First-time homebuyers spent an average of $33,800 on renovations. Home ownership doesn’t have to be overwhelming, and you don’t have to spend that much money. Knowing a few simple things can save you a lot of money in the long run.
If you just purchased a home, there are some things you’ll want to check before you get comfortable. Check out these 5 homeowner tips.
1. Taking Care of Your HVAC System
Your HVAC system keeps the temperature constant through your home, whether it’s your furnace or air conditioner. Regular maintenance is a must if you don’t want a breakdown on the hottest or coldest day of the year!
Air filters get dirty and must be changed regularly. These filters keep the systems running properly, and if they are dirty, the system has to work harder to get the air to circulate. If the machine works harder, this could lead to costly repairs.
You should change your air filters at least every two months if you want to avoid paying for a new system. A new HVAC system can run anywhere between $4,000 to $12,000. If you are using your furnace or air condition more during a hot or cold spell, change your filter after 30 days.
If you do need a new system, you can order directly from places like Comfort Depot to save money. You can then install yourself or have a professional install it.
You can also save money by using cheap fiberglass filters for your furnace. The HEPA filters may seem like they have more benefits, but the higher price doesn’t justify purchase in the long run. HEPA filters actually restrict airflow because they are more condensed.
The fiberglass filters allow more air to flow through. They are much cheaper, so it’s not as expensive to replace every two months.
You should also clean your air conditioners. Make sure there are no plants near your unit to prevent debris from getting in your unit.
Remove the front cover and wash it with soap and water. Then remove and wash air filter (or replace). Wipe down any of your exposed coils and straighten bent fins.
2. Lower Energy Usage
Now that you own a home, you have to pay all your own utility bills. It is important to keep track of your usage and find ways to save money—and reduce your carbon footprint.
You can start by lowering your water heater’s thermostat to 120 degrees. Water hotter than that temperature will scald you. Lowering this temp will also save you money without skipping a beat.
Start switching out your light bulbs for energy-efficient LED. They use about 75 percent less energy and last about 25 times longer.
You can also lower your bills by installing a programmable thermostat. You can change the temperature of your house when you are not home, so you don’t waste energy.
Another way you can save money with your bills is to install ceiling fans throughout your home. They will keep your room cooler in the summer, but can also help rooms stay warmer in the winter. Reverse the direction of the blades to pull air up toward the ceiling which will keep the room warmer.
3. Keep Your Home Safe
One of the first things you should do before moving in your stuff is to change the locks. You have no idea how many keys are floating around out there. You can change the locks and deadbolts yourself for pretty inexpensive or hire a locksmith.
In addition to your locks, you should also check for smoke detectors in each room. Make sure they are working properly and the batteries are also working. You should also have a fire extinguisher.
You also need to check for any leaky pipes, running toilets, or dripping faucets. You don’t want to have any water damage to your home.
Now is also a good time to install a home security system. Installing a security system can also save you money on your homeowners insurance. With today’s technology, there are several systems out there that you can even control and check from your phone.
4. Get to Know Your New Home
It’s important that you know your home well. You need to get fully acquainted with all the main systems. You should know the location of these items:
- Attic access
- Circuit breaker
- Water valve shut-off
- Plumbing’s main clean-out plug
- Water heater
You should also look at all your systems and take note when services are due. Take note of things like when will the deck need resealed? When should you replace the furnace filter or how much life does the roof have remaining?
5. Create a Home File
The answers to the questions above belong in your home file. Now that you own a home, you will have a lot of paperwork. It’s important to keep everything together such as warranties, contracts, mortgage documents, insurance policies, and receipts for repairs and renovations.
You can do a hard copy binder or create a digital file, which ever works best for you. You should also keep all your notes and reminders in the same place to help you stay on your home maintenance schedule. Having all these papers in one spot will be helpful for tax and insurance purposes, and will help you stay organized.
Create a home maintenance checklist to keep in your home file. This list should include regular home maintenance projects that you should complete monthly, quarterly, or annually. Pull this list out every so often, and check off what you have done.
This is a great way to remind yourself of little things you need to do now that you are a homeowner. Regular maintenance extends the life of about everything in your home and will also save you money in the long run.
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