Who would think that a Realtor with 25 years in the industry would be writing this post? Our marketing person! So when the challenge was given, I accepted, as all strong real estate professionals would. Seriously, I started thinking that I throw out these tips in every showing, walk-through and house talk I’m privileged to give. I have surrounded myself with expert home inspectors, HVAC specialists and electricians. I listen when they are doing their jobs and store the information for future use. We all want our clients to be protected and happy in their homes. Undoubtedly, sharing this information is critical for them. So: TADAH, here are your 8 helpful and cost-effective home tips!
- MIND THE GAP!
Not just for the London underground. Caulk your windows, doors, chimneys, around the dryer vent and anywhere else that needs it. These little spaces allow bugs, critters and AIR in. Sealing these leaks can give you about 10-20% energy savings according to Energy.gov. With just a few hours of time and about $3-$30 of materials, it is a definite WIN preventing heat loss allowing you to reap the benefits of energy efficiency.
- Are you smarter than a smart thermostat?
No need to be; let it do the work for you. Energy efficiency improvements like a smart thermostat monitor your motion within the home: kinda of creepy but I digress. Like Santa it knows when you are awake, it knows when you sleep, it knows when you leave, but your bad and good actions are reserved for the big guy in the red suit. By adjusting the temperature during low activity times or while you’re away, you will save 10-12% on heating bills and 15% on cooling bills annually. AMAZING BONUS: Most electric companies offer cash rebates when you have one installed in your home!
- Insulation like location is everything! Check out houselogic.com or energy.gov to compare types of insulation. Walls and attics need it to assist in heating and cooling! The savings on your energy bill can be crazy good (20%+) and you just feel better in your home.
- Switch over to low flow faucets and shower heads.
Most shower heads use 2.5 gpm (gallons per minute) of water. Some water saving shower heads use only 1.5 gpm, saving you at least a gallon a minute! While you are singing away in the shower, you could save 365 gallons of water a year if you shower daily. Pat yourself on the back.
- Is it Time to Upgrade Your Dishwasher?
A new dishwasher uses about 6 gallons of water per cycle. Some energy efficient models use 4 gallons of water per cycle while older dishwasher models use as much as 10 gallons of water! The annual savings will help offset the cost of that new dishwasher. As a Realtor, I can tell you that installing newer and energy efficient appliances will result in a good ROI.
- Speaking of Upgrades, How Old is Your Water Heater?
The average hot water tank is rated to perform well for about 9 years. If yours is nearing the end of its life expectancy, it’s time to look into replacing it. Today’s new tanks offer amazing energy savings. If you want to go really crazy, explore tank-less water heaters: they can provide even more energy savings! Check out energy.gov for more details and energy usage comparisons.
- Clean your HVAC systems! In the Fall, have your furnace cleaned and checked thoroughly. In Springtime do the same for your air conditioning system. Change your filters monthly to avoid poor functionality. Changing filters alone can save you serious money and extends the life of your equipment.
- We all appreciate our lighting: Take a close look at yours!
Especially that beautiful perfect light that makes your skin look amazing…oh that is a different post. For energy savings think of using LED lighting and dimmer switches to minimize the amount of light used. In some cases, LED bulbs can cut energy consumption by 90%. Dimmer switches reset themselves every 120 seconds, thus modulating how much energy is needed.
Bottom line, doing all or any one of these things will make a difference in your monthly bills and positively affect our entire environment. We all must live right now, but let’s also think toward the future to what we are leaving for our kids and grand kids.
Let’s pay it forward and save a little cash in the process.
Written by: Charley Gallovitch, Director of Broker Support, Real People Realty