11 Clever Ways to Reduce Your Home Expenses to the Minimum
Being a homeowner is never cheap, but this doesn’t mean you can’t reduce your costs. In fact, people often underestimate how much money (and trouble) they can save with some basic DIY repairs and maintenance. If this is your goal, the following tips will help reduce your home expenses by well over £100 a year.
1. Insulate your home
Insulation, or lack thereof, is the biggest problem for UK homes. A poorly insulated home is not only uncomfortable, it’s also inefficient because it leaks hot air. Insulating any part of your home is the right thing to do to save money on gas and power costs. And you can do this yourself using any materials you can afford, starting with ordinary foam rubber or Styrofoam. Even caulking cracks and fixing any holes around doors and windows will count as improving home insulation.
2. Master the art of changing filters
You don’t need to hire a professional to change the air filters in your furnace or replace filters in your AC. Simply follow the instructions and you’ll do the job in less than half an hour. Doing this will not only help cut your power bills but also reduce the risk of those expensive appliances breaking down.
3. Reglaze your windows
If you have old single-pane windows and replacing them isn’t an option, reglazing is your way to make them more energy-efficient. This is a lengthy and labour-intensive process. Therefore, plan to do one room at a time, preferably in the summer. Study the DIY reglazing guide and purchase (or borrow, or rent) a heat gun. You’ll also need to buy glazing putty and points and acrylic caulk.
4. Use the power of weatherstripping
Purchase some self-adhesive rubber foam weatherstripping and install it on all doors and windows. This seals more cracks, saves more hot air, and reduces your bills. If you can’t figure out how to apply that thing most efficiently, watch this video.
5. Insulate hot water lines
Another small purchase for eventual savings on bills. Buy regular foam tubes you can easily find in a shop and carefully wrap your hot water pipes with them. The less heat you lose, the better! Note that those tubes are preformed, so be sure to check out what size you need to use. This simple upgrade will not only cut the bills, but also make it so hot water reaches the upstairs parts of the house faster.
6. Harvest rainwater
You don’t have to live in the desert to benefit from collecting rainwater today. If draughts aren’t an issue and you don’t need this water to actually water plants, you can use it to wash your car. To harvest this liquid most efficiently, you need to make sure your gutters are in good condition. Place plastic barrels at the downspouts, but remember that they might overflow in heavy rains. Therefore, design the system to keep them further away from the building.
7. Use lint and hair catches in the drains
Placing a catch in the drain costs you nothing and requires no skill whatsoever. However, this will significantly reduce the risk of clogs and burst pipes. Just remember to clean it regularly. Simply being careful with what you flush down your drains is going to save you from huge and costly problems later on.
8. Seal unused rooms
If you have any unused rooms in the house, seal them up. You can use weatherstripping mentioned above to do a better job of it. This way, you won’t have to pay extra for heating the space you aren’t using.
9. Clean your fridge coils
Another thing that costs you nothing but saves money in the long run is cleaning your fridge coils. You can do it once every 1-2 months when vacuuming the house. Just be careful to avoid damaging them. This way, your fridge will serve you longer and it won’t have to draw excess power from the grid because it can’t use dusty coils efficiently.
10. Give your dryer-vent hose a “makeover”
Cleaning up every part of the dryer regularly will help keep it more energy-efficient by default. However, you can do better by carefully disconnecting and shortening the dryer-vent hose. Vacuum the thing after disconnecting and cut so that you have precisely enough to pull the dryer a couple of feet out the wall. Then, put the hose back and check for any leaks. Your dryer will now work even more efficiently.
11. Extend the downspouts
Mildew is a huge problem for many homes in the UK, and it’s a danger to your health. But did you know that often that moldy basement gets this way because your downspouts are too close to home? Check how exactly they are positioned so you can understand where the water is going during a downpour. If possible, redirect them away from the house. You can purchase parts to extend downspouts in a regular hardware store and the job doesn’t require any specialized skills. You won’t even need to climb up a ladder as you can do this from the ground.