by Client Care
on Friday, September 7th, 2012 at 9:45am.
In the current economy, credit is tight and people are worried about money. Hours are being cut and salaries are down. To improve your cash flow situation, you have two options: work more or spend less. Of the two options, only the latter is in your direct control, and fortunately you have a lot of options. We’ve all heard about how people are cutting back on a variety of services to save money, and that makes a lot of sense. However, by making some small investments in your home, you can improve your comfort while saving money on your home’s operating costs at the same time. Making these small investments now will continue save you money long after the bad times have past. Let’s take a look at some of the low cost steps that you can take to better manage your homes heating and cooling costs.
The cheapest way to improve you energy expenses is to simply modify your behavior and energy usage patterns. Turning the heat down or the AC up a few degrees can save you 5% or more each season. Taking a look at your other major appliances and configuring them to run as efficiently as possible will save you a considerable amount on your energy bill and once you’ve made the changes, you won’t have to think too much about it. Try washing your clothes in cold water, turn off the heated dry on your dishwasher, and use the moisture sensor option on your clothes dryer (if your model has one). Each of these appliances uses a lot of energy if configured poorly. In the summer, use fans to keep you cool. They use far less energy than an air conditioner. During the day, close the house up and make sure blinds are drawn on west and south facing windows. This will make your air conditioners job a lot easier. Your home will also be more comfortable because it won’t be so unevenly heated. Air conditioning is a major monthly expense in the warmer parts of the country so everything that you can do to minimize the use of your system will provide a substantial payback over the course of the cooling season. In cold climates the same is true for home heating costs.
Because cash flow is important, keeping energy saving investment costs as low as possible is important. Fortunately, there are number of low cost improvements that you can make to your home. First, if you don’t have a programmable thermostat buy one as soon as possible. These generally cost between $50 - $100 and can save you between 10-30% on your heating and cooling costs. As such, the payback on such an investment is very fast. The great thing about these thermostats is that even if you are renting, you can install one and start saving right away. When you move out, just reinstall the old thermostat and take yours with you to your next apartment or rental home. The same is true for low flow showerheads. These devices save water and the energy needed to heat the water. You can buy them for as little as $10 at your local home improvement center. It’s best to do a little research up front as the type of stream they produce varies quite a bit and if you are particular about your showers, you will want to be reasonably sure that the showerhead you purchase will work for you. These devices are generally very easy to install and remove so if you are a renter this is another money saver than you can take with you. Just be sure to keep the old showerhead so that you can reinstall it when you move out. Finally, check the seals on your exterior doors and windows. If these are leaky, then your home is both more expensive to heat and cool as well as less comfortable than it could be. Seal leaks with weather stripping that you can buy at a home center. It’s fairly inexpensive (unless you have a lot of leaky door and window seals) and you can easily install it yourself.
As you can see, there are lots of easy ways to put money back in your pocket. Take a look around your home today and start making a list of things that you could improve. The tips mentioned here are just the beginning, but if implemented could save you a substantial amount on your home energy bills.