When we say monthly bills, the common misconception is saving on the monthly bills is all about cutting energy costs. Not true. Cutting down on monthly bills is easier if you know where to start. Here are some home improvement ideas to help you stretch your dollars.
1) Install LED light bulbs
If you haven’t updated your incandescent bulbs, now is the perfect time to do so. Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) will do. However, if you want a much better option, go for LED (light emitting diode) lights. LEB lights are four times more energy-efficient than incandescent lamps. You can save up to $0.60 per LED light per month. Imagine how much you can save if you’ll update all your bulbs.
2) Seal air leaks
Leaks affect the indoor air quality. Air sealing the windows and doors is the next best thing to keep ventilation intact. This means no cool air is lost during the summer and no warm air is lost during the winter. Thereby, you’ll be able to maximize the utility of the entire ventilation system. There might be an initial cost for the sealing and weatherstripping materials, about $50 to $80. For all that, though, you may save up to 10% on the bill.
3) Insulate the attic
A home’s heating and cooling needs will be reduced up to 30% if insulation will be installed in the attic. For that extra savings, do the same on basement walls, ceilings and crawl spaces. You need to do this if your house is built more than 20 years ago to take advantage of the additional savings.
4) Install storm windows
Replacing windows are downright costly. Nonetheless, if replacements are necessary, you might as well place storm windows. There are triple-track windows with one sliding screen and two glass sashes available for only $1,200 a dozen. Aside from the easy installation, they can reduce the heat losses up to 25%. Don’t worry, there are stylish storm windows that align with the overall aesthetic of your house.
5) Replace the furnace
If you find your home too cold, perhaps, the furnace already needs a replacement. Gas- or oil-fired furnaces can only last up to 20 years. If yours is older than the average lifespan, replace it with an energy star-rated furnace. The initial investment could be high, but it can save you up to 20% of the heating costs.
6) Change the shower heater
Hot water heater accounts for up to 15% of our monthly bills, and even higher depending on how old your house is. New models of electric water heaters cost around $750 to $800 including installation. While it may be costly upfront, but you may save up to 20% on the bill. While at it, install a heater blanket and insulate the exposed hot water pipes for extra savings.
7) Buy appliances with energy star
Washers, fridges, and other electrical appliances are now rated with energy star, which is the epitome of energy efficiency nowadays. The higher the rating, the more efficient the appliance is. An energy star-rated fridge, for instance, may cost between $400 to $900, depending on the type and style. In spite of the cost, owners can save up to $100 annually.
8) Use a programmable thermostat
A programmable thermostat alone can save up to 10% of your utility bills. This device can be set depending on the heating and cooling requirements of your home. For example, you may keep it at 65 degrees during the day and 55 degrees at night. Every temperature drops is an additional percentage on your savings with only a minimal $70 investment.
9) Wash clothes in cold water
Clothes washers cost between $600 and $800. However, you can save up to $110 per year if you are going to use a cold washer with energy star. You can save further if you will wash the clothes using cold water. A washer may use up to 90% of its energy just for heating the water. An average home does about 400 laundry loads on an annual basis if. Thus, you will incur hundreds of dollars since you will require less energy per laundry load.
10) Start a garden
Start a garden for growing and consuming your own fruits and veggies has never been more rewarding. Herbs and spices are the most common choices though. If done right, you can also turn this green-thumb hobby into a profitable business. For instance, after setting aside what you and your family will need, you may process the excess and sell them in jars.
If you are serious about saving on your bills, you need to look at it from the cost and benefit perspective. Yes, initial investments are required for some home improvement suggestions not above. However, the benefits from such are immense they can offset the costs in due time.