When you hear the word home, what kinds of images and thoughts pop into your head? Do you envisage yourself curled up in your cozy lounge, are you reclining in your luxury bedroom or do you automatically feel stressed thinking about how many jobs you’ve got to do and how much your home is costing you? If the latter sounds familiar, it’s time to plug those gaps and stop your home being a drain on your resources. If your home is costing you far too much, this guide should prove useful.
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Is it colder in your home than it is outside on a chilly, windy day? Can you feel the draft when you’re trying to watch TV or is your bedroom like a wind-tunnel? If your home isn’t as efficient as it could be, you’re likely to be spending a lot more on energy bills. Most of us are looking for ways to bring our bills down, and it is possible to reduce spending significantly. Here are some ideas to lower those energy bills and make your home more energy-efficient.
Insulation and heating
If you can feel the wind whistling around the house, this is a surefire sign that there are gaps and holes that could be contributing to increased energy consumption. Nobody wants to be sat at home on a winter’s day shivering because they don’t want to spend a fortune on heating. Arm yourself with a torch and have a good look around the windows, doors, and skirting boards in each room. Look out for gaps, and make a note if you find any. Take a trip to the hardware store, and invest in some filler for holes in the wall and brushes for the bottom of the doors. You can also use draft excluders.
If you don’t already have double glazing, it’s worth getting some quotes, as adding an extra layer of glazing can make all the difference when it comes to insulation and how much you’ll pay to heat your home. Double glazing can also help to reduce noise, which may be beneficial if you live on a busy road or you often hear noise during the night. If you can’t afford double glazing, it is possible to buy a DIY version, which is basically a thin plastic sheet that is applied to the window frame. The result is not as smart or sophisticated as double glazing, but it will make a positive difference for a much smaller outlay.
If you have a loft or a basement, arrange for some firms to visit and give you quotes for insulation. Insulating the roof and walls can reduce your heating bills dramatically. In some cases, grants may be available for insulation, so check with your local authority or government office.
If your heating system is old and the boiler is prone to problems, consider replacing the unit. New furnaces can be expensive, but it’s often worth taking the hit to save you money in the future. It’s likely that you’ll have to pay for repairs on a regular basis if your water heater has seen better days, and this could end up costing you a lot more than a new system.
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Your energy bills are not always high because you’re trying desperately to keep warm at home. In the summer months, you may find that you’re forking out money to keep cool. If you have air conditioning units running throughout the house, your bills are likely to rocket. If you do live in a hot country, and you find life without air conditioning uncomfortable, you could consider residential window tinting. This option will benefit you throughout the warmer months, as it prevents heat from the sun getting in and cool air getting out. The outcome is a cooler home, which is also much cheaper to run.
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If you’re wasting money on water, this could be due to excessive consumption, but it may also be a result of leaky taps. Can you hear the taps dripping when you’re trying to sleep or does the shower appear to have a mind of its own? You may think that a few stray drops here and there won’t make much of a difference, but if you’re wasting water on a daily basis, the cost will soon mount up. Search for a local plumber and ask them to come and have a look. There may be a very simple solution, which will save you money in both the short and long-term.
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Do you have the lights on all the time? Are there rooms in your home, which always seem to be dark, even on a bright and beautiful summer’s day? If so, there may be options worth considering to maximize natural light. Start in the garden. Are there trees or hedges blocking the windows? If there are, trimming back a few branches could make a significant difference. Sometimes, there’s a lack of light due to the fact that windows are small and the walls are dark. It may be possible to add another window or a skylight. You can also open up spaces and make them brighter by painting walls with a light shade and using mirrors to bounce light around the room.
If you’re spending too much on gas and electricity, you could think about switching to renewable energy. If you live in a sunny spot, for example, you could investigate solar power. Solar energy is generated from sunlight, and once you’ve paid for installation, your bills will drop dramatically. If you don’t know much about solar power, it’s worth doing some research and contacting some providers to discuss options, go through the pros and cons, and find out how much it would cost to set your home up.
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Beefing up security
None of us want to think of our home as a target, but the reality is that any home could be approached by thieves. If you’ve been burgled before, you’ll know all about the emotional and financial costs involved. The worry is that homes that have been targeted before are often the focus of follow-up burglaries, as thieves know that they can breach the defenses. Even if you have home and contents insurance, it’s worth beefing up security to protect your home and prevent further financial worries.
Home security covers a vast range of options, and you can spend hundreds or thousands of dollars. You don’t need to invest in every gadget going, but it is a good idea to step up security if your home has been burgled or there have been incidents in your neighborhood. CCTV is recommended for larger properties that house a lot of valuable items. If you’re looking for something on a smaller scale, outdoor lighting and a burglar alarm should act as effective deterrents. Today’s systems are incredibly clever, and you can sync them with your phone or tablet. This means that you can control lights or alarms remotely, and you can see what’s going on even when you’re not at home. If somebody triggers the system, you’ll get an alert, and you can act rapidly.
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Upgrading your home technology
Is your washing machine on the blink? Do you need a new fridge/freezer? Are you envious of your friend’s smart gadgets and gizmos? You may assume that upgrading your home tech will cost money, and in the short-term, it will. However, new appliances and systems utilize modern technology, which will actually save you money in the long-run. Today’s appliances are more energy-efficient, and they’ll also save you time and effort.
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When you buy property, you don’t just have to worry about the purchase price. You’ll also need to consider how much your home will cost to run. It is recommended that homeowners budget around 1-3 percent of the purchase price for maintenance work each year. Keeping an eye on maintenance tasks can save you money further down the line. Check your gutters, varnish any woodwork or call a gas engineer and an electrician out to look at the heating system and the electrics. Keep an eye out for potential problems like damp and roofing issues. If you notice patches appearing on the walls or the ceiling or you spot a loose tile or two on the roof, call out the experts. It’s best to get problems that could become more serious checked out as quickly as possible. Minor repairs will cost a lot less than more complex solutions.
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Is your home draining your bank account? Does it seem to be one thing after another? Are you spending too much on heating or is your boiler is on the blink? Are there tiles falling off the roof or has your water bill increased without explanation? Owning a home can be a costly business, but there are ways to reduce maintenance and running costs. If you’re a homeowner who is keen to make their home more cost-effective and efficient, hopefully, this guide will make a positive difference.