11 WAYS TO REDUCE YOUR HOME’S RUNNING COSTS
Maintaining your home should be a mix of love and diligence that sometimes requires a little TLC from your bank account.
Staying on top of the work around your property is key to ensuring it remains a comfortable and enjoyable refuge from the trials that life throws at us. But it doesn’t take much for the number of tasks to mount up and become overwhelming.
Attending to small jobs helps ensure they don’t become bigger problems down the track. It’s not widely appreciated that some of these issues will take cash from your pocket every hour of every day if you don’t attend to them promptly.
A good example is a leaking tap that might innocently drip but will cost you hundreds of dollars in water charges over time if you don’t replace the washer yourself, or call a plumber.
If you’re thinking of selling, it’s essential that you fix these small issues. Prioritising the integrity of the property can often be more important than undertaking major upgrades. Problems that need fixing offer an opportunity for buyers to lean on the seller for a discount to pay for remedial work. They always ask for more money than is required, so suddenly you’ve found yourself in a negotiation corner that you could have avoided easily.
Below are some common issues that we see go regularly unattended but continually cost the owner money every day.
- Set time aside – It’s a great idea to decide how much time you’re prepared to spend on your home. It could be one weekend a month, or half that. It doesn’t matter so long as you commit to a specific period to meet the challenge of property maintenance.
- Stay in your lane – There will be some tasks you don’t know how to complete, or you’re not confident of doing them correctly. In those situations, call in a handyman and spend a little extra to ensure a small problem doesn’t become a big one.
- Drip, drip, drip – That’s not the tap or loo leaking, that’s money leaving your bank account. Thirty drips a minute can equate to thousand of litres a year. Your water company can tell you how much that’s costing you.
- Efficient hot water – Old hot water heaters are inefficient and expensive to run and will have you waiting for ages for a hot shower. Replacing them isn’t cheap, but water utility companies often have options to add them to your quarterly bills and pay them off over time. A new model will save you up to 50% on water heating costs so is worth the investment.
- Set temperatures – You may have set your water temperature on the high side. It’s worth checking that you have it set at over 50 degrees C. If it’s over that point, then you’re making your water too hot. Also, turn off your heating when you’re away for prolonged periods. Letting it run at a set level during your absence is wasteful and expensive.
- Pest control – When was the last time you had a pest inspection? These are usually conducted when buying a home. But if you’ve not checked for termites for the past decade, then you should. They can cause substantial structural damage to wooden beams and foundations. Watch out for bubbling paint, wood that has gone soft and mud tubes. If you tap a suspect beam and it sounds hollow, that’s not good.
- Light-bulb moment – Do you go around the house turning the lights off and complaining about the cost. Well, you could save even more money by replacing old-school, incandescent bulbs with modern LEDs and halogens. It’s environmentally responsible, and your bank account will appreciate it, too. Electricity companies and councils may have a checking service.
- Double-down on drafts – If you can feel a draft in your home, then there’s a problem. Seal crevices and cracks around the house so that you don’t let the cold air inside. Walk around your home to identify any issues, and pay special attention to window and door seals. Most problems can be fixed cheaply, often with a caulking gun and silicon.
- Through the roof – Heating escaping through a poorly insulated roof is an expensive problem. It’s fixed by installing insulation batts in the roof cavity. It also gets hot up there during the summer, and that makes it a challenge to keep your home cool. Get into the roof and check the quality and placement of those batts.
- Aircons love a clean filter – When you have a dirty airconditioning filter, the unit will pull more power to meet the cooling temperature that you’ve set. And that will burn additional electricity – and dollars. Clean or replace the filter regularly. Make sure you read the manufacturer’s instructions before cleaning, as filters can be delicate.
- Thanks, fans – Did you think ceiling fans were just for summer? If you climb a ladder and look at the stem of your fans, you’ll find a summer and winter setting. The winter one will reverse the rotation and push hot air back down towards you, ensuring you get all the warmth available and you’re not wasting money on heat that sits on the ceiling.
11 WAYS TO REDUCE YOUR HOME’S RUNNING COSTS