Home Maintenance Tasks That Save You Money
Many homeowners dream of making amazing changes to their homes, such as adding rooms or beautifying their grounds. These dream projects might not be financially feasible.
You shouldn't let this stop you from taking care of your home. You can save money by focusing on small repairs and avoiding costly fixes that could affect your home's value.
So after you stop worrying about interest rates, here are some simple tasks you can do to reduce household expenses.
1. Replace HVAC filters
The furnace and air conditioner filters trap allergens and dust in the air so you can breathe cleaner air. The furnace and air conditioner filters should be changed every few months. Regularly changing filters can also help lower utility bills. HVAC systems that are dirty use more energy and run harder.
2. Leakage in faucets can be fixed
Dripping faucets can literally lead to money going down the drain. According to the U.S. Geological Survey's fun drip calculator , a faucet that drips only once per minute is a waste of 34 gallons of water per year.
Stop the leakage as soon as possible.
3. Caulk the bathtub and shower
A tube of caulk can be purchased for a few dollars. Repairing mold-infested bathroom tiles and drywall can be costly.
Keep water out of walls and floors by sealing seams around tubs, showers, and fixtures with caulk.
Silicone caulk can be applied more quickly than latex, but it lasts much longer. Some products combine both.
Lowe's Caulk Buying Guide explains all about different types of caulk. To prevent mold growth, you can use a product that contains fungicides in bathrooms.
You should practice using a bead caulk before you begin to tackle your bathroom. It takes only a few minutes to master the use of a caulk gun, and to apply caulk properly.
4. Examine the sump pump
Installing a sump pump in a low area like your crawl space or basement will keep water out of your home. It prevents water damage from destroying your home and causing costly cleanup.
If your pump is not starting, check it regularly and have it replaced immediately.
5. Install a programmable thermostat
Another simple upgrade for your home is a new thermostat. Programmable thermostats (or smart thermostats) can help you save money. They allow you to set and maintain a comfortable temperature at home and a lower temperature while you're away.
According to Consumer Reports' thermostat Buying Guide, programming thermostats can help you save $50 per year on energy costs. You can save the most money by choosing a simple device that you can easily install.
6. Check the cords and outlets of electrical appliances
An electrical fire hazard can be created by faulty wiring. To inspect your home for light switches, cords, and outlets, take a tour.
These are signs of danger
- Exposed wire
- Connected with electrical tape, spliced wire
- Multiplier extension cords and overloaded power strips
If you are experiencing flickering lights or warm fixtures, or outlets that don't always work, hire a licensed electrician.
7. Replace smoke detector batteries
Smoke detectors can save lives.
Batteries and detectors are inexpensive so you just need to remember to test your detectors every month and replace the batteries every six months.
8. Make sure your toilets are working properly
Running toilets waste water which can increase your water bill and cause damage to precious resources. Running toilets can be fixed easily.
The simple mechanism that regulates water flow can be faulty and cause many problems. The tank's lid can be removed and the problem will be easily identified by flushing the tank a few times, then watching.
Take a picture of the internal parts of your toilet. Bring the photo and the damaged part to the hardware store for replacements. Ask the store specialist for assistance in ensuring you are purchasing the right replacement part.
9. Wrap the water heater
Energy.gov estimates that wrapping your hot water heater with an insulating blanket will save you between 7% and 16% on water heating costs. Blankets and jackets that are pre-cut start at $20
Ready-made insulating water heater jackets are available at Home Depot and Amazon.
Older tanks may be already insulated. However, make sure to check that the insulation is adequate. Energy.gov recommends that you look for an R-value at least 24.
10. Leakage in doors and windows should be sealed
Your expensive heated or cooled air can be sucked into the great outdoors by tiny cracks at windows and doors.
To check for any leaks in your home's interior, inspect it. Bring along:
- Notes on areas that you will need to return to with a pencil and paper
- Caulk tube for filling cracks
- Spray insulation foam sealer can be used to fill larger gaps
- A digital thermometer and a candle
To check for temperature variations that indicate a leak, use the thermometer. Hold the candle lit up to the windows and doors with your hands. Air leaks will be identified by the flame's flicker.
Check for leaks around appliance vents, hoses and plumbing fixtures that meet outside walls.
11. Turn off the water heater
Water heaters can become clogged with sediment. It is important to give it an annual clean in order to keep it running smoothly. You can also hire someone to do it.
12. Insulate your attic
This job should offer a high return on investment, with lower fuel bills and increased comfort. According to Energystar.gov , attic insulation has the greatest potential for energy savings.
Tip: Before you begin insulation, make sure that there are no air leaks.
13. Weatherstripping can be installed
Weatherstripping is a way to seal air leaks around doors. There are many options for weatherstripping, from foam and felt to foam. Attach door sweeps at the bottom edge of doors. Energy.gov's Weatherstripping Guide explains the best way to select and apply products.
Weatherstripping that is not yet installed should be checked for cracks or brittleness. It may need to be replaced from time to time.
14. A clothesline can be strung
Another way to cut down on fuel consumption is to set up a clothesline in your yard to dry your laundry. This will be both good for your wallet and the environment.
A basement clothesline can be an option if you are unable to run a clothesline outside.
15. Take a tour of your home's perimeter twice
You can take a second look at your home from the outside. Do this two times. Look out for plants that touch or brush against the foundation or house during the second round. Cut them down and remove any soil or mulch that touches siding. It could be carrying moisture or insects into your house.
Wait until after a heavy downpour to schedule your next tour. You should inspect your lawn and garden for areas that channel water towards your home or trap water at the foundation. These areas can be fixed by simply grabbing a shovel, or by reshaping the ground. You may also need to make landscaping repairs and install drainage.
Make sure that gutters and downspouts drain water away from structures.
16. Your siding needs some tender loving care
An annual cleaning will brighten the siding of your home and protect it from damage. HouseLogic recommends cleaning the exterior of your house with warm soapy water and a quarter cup of trisodium phosphate (TSP). Use a soft-bristled brush with a long handle.
You can also clean your siding to identify any problems, such as cracks, mildew and crumbling mortar.