If you own your own home, chances are you also feel like you’ve got a to-do list. Your weekends might include fixing this and replacing that. When does it end? Responsible homeowners know that overlooking the small stuff can end up costing them big. Here are three money-saving home improvements you should tackle right now:
The Oklahoma wind can easily find its way into your living room with just the smallest crack. In fact, the federal government’s Energy Star program cites air leaks as a primary cause of heat loss, estimating that those “little leaks” can cost you big money, up to 10 percent of your annual heating bill. To ditch the drafts, look for gaps around pipes and wires, foundation seals and mail slots. Check to see if the caulking and weather stripping are applied properly, leaving no gaps or cracks, and are in good condition. Check the exterior caulking around doors and windows, and see whether exterior storm doors and primary doors seal tightly. If you can see daylight around a door or window frame, then you know the door or window needs attention. You can usually quickly seal these leaks by caulking or weatherstripping them.
The tiniest plumbing drip has the potential to make a major impact on your wallet. Small leaks can waste up to 1 trillion gallons of water a year nationwide. Leak detection isn’t too difficult if you know some of the most common places where leaks occur in your home’s plumbing system. These include faucets, pipe valves and fitting, dripping shower heads and worn toilet flappers.
Water leaking from your toilet tank will not only cost you money when it comes to your utility bill, but it can also cause water damage to your bathroom floor and premature wear of your toilet’s internal workings. To find out whether your toilet tank is leaking, add a few drops of red food coloring to the water in the tank. Give it about an hour and see if the water in the bowl is pink. If it is, you’ve got a leak. Changing the flapper might just be the fix you need.
Your home’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system works hard all year. It’s essential to keep it up and running, performing at peak efficiency. The easiest (and cheapest) way to do this is to keep vents and filters clean. In addition to changing your filter monthly or quarterly, take a moment to visually inspect your vents. When filters get clogged with dust and other debris, air flow is less efficient, meaning your system has to worker harder to achieve the temperature you desire and costing you more money. For extra measure, be certain that your outside air conditioning unit is obstruction free too. Spending a few minutes checking the HVAC system can help ensure your house stays comfortable without extra wear and tear.
This is just a sample of the benefits of money-saving home improvements that are easy to tackle. If you’re interested in learning how to master home maintenance, check out architecture and construction short courses that include a variety of DIY opportunities. Call 405.377.3333 to register.
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