Tuesday, July 23

The Real Reasons Why House Bills Cost You a Fortune

How much do you pay for your house bills each month?

Bills, bills, bills—they’re always there to drag money out of our pockets and wallets, leaving us thinking of how we will get through the rest of the month.

I remember that when I first moved to the city after I graduated high school, I had the shock of my life when I rented my 1st apartment with my best friend and I had to pay tons and tons of money on those bills.

I had a job, and at first, I was very happy that I was able to get myself all those amazing things I wanted, but soon enough, the bills started to appear: for electricity, Internet, cable, phone, water, and so many others. As you can imagine, a lot of my paycheck went to these bills.

But once I got older, I actually realized that there were some mistakes I used to make, and let me tell you that those made my young adult life a mess. If it seems like your house bills are getting bigger and bigger and you have no idea what to do to make things better, you should know that things are way simpler than you think.

With only a few modifications here and there, you can manage to spend less on your bills and save more for the things that you want, such as a trip with the people you love. So are you ready to discover what you should do from now on? Let’s check out these tips together!

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Photo by Cast Of Thousands from shutterstock.com

1. Leaving the lights on

Some people have the bad habit of leaving the lights on in a room, thinking that they’ll come back in a few moments, but forgetting about it. If you do this, that’s going to cost you serious money in the long run, and I don’t think it’s going to make your wallet happy.

I don’t know about you, but I find it really disturbing when there’s plenty of natural light in the room and someone comes and turns on the artificial light, saying that they can’t see properly.

I remember that when I was in college, one of my teachers told the class that when you convince yourself to wait for a couple of minutes to turn on the lights, you’re actually going to improve your sight over time. Is like eating salt: the less salt you add to your food, the tastier your meal is going to be in the long run.

But let’s go back to your electricity bill. If you turn off the light each time you leave a room, that’s going to help you save money. I have a hack for you: invest in LED bulbs. You can save around $80 per year by doing so. They might seem pricier at first, but everything’s worth it, given the fact that they last 3 to even 25 times longer compared to an incandescent bulb.

If you’re looking for LEDs to replace your old bulbs, check out these ones, because they get the job done and you won’t be disappointed! And if you buy them in bulbs, you will save even more money, so that’s a great deal!

2. Your steamy showers are too long

If you love taking hot showers and steamy baths a lot, I totally get it, because I like that too, but it’s not going to help you pay less when your next bill comes.

That huge water heater needs a lot of energy and resources to give you the best conditions, which means that it’s going to need more money to keep things toasty.

Experts say that you can use an insulated blanket to save some extra cash on your electric heating and gas. If you have an older water heater, just wrap it in the blanket and you’ll save roughly $70 extra at the end of the year.

If your budget allows a home upgrade, you can replace your old water heater with a new and improved item that’s going to save you up to 50% more per year.

But that is not all: according to experts, the perfect temperature for your water is 120 degrees Fahrenheit. If you go higher than that, you risk burning your skin and also paying more on your electricity bill.

3. You don’t have insulation

If you live in a house, you should know that approximately 40% of your heat loss happens through your attic. As you can imagine, heat rises, and it wants to go away through your dear attic.

However, you can prevent that from happening by adding an extra layer of insulation or a loft stair cover to help heat stay trapped in your home during the cold winter months. If you take these extra steps (consider them an investment), you can save up to 20% on your winter energy bill.

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Photo by Paul Maguire from shutterstock.com

4. Your windows are leaky and old

Sometimes, saving money on your bills is synonymous with getting rid of your old things and bringing in new ones. Your old windows can impact your energy bill in a negative way, meaning that you’ll have to take more money out of your pocket because they might have leaks that allow heat to escape.

During the hot months of summer, your double-pane windows will give the sun a chance to send 75% of its heat into your home – that’s definitely not something you want to experience. Of course, it’s going to be costly to replace all the windows in your home, but you’re going to save a lot more money in the long run.

If you’re looking for new and improved windows, don’t forget to take the U-factor and R-value into consideration, because they’re important. The U-factor is used to measure how efficient a material is as an insulator, while the R-value represents the resistance to heat flow through the window.

So if you’re going shopping, experts say that you should purchase ones that have a lower U-value because they’re more likely to have a higher resistance to heat flow.

5. What about home maintenance?

Home maintenance might seem like another thing you have to deal with, which it totally is, but if you keep track of everything, you’re actually making your life easier and your bills lower. Isn’t that fantastic?

Speaking of that, the good news is that there are a lot of maintenance projects you can easily DIY. If you’re not into projects that you can tackle all by yourself, you can pay attention to all those things you have so you can prevent expensive repairs down the road.

There are also many online services that are more than happy to send you different reminders of when you could get particular appliances or parts of your home checked or replaced, so you’re always on top of things.

You can also document how to properly improve your home or ask the staff at your local home improvement store for any tips or ideas. You can never know when you’ll need to update your bathroom faucet, so this type of knowledge is going to come in very handy.

Other than that, if you still have your home inspection report, go ahead and grab it so you can be informed regarding everything you need to pay attention to, as well as what to do to properly maintain your home and therefore lower your household bills.

6. You might have termites

Brace yourself, because this isn’t going to be very pleasant! Another thing that might make you pay more on your bills than you should is the fact that you might have termites.

These tiny creatures are professional destroyers, and they’re very, very hungry. They can easily and quickly eat through the wood of your home all day long, 7 days a week. That’s going to cause extreme damage and very high repair costs. They don’t have a problem compromising the structural stability and overall safety and well-being of your home, so pay attention to them because they’re dangerous.

