There’s a special feeling that comes with owning your first home. For many of us, it’s a mixture of excitement about moving into a beautiful property and anxiety over the big budgetary burden it brings. Fortunately, you can relieve some of the stress with these cost-cutting tips.
A matter of degrees
A programmable thermostat is a wise investment for any cost-conscious homeowner. In winter, set it so the heat goes down a few degrees while you sleep at night, then comes on again and warms the house before you wake. Try the same thing while you’re out at work during the day.
In summertime, give your energy-hungry air conditioner a break by remembering to lower blinds and draw curtains. This will keep some of the sun’s heat out. Create more shade, if possible, by planting deciduous trees along the south and west sides of your home.
A natural dry
The dryer is one of the most power-hungry devices in your home. In some households, dryers account for more than 10% of total annual energy consumption. Put a damper on that expense by drying clothes and linens on a rack or an outdoor clothesline. It doesn’t even have to be hot outside – you can use the clothesline on a sunny winter’s day. Not only will you save money, but the sun’s rays act as a natural bleach, helping get rid of stains without the use of chemicals.
If you do use the dryer, make sure it runs at peak efficiency by cleaning the lint screen before each load. If possible, select a moisture sensor cycle that shuts the machine off once the clothes are dry.
No one likes watching their hard-earned money go down the drain. But if you use water inefficiently, that’s what you’ll be doing. Take control of your water bill by installing a low-flow shower head. Showers use a lot of water and a lot of energy, because the water is almost always heated. Low-flow shower heads use about 40% less water, and you won’t even notice the difference.
Another way to cut water-use is a low-flush or dual-flush toilet, which can save thousands of litres of water each year. If you don’t have low-flush toilets and want a cheaper alternative, simply fill a plastic bag or bottle with something heavy, such as stones or gravel, and place it inside your toilet tank. Be careful not to interfere with the flushing mechanism. The space taken up by the stones reduces the volume of water in the tank each time it fills, saving you money.
Tiny cracks and openings around windows and doors are a year-round source of significant energy loss from your home. Use a stick of burning incense to discover drafty areas and seal them up with peel-and-stick weather-stripping or new caulking.
A bright idea
If your home still has lamps and fixtures that use incandescent bulbs, invest in an upgrade and switch to compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) or light emitting diodes (LEDs). Although CFLs and LEDs cost more than incandescent bulbs, they use just a fraction of the energy and boast a much better lifespan. For example, an LED uses 90% less energy than an incandescent bulb, while lasting a whopping 25 times longer.
Got tips on how to save money around the home? Tell us about them.