Lower the temperature on your hot water heater down to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Most people do not use hot water any hotter than 120 degrees, but their thermostats are set much higher and producing scalding hot water. By lowering your temperature you will end up using energy much more efficiently and saving money on your bills! Some hot water heaters aren’t insulated very well and you could be using energy to keep the heat in the tank. A simple trick is to put a water heater blanker over the hot water heater (just be careful not to cover the water heater’s top, bottom, thermostat or burner compartment).
Wrap exposed water pipes with insulation. Any exposed hot water pipes lose heat as they transfer the water from the heater to your shower or faucet. Use pipe-insulation to wrap exposed pipes, especially in cold basements or garages. This will not only keep you water at a higher temperature, but allows hot water to reach your faucets faster.
Install LED or CFL light bulbs. These types of light bulbs will save you a lot of money on energy bills as well as have much longer life span than normal incandescent bulbs. If you do not want to make the investment for the entire house, at least consider installing some in the places where the lights may be used for the longest periods. LED bulbs have actually come down in cost significantly over the past few years.
Mark any cracks in foundation or basement with dated masking tape. Homes settle over time and cracks appear in foundation and basement walls. By marking these cracks with dated masking tape you will be able to tell if the cracks are growing or not. If the cracks are not growing at all, your home is safe. If you notice the cracks growing past the tape, you will save yourself a lot of money by having the issue addressed now rather than later.
Pay attention and take advantage of tax benefits and other incentives. The energy tax credit has been renewed and homeowners who have made energy-based improvements to their homes are eligible for discount on their taxes. Check with your state or city to discover its benefits. Many local utility companies also provide home energy audits and services. Someone will inspect your home to figure out where you could be wasting energy.
Do not forget to look at all your expenses when budgeting for your home. Many people only take into consideration the principal mortgage payment, interest, taxes and insurance. Make sure to include all utilities and keep an upgrade account. Call the utility companies to ask about budget plans and shop rates. If you budget for upgrades and emergencies, it will not be such a hard financial hit when items arise.
As I have said before, please call a local REALTOR for all your real estate needs no matter how big or small. We are trained professionals here to make your life easier. It's best to surround yourself with the right team of professionals that can continuously give you the right advice for all your circumstances.
Lisa DiBiase is a Broker/Owner. She and her company represent buyers and sellers in the Greater Portland area. For all your real estate needs contact firstname.lastname@example.org.