Looking to save money on your monthly bills? While there are ways to scrimp and save, the most effective way of lowering your household expenses is by making improvements. Think of it the same way you’d think about investing in the stock market. You need to put up money in order to earn more money.
Once you make these improvements, you’ll realize savings every month going forward. Think of it as your interest. Every month you’ll gain more and more in interest, until the interest covers the premium. From there on out you’re in the black, saving money that you’d still be wasting if you didn’t make these improvements.
What improvements can make the biggest difference? Here are five that really stand out.
What’s the best way to save energy? By making the air inside your house stays inside your house. When air escapes, or when air from the outside enters, your HVAC system has to work harder to keep the temperature at the desired level. The harder your HVAC system works, the more energy it consumes. That costs you at the end of the month.
By replacing your old windows with double-paned, Energy Star approved windows, you can save hundreds of dollars per year on heating and cooling costs. That should cover the cost of the new windows soon enough.
2. Water heater
Does your house have one of those big tank water heaters? If so, you’re spending too much money keeping that tank warm. That’s the entire idea behind a tank water heater. It keeps a tank full of warm water, ready for whenever you need it. Yet you’re spending money keeping the tank warm even when you don’t need the hot water.
Tankless water heaters heat water on-demand, so you don’t have to waste that energy keeping a tank of water warm all the time. In addition, tankless heaters are more durable and can last twice as long as tank heaters. So you save money on energy costs, and on replacement costs.
When you are home, 69 degrees is a comfortable room temperature. When no one is home, 69 degrees simply wastes heat or air conditioning. If there’s no one home to enjoy it, what’s the point? Homeowners can save money by installing a programmable thermostat. This will lower energy consumption while you are away from the home, meaning lower energy bills.
4. Solar roof panels
Looking to save money and become more environmentally friendly? Installing solar roof panels can help with both. There might be no more efficient way to provide cheap, efficient energy. More solar energy means less usage from the electric company, which means a significantly lower bill. It won’t cover all of your energy needs, but installing solar panels has been known to cut electricity bills in half, if not more.
5. Change air filters
This seems simple, yet it is something neglected by so many homeowners. Your furnace and air conditioner (and HVAC system) contain air filters. These filters catch dust and other particles before they enter the machinery, allowing them to function optimally. But dirty filters can hinder air intake, forcing the appliance to work harder — therefore consuming more energy. By cleaning or changing filters once a month, homeowners can ensure that their heating and cooling appliances are functioning optimally.
Joe Pawlikowski writes, edits, and consults for blogs. His longest-running project is Prepaid Reviews, which covers prepaid cell phones and service.
Image via Ken Ratcliff/Flickr