Buying a home means one thing: you don’t have a landlord to foot the bill when something goes wrong. Whether you’re a DIY master or not very handy, there’s a lot you can do around your home to save money now and down the road. Start with these 10 tips.
1. Prevent Flooding
No matter if you live below sea level or not, 98 percent of basements flood at some point. When pipes break, storms flood, and other bad luck ensues, water damage costs homeowners an average $7,000 to repair. Spare yourself from experiencing this loss by inspecting your pipes once per month, caulking leaks, and calling in a plumber if you suspect a serious problem. Take preventative measures against floods by buying a sump pump to keep water out of your basement and by digging irrigation ditches to deflect water away from your home. Gutters are also a must, which brings us to our next point...
2. Clean Your Gutters
Gutters do no good when they’re clogged. Instead of redirecting water, they become stagnant pools for water to collect and seep into cracks in your roof, windows, and siding. Clean your gutters twice per year to ensure they’re clear. It’s a dirty job, but well worth it when you consider how much of a headache and financial burden water damage can cause you.
3. Prevent Ice Dams
Gutters pose a threat to your home during the winter because they allow ice dams to form. Between storms and thaws, water accumulates, freezes, and traps more water behind it—allowing water to damage your home and cost you a pretty penny. Before temperatures dip below freezing, install cables in your gutters that heat up and remove ice dams before they become a problem.
4. Purify Your Air
Save thousands of dollars in doctor visits and prescription refills by purifying your home’s air. Plant air purifying plants like spider plant or purchase air purifiers to remove harmful chemicals, allergens, mold, and more from the air you breathe. Don’t forget to replace your HVAC filters every six months too so that dust and debris don’t become a health hazard.
5. Check for Mold
Mold likes to hang out in dark, warm, and damp locations—like your basement, bathroom, and kitchen. Buy a dehumidifier for chronically humid areas of your home and scrub the first signs of mold with a solution of water and bleach to prevent a serious problem. Certain types of mold are toxic and can cause serious health concerns if untreated. Keep your mold under control to prevent yourself from having to pay thousands in mold remediation or hospital visits.
6. Secure Your Home
One of the easiest ways to protect yourself, home, and finances from a blow is to install a home security system. In 2014, over one million homes suffered burglaries—with an average of over $2,000 in losses. Purchase and install smart door locks, motion sensing cameras and lights, and window sensors to save lots of money and trauma.
7. Maintain Your Septic Tank
Some homes have septic systems instead of connecting to city sewage lines. If you have a septic system, it’s vital you know how to maintain it or you could become one of the thousands of people who spend upwards of $20,000 on septic system repairs. Make sure you never get to that point by inspecting your septic tank once per year, conserving water, and realizing the warning signs of a septic tank overflow—like slow flushing and draining and frequent clogs. You can also use tablets to help your septic system break down waste and avoid a backup.
8. Go Green
Save money for years by installing smart thermostats and light bulbs as well as planting a garden. On average, smart thermostats and light bulbs save people hundreds of dollars in energy each year. Plus, just a 20- by 30-foot garden (600 square feet) can produce up to $600 worth of produce per year!
9. Go Smart
Every 86 seconds in America, firefighters respond to a house fire. While homeowners insurance will protect you from huge losses, you’ll save money on your next premium if you take proper safety precautions like installing smart smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. These smoke alarms are better at detecting all kinds of smoke, fire, and gas while distinguishing between where in your home a fire has been detected. Instead of a beep, you’ll get an alert to your phone so you can respond faster and prevent a fire or gas leak from spiraling out of control.
The final way you can save a ton of money down the line is by xeriscaping your yard—a.k.a., planting drought-tolerant trees, shrubs, and flowers. That way, you can rely on Mother Nature to water your flora, save time and fuel cutting grass, and avoid spending money at the nursery each year.