A home gives you a lot of borrowing power when you need extra money to keep up with your bills. Yet, as a homeowner, you also know that ownership adds extra financial stress from high property taxes and insurance on top of high heating, cooling and water bills. Although you can’t lower every bill, you don’t need to settle for your current utility costs. With a few changes to your home, you can quickly lower how much you spend yearly:

 

Install Awnings and Shutters

 

During summer, hot sunlight increases indoor temperature, which increases cooling costs. Sunlight can also cause extensive damage to furniture and other property in a room. Curtains and blinds don’t typically do enough to prevent the interior temperature from rising by several degrees, especially in the upstairs rooms that also receive heat that rises naturally from ground-level ones. With reflective metal awnings and shutters, you can redirect the sun’s rays away from your home. These options don’t black out a room either. You can still enjoy warm, indirect light without as much associated heat.

 

Fill Open Structural Spots

 

Unplanned gaps and other openings that allow air flow between the interior and exterior of your home increase energy costs. Although it might seem like common sense to inspect the building regularly for unwanted openings, many homeowners fail to remember. Yet, gaps can form in walls and ceilings and around windows and doors when a home moves and settles over time with ground shifts and shaking caused by various sources like people running inside and nearby car or train traffic. Pests like rodents, squirrels and termites also create openings when they chew through building materials. Inspect every part of your home or hire a certified inspector and then fill these openings.

 

Invest in Appliance Maintenance

 

You should always replace old appliances that have been around for decades with more efficient modern ones that have the Energy Star symbol. That said, poorly maintained modern appliances can also run inefficiently and increase utility bills. Hire an experienced technician to inspect, clean and repair your appliances at least once a year. If any appliances that use a lot of power or water, such as your washer and dryer, make sudden strange noises or stop working properly even for a moment, contact an expert appliance repair technician immediately. Washer and dryer repair is important when attempting to lower bills. When these appliances make sudden strange noises or experience temporary malfunctions, homeowners often do nothing because they believe that the issue resolved itself. What they don’t realize is that small and temporary problems can be symptoms of larger ones affecting efficiency.

 

Use Smart Home Technologies

 

High electricity and water bills are also often the result of accidental overuse. For example, people leave lights on in empty rooms, manually adjust the thermostat too much or forget to shut off a garden sprinkler or tap. Some energy use is also the result of appliances that drain power while they’re in rest or standby mode. Invest in smart home technologies like smart light, water, thermostat and outlet timers that efficiently manage all of these areas. You can program smart technologies to turn off the lights, devices or a sprinkler system at a specific time of day or after so many minutes or hours. You can even set a thermostat to adjust for heating and cooling based on readings from connected interior and exterior temperature sensors.

 

Each of these tips require an upfront investment in time and money. That said, most homeowners see a reduction in their utility bills within a month. It’s important to also keep in mind that these types of renovations, upgrades and repairs increase the value of your home as well. As a result, you might experience a reduction in your home insurance premiums because of energy-efficiency or green discounts given to you by your insurer after you make these changes.

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