If they’re outside, they will destroy trees, the beams you were planning to use for your flower beds, as well as your trellises. Basically, they’ll ruin your property in no time, leaving you angry and upset and with less money than you wanted.

Experts say that termite swarming is a huge problem for homeowners, especially after a warm winter. The best way to prevent a devastating scenario like this is to have regular check-ups for your house foundation, so you can be informed about any potential signs of invasion, such as mud tubes, soft wood that sounds empty when tapped, or cracked paint.

7. Faucet drips

Do you have a leaky faucet at home? Now’s the perfect time to get it fixed, because it might make you pay a lot more on your household bills. Besides making an annoying drip-drip-drip sound, it’s going to waste precious quantities of water down the drain.

I know that a tiny drip might not seem like much, but if you think about it in the long run, it’s actually going to become a huge problem. If you don’t believe me, here’s something that is going to convince you.

Experts wanted to know more about the effects of a faucet dripping and the overall water consumption, so with the help of a drip calculator from the American Water Works Association, they estimated that 30 drips per minute equal a waste of more than 4 gallons of water per day, over 129 gallons per month, and over 1,500 gallons per year. If you do the math, it means that you’re going to spend tons and tons of money on your next water bill!

However, you don’t have to be scared about a severe situation like this because if you pay close attention to your faucets and keep them in check, both your wallet and your bill will be fine.

So what do you have to do now? Start by taking a look at all the leaks in your home, from all the hose heads you have to your kitchen faucets. If you can’t spot any leaks, you’re lucky, but if you have any, as little and tolerable as they might seem, take care of them NOW! Don’t waste another minute, because later, you’ll be sorry you did so.

Believe it or not, if you don’t take care of this issue when it’s small enough, it’s going to cost you thousands of dollars in repairs. Don’t forget to also check for leaks that you don’t typically see, such as in areas of your basement that you don’t use or even in your attic, because they’re important too!

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Photo by Benjamin Clapp from shutterstock.com

8. Your dryer hose is backed up

If you were waiting for spring to come so you could spruce up your home and check your dryer vent hose, don’t! Do it now, ASAP! You should constantly inspect and clean up your hose because it’s going to save you a lot of trouble.

Here’s what might happen if you only do it once a year: your dryer is going to need more resources to function, which means that it will work more than it would typically need, and that equals a 30% spice on your energy bill. Is that what you want? I don’t think so.

All you have to do is grab a dryer vent brush from any home center in your neighborhood and spend a couple of minutes cleaning it. Make sure you remove all the built-up lint and you’ll start saving money on your bills immediately!

9. Your A/C unit is clogged

If you typically say something like, “Well, it seems that it’s not broken, so it’s going to work just fine for another couple of months or even years”, now’s the best time to stop thinking so. One of the things that is going to make your electricity bill very expensive is your clogged A/C unit.

Here’s the thing: if your air conditioning unit or the air filter is dirty and also the refrigerant levels are low, it’s going to be more expensive to operate. Let’s say that there are some things wrong with your A/C system: this means that it’s going to be a lot harder for your system to work, so it can run up to 30% longer in a 24-hour period, which can equal up to $50 (or even more) per month.

Experts say that for optimum results, a homeowner should schedule an A/C maintenance check-up at least every other year for the first 10 years since they bought the unit, and then every year after that, so everything is under control.

10. You don’t use ceiling fans

If you don’t have a ceiling fan, you might want to invest in one because it’s going to make your life a lot easier. Depending on the place you live, it might get really hot in the summer, and you might be tempted to turn on your A/C unit to cool off.

But if you want to save money, a ceiling fan is going to help you save up to 40% in the summer and 15% in the winter. In order to receive the best results in the hot months, the blades of your fan should spin counterclockwise so they don’t trap heat.

On the other hand, when it’s cold outside and you want to keep the heat inside, make sure that you switch the blades so they spin clockwise. This gadget will help you lower your bill while maintaining the temperature in your home. It’s just perfect for those who are looking for simple ways to save money.

11. Your home has crevices and cracks

We’re not done talking about the temperature because it plays a huge role when it comes to your electricity bill! If it’s cold or hot outside, it’s no wonder that you think about turning the A/C unit on, but that’s not going to help you save money on your bill, especially if you have plenty of crevices and cracks in your home. They’re going to let the heat and cool air escape, which is like throwing your money out of the window.

If you’re looking for an easy way to save roughly 10-15% on your energy bill each month, the first thing you should start with is sealing those escapes. Your window frames and doors should be caulked all around, and you should use weather stripping and door draft seals for the best results that will be worth every penny.

12. You don’t do any simple touch-ups

As you already know, regardless of the domain we’re speaking of, small details make a huge difference in everything. When it comes to saving money on your household bills, you can definitely forget about your goal, especially if you don’t put any effort into maintaining your home.

You can easily maintain your garage door by lubricating the guides a couple of times a year (1-2 times is going to be enough). Moreover, to make sure that mold and bacteria won’t make your tiles feel like home, you have to remove and replace all the worn-out caulking.

Don’t forget to clean every surface of your home, schedule regular check-ups, and maintain everything as much as you can. This is going to save you a lot of money and time in the long run, especially considering that home repairs are rather expensive, but it’ll also help you keep those bills small.

Are you looking for another great article? Here’s one that you’re going to love: New to Retirement? AVOID These 9 Bad Budgeting Habits!

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