The Homeowner’s 15-point Money Saving Checklist
1. Turn down the hot water heater to 120°F. It's a waste of energy to heat water hotter than most people can stand.
2. Get a water heater blanket. Many older water heaters and even fairly new ones aren't well insulated. A water heater blanket saves money by keeping the heat in.
3. Wrap insulation around exposed hot water pipes. Good quality pipe insulation makes the water 2° to 4° warmer and delivers it quicker. The first three feet leaving the heater and the last few feet coming back are key.
4. Check for running toilets, leaky faucets and under sink plumbing. They cost you money and lead to mold.
5. Check attic insulation. If you have an unfinished attic, have at least 6" of insulation, (more in the northern U.S.).
6. Put in a programmable thermostat. This automatically adjusts temperature, so you only pay for heating or cooling the house when you're actively using it.
7. Install ceiling fans. Their air circulation effect lets you put your thermostat 1° or 2° higher in summer and 1° or 2° lower in winter. Set to blow air down in summer and up in winter.
8. Replace the air handling filter. This is behind a slotted panel in the air handler. Note the size and stock up. A dirty filter makes the system work harder. Check every two months.
9. Clear all air vents. Make sure vents aren't blocked and look in to see they're dust bunny free.
10. Air-dry some laundry. Put up a rack in the laundry room or a clothesline outside. Air-dry a third of your laundry and you're running the dryer a third less of the time.
11. Choose reliable, energy efficient appliances. Paying a little extra for quality and reliability will save you lots over the long haul.
12. Seal out air. Air leaks are money leaks. Look for them around windows and doors, and then seal them up.
13. Monitor foundation cracks. If you have cracks in basement walls, cover the ends with masking tape with the date. If the cracks grow, call in a specialist. Foundation problems are way cheaper to fix sooner than later.
14. Plant shade trees near your home. They cool the house in summer, saving money on air conditioning, and add value to the property.
15. Write down a home maintenance checklist. Include tasks you should do monthly, quarterly, and annually. Review each month. You'll save tons of money over time.