Winter has passed and now it’s time to handle a few home maintenance projects that you may have been putting off. Handling these maintenance projects early can not only save you from tons of unnecessary costs and repairs in the future, but also cut the cost of your monthly utility bill.
1. Automate Your Thermostat
Instantly start saving money on your heating and cooling bills by getting an automated thermostat. Smart thermostats can now learn when you are home and adjust the environment to make sure the home is comfortable during those hours. Depending on your utility provider, you may even be able to get a rebate for just installing one of these in your home.
2. Check For Roof Damage
Inspect your roof for missing or damaged shingles, and clear your rain gutters and downspouts. Leaves, dirt, and other debris inside gutters can clog and prevent rainwater from draining away from your roof. When drains are clogged, trapped water can seep into your home and cause thousands worth in damage.
3. Fireplace or Wood Stove Care
To avoid fires with coming Summer, it is important to have your wood burning stove or fireplace inspected for damage and creosote buildup. There are three levels of creosote buildup. First-degree creosote is ashy and easily removed with a chimney brush. Second and third degree creosote are extremely flammable and best removed by a professional chimney specialist.
4. “Childproof” Your Outlets Even If You Don’t Have Kids
It’s hard to believe but just by sticking a simple child proof plug into your electrical outlets you could save you 5% on your energy bill this year. If you have an older home, the exterior walls may be poorly insulated. When you have poorly insulated walls, the holes that are in your outlets can be areas where the outside cold/heat can enter your home.
A simple solution to this is to install child-proof outlet plugs in any unused outlet on an exterior wall. This will close the gaps and reduce the amount of air that can leak through. This trick costs less than $20 at your local hardware store and can save you hundreds a year!
5. Clean Your Refrigerator Coils!
You can eliminate more than 70 percent of service calls with this simple cleaning step. Skip this chore and you’ll be contributing to your appliance repair technician’s retirement fund. Not to mention handing over $5 to $10 a month extra to your utility company because the fridge isn’t running efficiently.
Do it twice a year or more often if you have shedding pets. Their fur clogs up the coils fast.
Condenser coils are located on the back of the fridge or across the bottom. These coils cool and condense the refrigerant. When the coils are clogged with dirt and dust, they can’t efficiently release heat. The result is your compressor works harder and longer than it was designed to, using more energy and shortening the life of your fridge.
Clean the coils with a coil cleaning brush and vacuum. A coil cleaning brush does a thorough job and will easily pay for itself. The refrigerator coil brush is bendable to fit in tight areas. They can be used for cleaning your dehumidifier and air conditioner coils too.
6. Clean Out Your Dryer Lint Vent
Dryer lint is extremely flammable if you let it build up in the vents and interferes with the effectiveness of vents. You can hire someone to do this for you, or you can do it yourself. Buy a vacuum attachment made specifically for cleaning out dryer vents.
7. Water Heater Flushing – So Hot Right Now
Regularly flushing out your water heater is an important task. Getting rid of the gunk and mineral deposits that accumulate will help your hot water heater run more efficiently as well as prolong its life, saving you money in the long run. Depending on your model, aim to flush your water heater every one to three years.
If your heater is old and has never been flushed, it may be better to call a professional to get advice specific to your situation. On the same note, if you’re not comfortable with the following steps, always err on the side of caution.
- Turn the knob on your water heater’s thermostat to “Off”
- Turn off the gas line or electricity to the unit.
- Turn off the cold water supply (usually a blue knob similar to an outdoor hose spigot).
- Important: turn on a hot water tap in a sink or tub. This prevents a vacuum from forming in the system while draining the tank.
- Connect a garden hose to the drainage spigot. Then turn on the spigot and drain the entire tank.
- Once drained, turn back on the cold water supply to flush the tank. Look for water coming out the hose to be clear and free of sediment.