We all know the expression “a stitch in time, saves nine,” but sometimes it can be difficult to apply that lesson to the home. Keeping up with all the repairs and upgrades your house needs to run efficiently takes time and money. But performing them in a timely way can save you both in the long run.
With tax time upon us, there is no better way to start “stitching up” our homes than by using our tax returns. Here are a few tips that will lower your bills and improve the value of your home.
Insulation. Call an attic insulation specialist for a free estimate. A well-insulated house can save you up to 30 percent on your energy bill, increase your property value and keep your family a lot more comfortable.
Heating and Cooling. Just start with a regular yearly servicing of your HVAC by a licensed company. Have your ducts checked for leaks. You could be losing more than 25 percent of your hot or cold air through leaky ductwork. Spring is a good time to replace your cooling and heating units, since the weather is mild and you don't have to fully lean on your systems for temperature regulation. A new system can give you confidence going into harsher temps and leave you feeling more comfortable about your HVAC’s performance. Purchase filters in bulk and change them out once a month (check out American Home Shield’s discount filter program ). Lastly, have a programmable thermostat installed. By programming the thermostat to only run when you are home, the average home will save more than $200 a year in energy costs.
Appliances. According to EnergyStar.gov, if your appliances are 10 to 15 years old, they may be to blame for a big chunk of your utility bill. Newer appliances that are Energy Star-rated use less energy to run and can lower your utility costs. New appliances also increase your property value and can give your home an updated look. Most appliance stores will remove your old appliances for a nominal fee, if not for free. Even better, American Home Shield customers can potentially take advantage of the AHS Appliance Discount Program, which provides big savings on brand-name appliances.
Water Heater. This big guy accounts for almost 20 percent of your energy bill, and if it’s more than 10 years old, it probably only operates at 50 percent efficiency. With a $200 energy bill, that’s $360 thrown away a year. That’s the cost of a five-star dinner or a night’s stay at a luxury hotel.
Home Electronics. Now for the fun stuff! Although electronics aren’t a huge drain, there are ways to make energy-saving choices. LCD televisions draw less energy than plasmas, for example, and ink-jet printers are more energy-efficient than laser printers.
Remember, each of these improvements can eliminate stress, increase your property value, save you money and, most importantly, give you back valuable time. Time to get stitching!