Congratulations, you just moved into your nice new home. You’ve unloaded the boxes and started to unpack your life.
Right now is the perfect time to walk through a checklist of ways to save money on your home for years to come.
Starting on these things as early as possible will allow you to start saving money sooner rather than later. Plus, some of them will be easier to accomplish before you hang pictures or get too settled in — and lose your move-in momentum.
Here are 15 things to do immediately that will reduce the maintenance costs of your home over the long haul. You can read about them and click any of the links provided for more information.
1. Check Your Attic Insulation
An unfinished attic needs at least six inches of insulation between the beams. And if you live up north in places like Minnesota or Maine, you should have more than that.
If there’s inadequate insulation up there – or the insulation you have appears to be damaged – install new insulation. Here’s a great guide from the Department of Energy on attic insulation, including specifics on how much you should have depended on where you live. Many states offer financial incentives, up to a 75% refund, for instance, to encourage homeowners to better insulate their homes.
2. Lower the temperature of your hot water heater down to 120 degrees Fahrenheit (55 degrees Celsius).
This is the optimum temperature for your hot water heater. Most people don’t use water hotter than 120 degrees — indeed, water hotter than that can scald you or a child — and thus the energy needed to keep the water above 120 degrees isn’t used effectively. Lower the temperature, save money on your energy bill, and you’ll never skip a beat.
3. Insulate Your Hot Water Heater
You can buy an inexpensive insulating blanket at any hardware store that fits around your heater. Why pay to heat the air around your hot water heater? Besides, if the power (or gas) ever goes out, you’ll keep your water hot (or at least warm) for several hours.
DON’T cover the top or bottom of your heater, or near the pilot light.Click Here To Learn More on Insulation Blankets
4. Never Pay For Home Repairs Again
Many homeowners don’t have the extra cash to shell out for repairs when something in the house breaks. You most likely have homeowners insurance right? But what about if your washing machine of 10 years breaks down? Or your dryer just stops working one day? Homeowner insurance won’t cover those repairs. That’s why getting setup with a Home Warranty Program can actually end up saving you a lot of money in the long run. It will cover any unexpected repairs to your appliances, plumbing, water heaters, heating and other electrical systems. They also will replace anything that they can’t fix. Make sure you shop around for rates on a home warranty program – this website will give you quotes that you can then choose from. A home warranty program should be a minor cost that can end up saving you major money.Click Here To Learn More About A Home Warranty
7. Keep The Air Circulating
Install ceiling fans wherever possible. They are not too inexpensive and require relatively little electricity. Provided you change their reversal settings, so they blow down on you in summer and draw the air up and away from you in winter, the resultant air circulation should allow you to adjust your thermostat by a couple of degrees either way. You should see quite a significant saving in energy costs as a result.Click Here To Buy Ceiling Fans
8. Use LED and CFL Light Bulbs
In some parts of the country, the zoning and residential laws already mandate the use of these instead of incandescent bulbs. But whatever the rules are where your house is, you should make the effort to install them, especially where lights tend to be left on for a long time, like the kitchen and living room, or where they are accidentally left on, like the garage or basement. They may be a little bit more expensive upfront, but they last longer than the old type of bulb, so you save money in the long run. And check your house insurance; some companies will give you a rebate or lower rates for using LED and CFL bulbs.Click here to buy CFL and LED lights
9. Install A Home Alarm System
Did you know that homes without security systems are 2.5 times more likely to be targeted by burglars and intruders? But installing a home alarm system isn’t just to stop burglars and intruders, it can also save you big money year after year. A house alarm will save you money on your homeowner’s insurance policy (which is generally mandatory if you own a home). In fact, on average installing a home alarm system will give homeowners a 10-20% discount on their insurance by having a high functioning home alarm system installed. The good news is that these home alarm companies are pretty desperate for customers at the moment so you can get a good deal. For instance, one of the best alarm system companies – ADT is currently offering over $800 in savings if you just pay the installation fee. That means you basically get a free alarm system for over a year, just by paying a $99 fee.Learn More About ADT Security
10. Reduce Your Electricity Bill With Solar Panels
For Homeowners, rising monthly electricity costs can make you feel like you’re always living paycheck to paycheck. The good news is that now more than ever the government is offering subsidies to install solar panels. That means if you live in a sunny part of the United States, you may be able to qualify for a free installation, and it will significantly reduce your electricity costs in a matter of weeks. In fact, some Americans have saved as much as $183 per month on their energy bills. If you’re not happy with solar panels, you can always wait until the new Tesla home Powerwall is ready and purchase that. If you’d like to get a quote on solar panels in your area – you can visit SolarCity and get an idea of how much money you can save by making the switch.Learn More About Solar Installation For Your Home
11. Take A Saftey Check
Make sure you know where everything is so you can find it in an emergency, and make sure everything is working. This includes:
- The Fuse Box and main disconnect which controls the supply of power to the house.
