Owning a home is a huge investment no matter what the circumstance, but most homeowners are actually spending way more than they have to from year to year. If you’ve never thought about ways to save money and you’re worried you might fall into this category, it’s not too late to put in a little effort and pile up the savings. In fact, the new year is the perfect time to make a personal or family resolution to save money around the house and reap the benefits in the year to come. From outdated appliances to preventable but costly home emergencies there are solutions! Use the following tips and keep at least one New Year’s resolution in 2016.

Save money by using your HVAC efficiently
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Resolution 1: Energy Efficiency

Not only is saving energy good for the planet, but it’s also good for your wallet, especially after the expensive holiday season. This year, why not put your energy into energy efficiency?

Energy efficient kitchen appliances
Challenge for Sustainability
  • Energy Efficient Appliances: Kitchen remodels should include replacing your old refrigerator, dishwasher, or washer/dryer set with energy efficient options like ENERGY STAR certified products. You can save literally hundreds of dollars a year.
  • Use Power Strips: Plug your appliances into a power strip and turn the strip off when you’re not using them. You’ll prevent costly phantom charges by stopping the flow of electricity when you’re not using the appliances.
  • Water Heater: With high water heater temperatures, you run the risk of scalding anyone stepping into the shower along with wasting energy. Instead, turn the temperature down a few degrees. You’ll save money, and you won’t have to worry about the shower being too hot.

Resolution 2: Home Maintenance

Home maintenance can be a pain, but doing regular work around the house helps prevent major damage and expensive repairs later on. Time the bite the bullet!

Electrical light fixtures that are also energy efficient
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  • Leaks: Whether you have a leaky faucet or doors that leak heated air outside, you’re losing money as quickly as the water is dripping. It might require a professional plumber but it’s definitely worth it.
  • Window Treatments: Broken or missing blinds might not seem like a big deal, but can actually be wasting money. Fix the treatments (or add/update them) so you can keep them open when the sun is shining in but draw them when not: they add a surprisingly reliable extra layer of insulation.
  • Update Old Fixtures: Did you know a ceiling fan in the winter can make a room feel up to 5 degrees warmer? Replace outdated fans that don’t work as well, along with cracked windows, corroded showerheads, and old and dirty lightbulbs with new ones for unexpected seasonal savings.

Resolution 3: Smart Heating and Cooling

Winter has arrived and El Nino is definitely putting pressure on HVAC systems this year. Make sure you’re smart about how you’re heating (and cooling!) your home.

Heating and cooling the smart way
Winter Wunderground
  • Insulate: It sounds obvious, but plenty of home’s aren’t as insulated as they should be come winter, especially the attic. Check the recommended R value for your location before installing new insulation.
  • Programmable Thermostat: By setting your thermostat a couple of degrees lower while you’re out of the house and at night, you can save money without even noticing a change. A programmable thermostat allows you to control the temperature even while you’re away, and you won’t have to think about it at all after programming.
  • HVAC update: HVAC systems work hard during the winter along with the summer, and a professional can help you do yearly maintenance, keeping the system efficient and tackling problems before you have an emergency on your hands.
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