Owning a home is an exciting experience, but it is one that comes with extra costs at the end every month. Thankfully, maintaining a home doesn’t have to be expensive. Since the recurring monthly costs aren’t fixed, there is a lot you can do to keep them down. This article highlights some improvements you should consider as a homeowner if you want to keep your monthly costs down.
1. Smart Home Tech
Smart home tech is one of the first investments you should make if you want to save money both in the short and long term. Smart tech also gives you convenience. Examples of smart home investments you can consider include:
Smart thermostat: This is an investment that will help you save on your heating and cooling expenses. The thermostat can switch off automatically when you leave home and thus you will avoid cooling and heating it when no one is home. Also, smart thermostats can adjust to your heating and cooling preferences with time. Finally, you get the option of adjusting the temperatures while away from home.
Smart lighting: With motion sensors, the lights remain off when no one is in a room, and this can cut your energy usage by a good percentage. Smart lighting also entails the use of an app to control your lighting even when you are away from home. With such features, you avoid leaving lights on unnecessarily.
Smart sprinklers: Smart sprinklers can keep your water bill down in a couple of ways. For instance, with a smart sprinkler, you can set watering schedules and turn water on and off using an app. Also, some smart sprinklers can detect changes in weather and automatically turn off when it is raining. Others are smart enough to calculate just how much water your yard needs and the watering frequency.
2. Tankless Water Heater
A tankless water heater can reduce your energy bills since the water gets heated on demand, unlike with a tank water heater where energy is used to keep water hot throughout the day. Also, it will save you money in the long-term because it has a longer lifespan.
Less energy consumption translates to less fossil fuel consumption, and this reduces carbon dioxide emissions. While low concentrations of carbon dioxide are not harmful, too much of it in the environment leads to global warming. Thus, by consuming less energy, you not only save money, but also the environment. Global warming can lead to serious issues such as drought, wildlife extinction and ocean acidification.
3. Low Flow Toilets and Showerheads
In every household, toilets and showers are used a few times each day. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the United States uses 1.2 trillion gallons of water each year for showering only. Shifting to low flow plumbing and showerheads with a WaterSense label can reduce the amount of water that your family uses every day. Newer low flow toilets are much more efficient since they come with two flush options, one for liquid waste and another for solid waste.
4. Energy Efficient Appliances
When changing your appliances, ensure you go for the highly efficient ones. Appliances that are not energy efficient will add to your monthly bills and thus you should always check the energy ratings. You should change your appliances if they are too old or not functioning optimally. Also, note that how you use and maintain your appliances can affect your power bills. To avoid high energy bills and repair costs, turn your appliances off when not in use, use them as per the manufacturer’s guidelines and clean and maintain them well.
5. Safety and Security System
A security system gives your home a safety boost and it can also lower your home insurance costs. This is because insurers know that homes with safety and security systems are less likely to be invaded by burglars. And when the risk is low, the premiums will also be lower. Other than the money saving benefits, investing in safety and security systems for your home is essential for the wellbeing of your family.
6. Energy Efficient Doors and Windows
Replacing your old doors and windows with energy efficient ones is another way to lower energy consumption in your home. If your budget doesn’t allow you to get new ones, you can work with a contractor to make improvements that will reduce energy loss through windows and doors. When choosing new ones, go for the ones that are Energy Star certified. Also, note that the choice should be made based on the climate in your area.
7. Solar Panels
Solar energy has so many benefits to a homeowner. Firstly, it tends to be very cheap since it comes from the sun which is free. The initial cost of installing the panels can be high but after that, you will enjoy energy flow at minimal costs. By installing some solar panels, you can cut your energy bills immensely. Secondly, solar energy has multiple uses. It can be used for lighting, heating water, and powering appliances among many others. Thirdly, solar is a renewable source of energy. Thus, you will continue getting energy as long as there is sunlight. Your investment will never be obsolete. Fourthly, relying on solar energy is a great way to conserve the environment.
In most states, homeowners investing in solar energy qualify for tax credits. The amount is usually a percentage of the cost of buying the solar system. Tax credit for solar installations in the Bay Area is currently 30%. The figures are set to go down in the next few years and thus if you want to enjoy maximum benefit, you should buy your system as soon as possible. According to an article on https://sempersolaris.com/locations/bay-area/ the cost of the solar system can pay itself off in roughly five to six years. Semper Solaris is a locally and veteran owned company in the United States offering solar, roofing and battery storage. They are known as one of the best solar companies in the Bay Area, so they are definitely worth checking out if this is where you are based.
8. Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans can be used in homes to lower the cost of cooling during the hot months. However, they can only be installed in rooms where the ceiling is high. Also, note that they come in different sizes. Choose the bigger sizes for the big rooms to ensure the cool air circulates well. And just like any other energy powered items in your home, ensure that you turn your fans off when you don’t need cooling to cut on energy consumption.
9. Rain Water Harvesting System
This is an easy project as all you need is a storage tank, gutters and filter. Don’t buy a big tank if your area doesn’t get a lot of rainfall. This will only be a waste of money and space. Those with limited spaces in their homes can go for underground storage. Ensure you check the regulations in your area before installing a rain water harvesting systems. This is because in some areas it is actually illegal to collect rain water. In other areas, there are restrictions on how you can use the collected water. Other states require that the water harvesting systems be designed and installed by a professional.
The harvested water can be used for cleaning, watering the plants, flushing toilets, washing the car and for laundry. In areas with water shortage, the water can be purified and treated and used for cooking and cleaning. Don’t drink the water unless you are 100% sure that it is safe to do so. While rain water is clean, the atmosphere it passes through and the system used for storage may contaminate it. Some states forbid use of rain water for any indoor use. By harvesting rain water, you can reduce your monthly water bill. Rain water harvesting is also beneficial to the environment in that such systems eliminate issues of stagnant water and soil erosion.
Trees not only boost the beauty of your home, but they can also lower your energy bills. During the hot months, trees planted strategically provide a cooling effect. Thus, you won’t have to spend much on cooling bills. When choosing trees for your home, ensure you take into account the climate in your area. Also, consider the size of the tree. Trees that grow too tall at maturity should not be planted too close to the house. The same applies for the roots. Roots can damage the foundation of your house if you grow trees too close to the house. If you aren’t sure which tree to plant or how deep and big a certain tree can grow, talk to a tree expert in your area. It is better to pay that consultation fee than to end up with huge repair bills later on.
11. Quality Gutters
If you don’t have quality gutters in your home, you risk getting damage on your roof and the foundation. Water damage caused by lack of quality gutters not only gives you extra repair costs but it can also decrease the value of your home. Therefore, ensure your home has quality gutters installed. You can actually have them custom made for good performance, aesthetics and durability. If you aren’t sure if you home needs new gutters, check for the following signs; cracks and leakage, rust, mold and mildew, cracking foundation, sagging gutters and standing water.
Insulating your house, especially the attic, is another home improvement project that can be helpful in saving money in the long run. When your house is well insulated, you won’t have to spend much to keep it cool during summer or warm during the colder months. This is especially important for older homes that were constructed without energy efficiency in mind. If you are not sure how much insulation you home needs, start with an energy audit. In addition to saving you money, home insulation can improve the aesthetic appeal of your house. Additionally, by reducing energy consumption, you will be saving the environment.
By making simple improvements to your home, you will save on your total monthly expenditure in the long and short term. Most of the above projects will also give a boost to the value of your home and thus if you are looking to sell in future, you will have a basis for negotiating for a high price. You don’t have to make all the improvements at once. You can start with the most basic if your budget is low or you could start with the most pressing issue. For instance, if your gutters are leaking, replace those first because they are already a concern.
For finances, you can use your savings or you could borrow a home improvement loan. When borrowing loans, ensure you weigh the benefit of the project and the cost of the loan. Also, avoid taking loans unless you are sure you have the means to pay it on time. When you miss payments, you ruin your credit score and this will affect future financing. If you choose to save for home improvements, come up with a minimum amount that you will be setting aside every month. When you earn extra or spend less on something, save more. Make use of cash back apps and other reward systems to boost your savings.
Finally, when handling any home project, whether big or small, plan well in advance and choose the right contractor. Ensure you have an understanding of why you want to do the project, the expected results, and the things you will need. Consider the drawbacks too. When choosing a contractor, pay close attention to qualifications, experience and reputation. Each state has different expectations for different contractors. Don’t hire a contractor who falls short of the legal requirements and also do some more homework to ensure the contractor treats clients well. When you hire the wrong person, the job will not be done right. This will end up costing you more in the long run instead of saving you money. For the projects you choose to handle by yourself, ensure you have the time and skill to complete them well. If you are not sure, hire someone to avoid injuring yourself and damaging your property.