Look at Your Home If You Want to Save Money
How Important Are Savings
Everyone was affected by the recession. Times were difficult and regardless of economic status, Americans suffered greatly due to the financial difficulties of 2008-2009. Now that the recession is officially over, many consumers are still trying to return to their normal lives. One of the biggest complaints is that it is difficult to save. Holly Blakefield, economist for BankRate.com said, “When the recession was at its height, people realized that credit wasn’t the savior it was believed to be. What saved most people were liquid assets.”
It’s no secret that “Cash is King.” People are trying harder than ever to build up their coffers for emergencies, stability, and investments. The biggest way consumers can start saving is by looking at their homes. If you are trying to save, look at these ways to monitor your household and make necessary changes. It could mean a more efficient household and more cash in your pocket.
Heating and Cooling Expenses
Some of the biggest energy draws are running a home’s heating and cooling systems. Estimates are showing that 40% of residential energy bills are for either heating or cooling of a house. The best way to tap into that for efficiency is to have a good system for monitoring your temperature. Remember that even if your home is new, that does not mean it’s efficient. Frank O’Brien-Bernini, CEO for Owens Coming, said, “There is a huge gap between what is in the building code and what is needed for optimal energy efficiency.” Consumers have to take matters into their own hands when it comes to making a home efficient.
The primary thing a homeowner can do to help their heating and cooling system is to close up any leaks. Caulk, expandable sealant, weather stripping and foam board can all work together to stop air from escaping. Attics can be the most troublesome. Remember that heat rises and if your attic is windy with a lot of openings, you are losing hot air. That brings the temperature of your house down and, in turn, causes your heat to turn on.
Another tip is to always get your heating and cooling unit checked annually. It may cost $65 for a basic check, but preventative maintenance can pay off in the end. Coming added, “Paying a small fee to have your system checked can be much more inexpensive than waiting and having to replace a unit for thousands.”
Be aware of how much water costs
The next thing to watch out for is your water use. New studies are showing that over 80% of states anticipate having water shortages by the year 2013. This means that most likely there are going to be heftier costs and fines for excessive use. It’s good to get your home in order now, so you don’t find yourself in trouble in the future.
When it comes to water consumption, the best thing to do to conserve is to upgrade to water-efficient fixtures. Use low-flow showerheads. Charlie Szoradi, of Green and Save, said, “A $30 showerhead can save more money than $3,000 worth of solar panels.” It’s an easy fix and the payback is notable. In addition to fixtures, also check out the water heater and make sure the temperature is at 120° F. You can also insulate your water heater pipes to stop heat from escaping.
Electricity plays into Big Costs
The last large contributor to high house costs is electricity. While 40% of household expenses involve heating and cooling, another 40% involve electricity. Experts agree that this is relatively easy to manage though. One of the simplest things to do is replace lightbulbs with CFLs. You can also upgrade appliances to energy-efficient models. Not only are they more efficient, they also save you money. Take advantage of tax breaks, too. Many energy-star rated appliances can reduce your tax liability. Be sure to check with the rules in your case, but in most states you can take the cost, up to $1,500, off on your tax filing.
How to Find Savings
It may sound like a small amount if you end up saving just $40 a month in heat, but over the course of one year, that’s $480. Never underestimate the small changes that bring small savings. In the end, they all add up to notable savings. Take a look at your house and see where energy drains are. It’s the best and fastest way to keep money in your pocket.