your water heater will gradually save you cash on your heating bill by keeping the heat in the water instead of letting it distribute into your basement or garage.
The Department of Energy advises being "careful not to cover the hot water heater's top, bottom, thermostat, or burner compartment." And obviously, on-demand (or "tankless") water heaters don't need this treatment.
4. Set up ceiling fans in all bedrooms.
Ceiling fans are a low-energy way to keep air circulating in your house. Because of the air circulation effect, you can get away with keeping your thermostat a degree or two higher in summertime and a degree or 2 lower in winter, netting a rather large savings.
The most essential thing to know about making the most of ceiling fan usage is that the air directly below the fan should be blowing down on you in the summertime and ought to be pulled upwards far from you in the winter.
5. Wrap exposed pipes with insulation
Exposed warm water pipelines lose heat as they move water from your heating unit to your faucet or shower. Covering them in pipeline insulation, specifically in cold basements or garages, can make a two- to four-degree difference in the temperature of the water, and likewise enables hot water to reach your faucet quicker.
Inspect the pipes into and out of your hot water heating system first, as the first 3 feet out of the heating unit (and the last few feet of inlet water) are crucial.
6. Set up a programmable thermostat– and discover how to utilize it.
A programmable thermostat allows you to schedule automated temperature changes in your house, conserving cash on cooling in the summer season and heating in the winter.
They’re simple to set up and easy to use, especially if you keep a fairly routine schedule. Just program the thermostat to drop a couple of degrees at night while you’re sleeping or off at work throughout the day, and set it to return to your preferred temperature level prior to you awaken or return house from work.
7. Change your air filters.
When you first move in, you need to change the air handling filter or the filter on your furnace or AC system. Do not worry, it’s easy to do…. it takes about 10 seconds.
Decrease to your air managing system, discover where the filter is (it’s almost always a big rectangular shape), and mark down the measurements (printed around the edges). Then, go to the hardware shop and pick up a few of them. Or you can order them on line and have them delivered to your door every 6 months. Go home and replace the old one with a brand-new filter, and save the rest so you always have a tidy one ready to go. An outdated filter not just doesn’t filter air as well, it also has a negative influence on air flow, exhausting your air managing system or HVAC system into working harder– and use more energy– to drain lower quality air.
8. Ensure the vents in all spaces are clear of dust and obstructions
None of the vents in your home should be covered or obstructed by anything. Doing that makes your heating and cooling work overtime. You need to also check all of your vents and make certain they are as dust-free as possible. This improves air flow into the space, lowering the amount of blowing required.
9. Hang a clothes rack in your utility room (or even better, an outside clothesline).
Even an efficient clothing dryer can actually consume your energy costs, but it’s practical for many individuals. If you’re willing to battle that benefit, you can save cash by hanging a clothes rack from the wall in the utility room and utilizing it for some items; t-shirts, underclothing, towels, and pillow cases dry terrific 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 clothes dryer 20% less than in the past, conserving you cash.
Even better: If you can, set up a clothesline in your backyard and hang the majority of your clothes to dry outside, where an excellent breeze can do the work of a clothes dryer in no time and at no charge.
10. Check all toilets and under-sink pipes for leakages or continuous running– and inspect faucets, too.
Do an inspection of the plumbing in your home before you settle in. If you discover a toilet is running continuously, it’s going to cost you money– here’s how to easily repair that constantly-running toilet.
You should likewise peek under the basin of all the sinks in your house, just to make sure there aren’t any leakages. Got a dripping faucet? You ought to repair or change any of those, due to the fact that the drip-drip-drip of water is also a drip-drip-drip of money; not to mention the awful interplay between mold and home insurance.
11. Install LED light bulbs.
LED bulbs can conserve you a great deal of cash on energy use over the long run, plus they have a lot longer lives than typical incandescent bulbs, making them well worth the in advance investment. Consider installing LED bulbs in a lot of locations– particularly in locations where the lights may remain in use for long periods, like the living room or kitchen area, or left on unintentionally, like a back corridor or basement.
12. Choose energy efficient appliances, even if you need to pay more up front.
Unless you were lucky sufficient to purchase a fully-furnished home, you’ll likely need to do some device shopping. Focus on dependability and energy performance above all, even if that seriously increases the expense you need to pay up front. A fridge that uses little energy and lasts 20 years is far, far more affordable over the long term than a refrigerator that runs for 7 years and guzzles electricity. If you plan ahead, you can buy it with a charge card that offers a huge sign-up perk. You’ll pay the balance off right away and walk away with hundreds in cash or travel benefits.
13. Establish your home electronics with a SmartStrip or 2.
Anticipating getting your tv, cable television box, DVD gamer, stereo, and computer game console set up? When you do it, set things up with appropriate rise defense (to protect your devices from electrical rises). You might also want to consider a SmartStrip, which makes it simple to “disconnect” devices that aren’t in use.
A SmartStrip allows the on-off status of one gadget– say, the tv– to manage whether there’s power flowing to other gadgets (say, the DVD gamer or the video game console). Having the power cut immediately from such auxiliary devices can conserve a lot of cash with time, specifically given that lots of such gadgets eat a fair bit of power as they sit there in standby mode, continuously draining your cash.
14. Plant shade trees near your house plan you back yard.
Mother nature can help you conserve considerably on your summer cooling costs– and heating costs in winter, too.
