You have a new home! You may need to spend a little time getting to know your new place before you can really get a feel for what’s working great, and what may need a little attention. For example: is it drafty? Where? Are there surprise water leaks? What can I do to save money on utilities? Let’s start saving you money and time now. Get started with these inexpensive home improvement projects.
Inexpensive Home Improvement Projects: Energy and Disaster Prevention
SAVING ENERGY 101
Look at your utility company
When you transfer utilities to your own account, be sure to check out the utility company’s website. Normally there is an entire section dedicated to energy savings. If you have Georgia Power, go to their website, where you can learn about ways to save on your bill. While you’re there, visit the Georgia Power Marketplace to learn about rebate programs and savings on efficient lighting, thermostats and more.
How much am I using?
Knowledge is power, right? One of the first things we recommend for new homeowners is a usage monitor. For less than $30, this will give you a snapshot of how efficient your appliances are. There are several on the market, but here is one with excellent ratings that is available at Home Depot: Kill-A-Watt EZ Meter. Simply plug it in to an outlet, and plug the appliance into the unit. Find out if that old refrigerator needs to move on down the road.
Give your thermostat a smart makeover
Next up: your thermostat. You will definitely want a programmable thermostat right out of the gate, if your new home didn’t already have one. The most popular brand of “smart” thermostats is Nest. Through Georgia Power’s Marketplace, it’s 50% off after rebate. The Nest is a “learning” thermostat, which means you set the temperatures for various times of day and Nest automatically adapts to the seasons and your habits. Check it out – the savings from its features grow over time, eventually paying for itself.
Water leaks are the WORST. You may not even realize it until it’s cost you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in repairs and water bills. Enter: Water Leak Detector. We recommend the D-Link DCH-S160 mydlink Wi-Fi Water Sensor. It’s a stand-alone, wifi-enabled leak detector that can detect water without being connected to a more-expensive smart home hub. For $60-$70 on Amazon, a little investment now can save you a whole bunch later.
Help prevent your pipes from bursting with pipe wrap. No smart phone necessary with this one. Very inexpensive, and can save you a lot of money. Pick some up at Home Depot and you’re on your way. Pro tip: Measure everything first. Then measure it again. THEN get your pipe insulation.
Carbon Monoxide Detection
Carbon monoxide can be a silent killer. It is odorless, invisible, and produced when you burn fuel-based home items, like fireplaces and furnaces. I can’t stress this enough: a carbon monoxide detector is an extremely important part of home ownership. Keep your loved ones, including your pets, healthy and safe! There are many types of CO detectors available, from wired, to battery powered, to smart-enabled, and they come in a range of prices. Check out this article from SafeWise: Carbon Monoxide Buyer’s Guide. It will give you information and reviews the best detectors available for 2017.
Be a Smart Home Owner
See? A few inexpensive home improvement projects – even free! that save you money over the long haul. How much you spend on these prevention and saving basics is entirely up to you. We can tell you that the old saying, “an ounce of prevention” when it comes to home ownership certainly rings true here. Take care of your home, and it will take care of you (and your wallet!) for years to come.
Bonus Tip: Beware of “phantom load.” It’s the vampire of your power bill. Standby power, when you leave things plugged into an outlet and the unit or appliance “ready” can be a huge drain. Unplug things you aren’t using, and save big money over time. This is one of many inexpensive home improvement projects that will cost you nothing and save you a ton. We’ll be highlighting more tips like this in the future!
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