Buying a home can be a long, stressful process, even after you finally close on your new place. Regardless of the condition of your new home, many new homeowners should know that there is extra work to be done outside of unpacking boxes and choosing paint colours.
When you are fresh to the space and don’t have any furniture cluttering it, you have the perfect opportunity to take stock of your new home and the small areas of improvement that you can address now to save more down the line. Starting these projects sooner rather than later is your best strategy — the earlier you start, the more you’ll save in the end.
Here’s a list of important things to do around your new space to increase efficiency, reduce energy and generally help your house run like it’s meant to!
Check Your Insulation
To make your home more efficient, start at the top: your attic. Is there insulation between the beams? Is it at least 15 centimetres thick? If not, take the time to add more (especially if you live farther up north and experience deeply cold winters). If your home does not have adequate insulation, your heater will be running more frequently to try to keep up with the warm air leaking out. Remove the strain by insulating more thoroughly.
Check the Temperature on Your Hot Water Heater
According to experts, the optimal heat temperature for water (while still being comfortable) is 55 degrees Celsius. Check your water heater and see if you need to lower it for a more efficient energy bill (and bigger savings!).
Install Ceiling Fans
Though the initial cost may seem high, ceiling fans are a great way to circulate air and increase the efficiency of your heating or cooling systems. Ceiling fans require a low level of energy and, when circulating the appropriate direction, can direct the heat in the right direction, accounting for an increase or decrease in one or two degrees. You’ll be able to keep your thermostat at a more energy-efficient level.
Replace Air Filters
Changing out your air filters is a quick fix with a big impact. Filter size varies, so make sure you check the dimensions on yours before purchasing a new one. An outdated filter not only effects the quality of air you breathe daily, it can also hinder air flow, making your heating and cooling system work much harder than it needs to just to pump out low-quality air.
Utilise a Programmable Thermostat
Most of us do not work from home and are gone for regular stretches throughout the week. During those absences, you could be wasting money heating or cooling your apartment to a comfortable temperature you’re not even there to enjoy. You can save big just by programming the temperature to drop a few degrees at night when you’re sleeping, when you’re at work or any other long stretch you’re away. Then set the temperature to return to normal 30 minutes before you typically return so you’ll be comfortable.
Invest in a Smart Strip for Your Smart Tech
When you’re getting ready to hook up your entertainment centre, consider setting it up with a smart strip. Certain technology is meant to be used together (think about your TV, cable box, Blu-ray player, stereo system, etc.) and in a lot of cases, one would not be used without the other. That’s where a smart strip comes in — it allows for the on/off status of specific items be dictated by the status of just one. For example, you wouldn’t use your cable box without your TV, so the cable box will only draw power when the TV is on. This strategic use of plugs is very energy efficient and can help you unplug all that wasted power that can increase your power bill.
Create Shade Around Your New Home
What’s more eco-friendly than planting a tree? Trees not only make your lawn look beautiful, they can also make your house more efficient during the very hot and cold months. Plant a deciduous tree (one that loses its leaves seasonally) on the eastern and western sides of your home. Examples of deciduous trees include but are not limited to maple, birch, willow, oak and hickory. During the summer, the trees will help to keep your house from getting pelted by the sun’s rays. In the winter when they are barren, the sunlight will shine through from above the branches, which will naturally warm your home, but also help to block the wind and minimise the draught that may crawl through your home. Also, mature trees tend to increase your property value, so in time the tree can be very valuable.
Make a Home Maintenance Checklist
As a new homeowner, you may not even know what to check to make sure your home is running efficiently. Use a maintenance list to make sure that everything in your home is up to par. Proactive maintenance can help protect from bigger problems down the road, save on large repair expenses and, in some cases, can make your home even safer.
Hamm, T. (22 April 2015). 19 Things a New Homeowner Should Do Immediately to Save Money. Retrieved 19 April 2017, from http://www.thesimpledollar.com/18-things-a-new-homeowner-should-do-immediately-to-save-money/
The information in this article is provided for education and informational purposes only, without any express or implied warranty of any kind, including warranties of accuracy, completeness or fitness for any particular purpose. The information in this article is not intended to be and does not constitute financial or any other advice. The information in this article is general in nature and is not specific to you the user or anyone else.