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How to Save Money Around the House

The holidays are over, and the bills are showing up in the mail.  January is the beginning of the new year and the new decade.  It is also a good time to review and sometimes change your day-to-day habits.  There are plenty of ways you may be losing money at home and not even realize it.

LAUNDRY It used to be that washing machines required hot water to really get clothes clean, but washers and laundry detergents have improved.  Now the recommended water temperatures have decreased. Wash clothes in cold water.  Unless you are cleaning garments or linens that are heavily soiled or that have been in contact with a sick person, your laundry will get plenty clean with cold or warm water, which require much less energy.

THERMOSTAT One way to save money is to compromise with your thermostat. Whether you are turning up the heat in the winter or turning the Air Conditioner down in the summer, it is tempting to just set your thermostat to your ideal temperature and just let it run.  But by compromising a few degrees and putting on a sweater or turning on a fan, you can save on your energy bills in the long term.  If you have a 2-story house, close the vents upstairs which is usually warmer and redirect the heat to the colder first floor.  Or close the blinds during the summer and investing in thermal energy efficient windows and doors can also help regulate your home’s temperature without touching the thermostat. Others are investing in the Nest thermostat, which allows consumers to be comfortable and save energy without having to remember to re-adjust and set their thermostats.  Nest is a new design which learns people’s heating and air conditioning habits and adjusts accordingly.  Aesthetically, the sleek design — a circle with a standard degree display — makes it unlike any other thermostat. Nest products interact with homeowners rather than just implementing their commands. The Nest thermostat, as well as the company’s smoke detectors, are intelligent. They learn and adapt. Eventually all these smart things in the home will be connected to each other and to the people who live there through smart phones and wearable computing devices.

SMART WATER HEATERS WITH CONTROLLERS Enjoying a hot shower whenever you feel like it is one of life’s simple pleasures. It comes at a high cost though – having hot water at the ready means it’s constantly being heated and reheated which leads to needless energy consumption and sky-high power bills. If your old water heater is due for a replacement, getting a smart one is the best way of saving energy while not giving up on that relaxing shower. And if it’s working fine, you can still get all the benefits of a smart water heater by upgrading your traditional model with a smart controller.Smart water heaters and controllers establish a wireless connection to your phone or computer. From there, you can monitor the heater’s status, set schedules, and precisely adjust the output temperature. If there’s ever a leak or malfunction, sophisticated sensors can alert both you and a licensed technician in time to prevent the worst. Best of all, this works no matter where you are.  You can set the timer to auto off  when the house is empty (vacation or work day), and then program to have it turned back on before arriving home.

AC & Heating Unit Air Filters The effectiveness and efficiency of the AC portion of your HVAC system partially depends on a working filter. Changing an air conditioner filter is a simple job, and it’s one that every homeowner should know how to do themselves. It is recommended that all filters should be changed every time you change clocks for day light savings time.  Depending on the type of filters you use, you may need to change them more often.  Keeping your air conditioner filters in tip-top shape is just one way to extend the life of your system and ensure optimal performance and efficiency.

APPLIANCES Inefficient kitchen appliances waste energy and money. Appliances are expensive to purchase, and it makes sense to take care of them to ensure that they last as long as possible.  For appliances to work efficiently, it is important to practice good upkeep.  Change all filters on the recommended schedule.  Keep all appliances clean and perform regular maintenance to make sure that they are not using more than their share of energy.   Locate your refrigerator away from sources of heat, such as the stove or oven, which can cause it to work harder.  Let foods cool first before putting them inside the refrigerator.

LIGHTING Turn off electronics and lights!  Leaving lights on when you are not in the room is an easy mistake to make but that energy expenditure adds up over time.  By that same token, electronics are using electricity even when they are turned off.  So, try unplugging them when you are not actively using it.  You can also try plugging multiple electronics into a single power strip so that you can easily switch it off when you are finished.  Other techniques to control the electricity usage is to hang  a mirror opposite any available window if you have a dark basement or family room. No matter how small the window, it will bounce more light around.  Or if you are planning a remodel, think about adding windows to the southern face of your home to get the maximum benefit from natural light.Add recessed lighting to any room that needs more lighting than is available from natural light sources. If you are budget conscious, consider halogen MR16 bulbs, which rule a large part of the market right now. If you are willing to spend more, try the low-voltage bulbs gaining momentum in residential projects. Use LEDs for a clean, white lighting option. Although the initial cost will be considerably higher, they can deliver lighting through a much smaller fixture and last a very long time.  LED technology has come a long way over the last few decades. Light-emitting diodes are small yet mighty, using minimal power and lasting a long time. They also come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and colors.  An additional way to reduce electricity usage is to use dimmers for all your lighting. More important, create zones for your lighting so you can shut down an area that isn’t in use. When possible, install lighting for a main seating area on one circuit and perimeter lights on another. When you shut down lighting on the periphery, you reduce the amount of light bouncing off the walls, allowing for maximum comfort and customization.

Creative Spaces Remodeling (Design.Build.Live) Today, if you are ready for the next step in your remodel or need more guidance to get you started, Creative Spaces Remodeling is here to help.  Life on the Chesapeake Bay is wonderful, but Creative Spaces Remodeling can help make the experience even better.  We’re ready to provide you with exceptional service no matter how big or small the job is.


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