Plant deciduous trees– the kind that lose their leaves in the fall– on the western and eastern sides of your home. The leafy shade trees will naturally cool your home throughout the hot summer season by minimizing the amount of direct sunshine that hits your house.
In the winter, they’ll lose their leaves, allowing that same sunshine to stream through your windows and heat up the house a bit more. And if you plant evergreens on the north and northwest sides of your house, they won’t affect the sunlight, however will shield your house from cold winter season winds.
As an added advantage, fully grown trees can increase your home worth. Just make certain to plant them a safe range from power lines and your home itself (no one desires a downed limb poking through their roofing system). Plant them now, and they’ll grow and shade your house sooner.
15. Change the locks and make extra keys.
One of the first things numerous property owners do is change the locks on their new house. You do not need to be particularly useful to set up brand-new door hardware, and a set of fundamental doorknobs and locks for your front and back entrance will only set you back $20-$ 80 or two. It may seem unneeded, but there’s no other way to know whether there are copies of your old essential floating around, and who may have them if so. Investing a little cash and time today can safeguard you from break-in down the road.
While you’re at it, get an extra copy of your secret made and leave it with someone you trust, so you do not have to spend $100 to a locksmith professional when you inevitably lock yourself out.
16. Air-seal your home.
This isn’t such a problem in brand-new homes, a few of which are constructed tight as drums, however in older homes, it’s important to try to find any places where air may be leaking directly into or out of your house. Typical trouble spots are around entrances, windows, and even electric outlets.
These aren’t just air leakages– they’re money leaks. Thankfully, repairing small air leakages is pretty easy– here’s a fantastic Department of Energy guide to caulking and weather removing, which will keep such air leaks from drawing the heat– and cash– out of your home.
17. Make the most of tax benefits and other rewards.
The IRS uses a number of tax benefits for energy-efficient house enhancements. Items such as solar panels, solar water heaters, geothermal pumps, wind turbines, and biomass heaters receive a tax credit equal to 26% of the worth of the improvement, while other enhancements such as skylights get a tax credit equal to 10% of the cost of the enhancement. Not only do these enhancements decrease the energy expense of your home and enhance your property worth, the IRS spends for part of them with a tax credit.
Your state or city may provide much more benefits, from no-interest loans to rebates, so do some research when you invest cash improving the efficiency of your home– you might save a lot more money than you anticipated.
Many states and local energy business likewise supply home energy audits free of charge or at a discount. Someone will completely check your house to discover where you’re wasting energy. They’ll look for air leakages and uninsulated pipelines, test the effectiveness of your cooling and heating devices, and even replace any older incandescent light bulbs for free.
18. Establish a home maintenance list, and run through it for the very first time.
One last pointer: Create a home upkeep list. This list should consist of routine home maintenance jobs that you ‘d wish to do on a month-to-month, quarterly, or annual basis. Then, make it a habit to go through the products on this list every now and then. Doing so will extend the life of practically whatever in your house, conserving you pails of money with time.
Termites are attracted to wood and moisture, and they can get into your house through even the tiniest of cracks. You don’t want your home turning to dust right under you.
To prevent expensive structural damage to your home, make sure there is no wood touching the ground near your house (like lumber, firewood, or tree stumps). Prevent any moisture from accumulating around your foundation by making sure the ground slopes away from your house, and hire an exterminator to regularly perform a pest inspection.
Mold can grow in humid or damp areas and can cause health problems. If your HVAC system is contaminated, mold can spread throughout your home every time the furnace is running.
Because of its complexity, your home’s HVAC system—which controls heat, cooling, and the circulation of air throughout the residence—is not something you’ll be able to inspect, repair or replace yourself unless you’re an HVAC professional.
Preventing mold problems is a matter of keeping water out and fixing any leaks conducive to mold growth. If your home is very humid, an air conditioner or dehumidifier will help prevent mold growth.
Mold is not always visible; it can be hidden behind wallpaper, under carpeting, and in a variety of other places. Mold can cause allergic or irritating reactions and asthma attacks.
21. Landscaping and Lawn Care
Whether you handle the yard work yourself or hire a professional, you will have to pay something to keep your landscaping in check. Lawn equipment can be costly and, if you have considerable acreage, you may need equipment like a snowblower or a leaf blower, too.
This isn’t just cosmetic. Hanging tree limbs can fall and damage roofs and windows, and a plethora of leaves or overgrown plants can clog gutters, impacting drainage, plumbing, and outdoor HVAC unit systems. Many HOAs require members to maintain the grounds of their homes for these reasons.
The Bottom Line
When most people think about the costs of homeownership, they think only about the monthly mortgage payments on their residences. Not only must property taxes and insurance be considered, but also maintenance and repair costs.
In fact, unexpected repairs—think replacing or repairing the roof, fixing loose tiles in the shower, removing an overgrown or dead tree, or paying for mold mitigation in a damp basement—typically lead to the highest bills. The list of possibilities is endless, so the best thing homeowners can do is to set aside savings for an emergency. Some financial experts suggest budgeting for 1% or 2% of your mortgage balance as a yearly maintenance and repair fund, but the amount you should save depends on the age, condition, and size of your home.
Mortgage lenders won’t factor this into their equations when determining a loan amount, but you should. It’s a good thing to own your own home—but before you buy, make sure you’re prepared for the true cost.