With rising utility costs and overall living expenses, people everywhere are looking for creative ideas on how to reduce spending.  One of these major areas that can have a significant impact on your bottom line long-term is with heating, cooling, water, and electric bills.

Therefore, it is important to take strides whenever possible to help alleviate this financial burden.  We have devised a checklist of 7 items for you to review and determine where you can start cutting back expenses and improving overall efficiency in your home:

  1. Maintain your furnace and air conditioning units:  This is one area that homeowners tend to disregard.  Yet, just like conducting routing repairs on your automobiles, it is equally important to keep up with these items as well.  Once or twice a year, have a HVAC technician check out your heating and cooling system and make any needed repairs, to help improve the efficiency of your system.  Also, make sure you change your filters regularly to keep the air in your home clean and ensure that your system does not get clogged with dirt.  By ignoring this important step, you force your system to work even harder to supply you with heat or cool air, which costs you more money!
     
  2. Standby power: Did you know that many items around your house, such as your TV, entertainment system, Wii, computer, and microwave, are constantly drawing electricity even when they are not powered on?  In fact, items throughout your house such as these typically can account for approximately 10% of your total energy consumption!  Simply by having certain items plugged into a power cord that can be switched off when not in use, may have a significant impact.  If it is not feasible to have a power cord in certain areas, like your kitchen, you may want to unplug products such as your coffee or tea maker and toaster when not in use.
     
  3. Consider investing in a programmable thermostat:  Installing one of these can be fairly inexpensive and is extremely useful for families that are always on the go!  Simply set the meter to fluctuate a few degrees during key time frames, and the savings will really start to add up.  If this is not an option for you at this time, consider reducing your thermostat when leaving the house, so your system is not heating or cooling the house continuously when not in use.
     
  4. Decrease your water heater's temperature: Switching the temperature down to the lowest setting can impact your energy bills from 5-10%.  You will still have plenty of hot water and can enjoy some extra cost savings as well.  Also, if it's time to get a new water heater, consider investing in a tankless system.  The tankless water heater is far more efficient than traditional water heaters and take up less space.
     
  5. Change your appliance settings:  Many dishwashers, washers, and dryers have advanced settings that could also be increasing your utility bills.  Consider turning off those extra bells and whistles such as the heated dry, automatic sensor settings, or wrinkle shield.  Also, you can wash with cold water and only do large loads when necessary.
     
  6. Dimmer switches and motion detectors:  Another tip is to replace your current fixtures or switches with these energy efficient alternatives.  You will be able to consume far less energy and your family will only use light when necessary.  Even if you do not install these items, get in the habit of shutting off the lights in any room that is not occupied.  Also, replacing your light bulbs with ones that are more energy efficient will help trim your monthly costs.
     
  7. Check your irrigation system annually:  If you have an irrigation system, you should have your water line drained during the cold season, and re-evaluated in the spring for potential leaks.  Leaks in the irrigation line could increase your water bill significantly.  Having a landscaper check the lines in advance to ensure everything is in proper working order, could save you lots of money and headache later.

By following these 7 simple steps, you will begin to save more money and consume fewer resources.  There are so many other ways that you can improve energy efficiency as well, so we encourage you to take the time to research what may be beneficial for you.  Be sure to bookmark our page for regular updates and other free real estate related tips.  Also, please don't hesitate to refer us to a friend or family member!  Thanks for stopping by.