One thing that I’m acutely aware of since living in an apartment, is home maintenance. For me and for many apartment owners, we don’t have to worry about maintenance and the costs of them.
It feels pretty nice.
But there are some appealing perks to being a homeowner too, but for some the big deterrent is price. Yes, getting a house is expensive, but aside from that, you can be smart about how much money your house needs from you.
Case and point: your house will require maintenance and there are ample simple solutions that can save you thousands of dollars. If outsourcing every single task is too much or too much of a hassle to deal with, consider the following strategies.
1. Conduct An Energy Audit
Even when living in an apartment, the energy bill is one thing everyone pays. Being able to save energy where you can though can save you a tonne of money over the life of your home.
To start, conduct an energy audit. This audit will identify where you lose the most energy. In your case, that is a handy sheet of what should be your top priority.
Utility companies offer this service for free or for cheap. Just be sure it’s coming from a certified home energy auditor.
2. Be Smarter With Your Thermostat
The Department of Energy states about 54 percent of a homeowner’s utilities bills stem from heating and cooling. Being able to save in this area means you’ll save a lot long term. Suggestions are:
- Install programmable thermostats. They’ve been around for years and are on timers for when the heating or cooling is on. Program it to turn off at certain times during the day (like if you’re gone for work for several hours) and you can save money.
- Install ceiling fans. Or look for portable fans instead. These can circulate air more and can also be energy efficient too.
- Leverage reverse ceiling fans. You’ll notice with ceiling fans that the blades are slanted. They’re that way for a reason. In one direction the ceiling fan is pulling air up. The other direction will have the fan push air down.
3. Update Your Staircases And Railings
Maintaining and updating staircases and railings at home is necessary. So often if you’re moving into a new home, the railings are old. Or you’ve not noticed how bad they are until you’ve looked through old family pictures and see how pristine they were… about five to ten years ago.
Thankfully you don’t need to work too hard to improve these aspects at all. Some suggestions are:
- Remove wood spindles for iron ones.
- Cover the stairs with a nice carpet
- Repaint the spindles. Either with the same colour or mix it up.
- Create your own banister
- Replace the spindles with glass or horizontal spindles
4. Have Extra Insulation To Windows
Single-pane windows are not as energy efficient as thicker windows. But even in cases where you have a triple-pane window, this trick can still save you money.
That is putting in clear window insulation. This is a more complicated task than others so here is a video to help in weatherizing them.
5. Insulate Water Heater And Pipes
Water heaters can lose a lot of heat and you can tell whether it needs insulation just by touching it. If it feels warm on the outside, you can afford to insulate it.
It’s simple enough. Get a pre-cut fibreglass insulation jacket and wrap it around the heater. You can also look for foam insulators for hot water pipes as well.
6. Change Filters Regularly
Heating and cooling systems all have filters and it’s smart to be changing them every month or two depending on how often you’re using them.
Another way to get into the habit is to change them every time you pay an electricity or gas bill for your home.
Even though the filters will cost you every time, doing this home maintenance trick long-term will make these systems run smoother and more efficiently. This is on top of not having to repair them as frequently and your home being a safer place to live.
7. Look To Cut Water Consumption
Water is a precious resource, and you can save a lot on it by doing some really simple water-saving home maintenance tasks. Things like:
- Checking toilets for leaks. Some of it will be obvious but there are times where the tank itself is leaking into the toilet and you don’t notice, this video shows how you can check for that.
- Check your faucets. A dripping faucet can waste a tonne of water without you noticing. Be sure to check them in areas that aren’t always in frequent use.
- Repair and check washing machine lines. It’s frequently overlooked but supply lines can leak if they’re not tightened regularly. These lines are usually hidden so people miss these. One way to check for leaks is to start a load of laundry and actually check for leaks once per month.
- Clean the washing machine. If you’ve got a front-loading one, it’s more important to do this, but even top loading ones need this too. Look for water in various spots is key because unattended water can lead to mold and mildew. It’s more prominent in front-loading ones.
8. Clean Refrigerator Coils To Avoid Unnecessary Repair Bills
They’re in the back of the fridge and can sometimes be across the bottom as well. Cleaning them regularly is great for home maintenance as these coils will get clogged with dust, cobwebs, pet hair and other things.
A lot of gunk ensures a fridge can’t efficiently release heat. This means the compressor workers harder and longer than what it needs to and more money out of your pocket.
Once in the form of power bills and twice in having to get a new fridge or get someone to repair it.
You can avoid all that by regularly pulling the fridge out and cleaning up the coils. You can get a coil cleaning brush or a vacuum to do all this. Just make sure its bendable and can get into tight areas.
Home Maintenance Done Simpler
Overall, home maintenance can be done so much cheaper when people are on top of cleaning and checking on systems and appliances on a regular basis.
Even though these things will take some minutes out of your day, the fact you only need to be doing these inspections once per month isn’t that bad.
It’s a small price to pay versus the thousands of dollars you would need to pay for maintenance workers and the inconvenience a broken system or damage brings to you.