- The water pipes which controls the water supply.
- Smoke and Carbon Monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers: It’s probably best to replace the batteries in the detectors and service the fire extinguishers unless you know for sure this was done recently by the previous owners.
- Planning the best emergency exits for you and your family in case you should need them.
12. Deduct Your Mortgage Interest On Your Tax Return
A report from Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation estimates some $70 billion in mortgage interest deductions annually among American taxpayers. Make sure you get your fair share — not just because mortgage interest can be substantial, but this tax break alone opens the door for many taxpayers to itemize other, smaller breaks instead of settling for the standard deduction. Simply use Form 1098 if you have paid more than $600 in mortgage interest in the tax year.
13. Get An Automatic House Thermostat
Programmable thermostats are standard issue in newly constructed houses, but if you’ve purchased an older house, you’d better check to see what kind of thermostat you have.
With an automated thermostat, you can schedule ahead for days, weeks, even months to control when you want the most heat and chill. That way, you can be gone all day to work, or all week on vacation, and not have to worry about a monstrous fuel bill.
The new programmable thermostats are easy to install. All you need is a screwdriver and a pair of needlenose pliers.Click Here To Buy A Nest Learning Thermostat
14. Get A Personal Loan (From $100 to $35,000)
Many homeowners might find that they are unexpectedly in a tough financial spot and need a little bit of help. That’s where personal loans can help. Personal loans can be used for almost any expense – from paying off credit cards to financing home repairs or even a much-needed vacation. They are typically paid back in monthly or bi-monthly installments over an extended period of time. Personal loans can be a convenient alternative to bank loans or high-interest credit cards, with online applications and no-hassle automated repayment. With AVANT you get access to loans for whatever you need and get to see the terms upfront before any commitment. Make sure you look at the interest rates offered and the loan repayment terms before going ahead with anything though.Click Here To Apply For A Personal Loan
15. Take Advantage Of Energy Tax Credits And Other Government Goodies
All sorts of incentives and tax credits are available to encourage energy saving in homes. They are available at all levels of government, from federal through state and county to your city or town. Check out which apply to you in your city and state. The installation of solar power is especially encouraged. Solar power tax incentives are probably one of the most common and easy to get installed. Depending on your state, you will have the option of leasing the equipment or simply buying it outright.
There are all sorts of tax advantages to owning a home instead of renting. Hopefully, you’ve already gotten with an accountant to take full advantage of these. But you may not know about federal programs in your area that allow you to claim an energy tax credit; the same goes for your state, county, and city or township. They all have programs, usually federally mandated and funded, to help homeowners increase the energy efficiency of their homes. Some of these programs are based on your income, but some of them simply have gobs of grant money to shower on whoever shows up first to claim it.
Bonus Tip – Create A Checklist
Before you settle back and become a couch potato in your new home, compile a maintenance checklist for your home and swear by the unholy mortgage you are carrying that you will follow through with it on at least a monthly basis. Checking on things like air filters, foundation cracks, weatherstripping, etc., will help extend the viability of all the nuts and bolts that make up your home and hopefully save you from ever having to call in a contractor for major repairs.
Again, wise old Ben Franklin knew what he was talking about because he also said: “A penny saved is a penny earned.”