(StatePoint) Whether you’re a homeowner or a renter, these savvy approaches to running your home can save you money. Homes.com, a leading online real estate destination, and sister site, ForRent.com, offer suggestions that won’t take much time or effort.
• Programmable Thermostats: Available for about $50-$100, programmable or “smart” thermostats can save hundreds of dollars yearly on electricity bills, taking the guesswork out of finding a comfortable temperature for your home. Some models even come equipped with Wi-Fi so you can turn down the thermostat remotely.
• Low-Flow Shower: Don’t wash money down the drain. By taking the environmentally friendly step of replacing outdated showerheads with new low-flow models, you can reduce your water use in the shower by 25 to 60 percent, as well as increase hot water efficiency, according to Energy Department statistics.
• Extra Payment: Over the course of a 30-year loan, one additional mortgage payment yearly can save thousands on annual interest payments.
• Unplug: Many gadgets and appliances consume power even when turned off, a phenomenon known as “phantom power.” Unplug or use a smart power strip to save an estimated five to ten percent on electric.
• House Plants: With air pollution levels increasing, improving indoor air quality is important. But air purifiers can cost hundreds of dollars. Consider houseplants to remove toxins from the air and add color, warmth and comfort.
• Dodge the Draft: As a house ages, hot and cold air from outside often creeps in. Weatherproofing is an inexpensive, simple task that can save up to 15 percent on heating and cooling costs. There are a variety of weatherproofing products, including v strip, felt, and foam tape. Research what your home needs. You can also get a home energy audit to discover ways to improve your home’s interior quality.
• Do-it-Yourself: Redecorating can make a home feel new. However, professionals often come with a hefty price tag, so use online resources to jump on the DIY bandwagon or check out free DIY workshops at hardware stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s.
• Ceiling Fans: An air conditioner uses 3,500 watts of energy, while a ceiling fan only uses 60 watts. Ceiling fans can even be useful during winter. Set the fan to run clockwise and the reverse motion will push warm air down from the ceiling.
• Shop Your Home: Before buying new home accessories, look for budget-friendly tweaks you can make. Rearrange furniture and lighting to change the feel of any space or switch decorations between rooms to make both feel different.
• Laundry: Consider washing most clothes (except towels and linens) in cold water. Use the dryer efficiently by filling but not overfilling the machine. Some energy-efficient appliances can qualify your family for an additional tax credit.
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