February 13, 2012
After the home buying process is officially over and new homeowners are finally settled into their house, the overall costs of owning property may start to set in. Electricity, heating and other utility bills can rack up quickly and cut into more of a homeowner's budget than he or she planned.
Learning to use utility resources sparingly to keep bills low can take time and practice. While homeowners are still figuring out how much heat and electricity they are truly expending, there are a few tricks first-time homeowners can use to keep their bills manageable.
Install insulation and keep vents clean
A properly insulated home makes a great deal of difference in homeowners' heating and air conditioning bills. Adequate insulation keeps a home cool in the summer and warm in the winter, greatly reducing how often homeowners must rely on heating and air conditioning units.
In addition, it's important to keep all vents and air conditioning units clean and free of debris, dust and other household items. Dirty vents inhibit the flow of cold air or heat, which often results in owners running the units longer than needed to get a sufficient amount of output, according to SmartMoney.com.
Seal cracks in drafty spaces
Regardless of how efficient air and heating units are, small holes and cracks around windows and door frames can cause air leaks. This can make setting a programmable thermostat or running units for a specified period of time virtually useless as cooled or hot air escapes the home. Homeowners can purchase caulk or sealant at home department stores to seal up these vulnerable areas.
Energy-efficient appliances and fixtures can greatly reduce a home's energy output and lower the cost of electric, water and heating bills. Seek out Energy Star products and find out if department stores, cities or organizations are offering incentives for purchasing energy-efficient products. Not only will homeowners save on their energy bills, but they may also get a break on the purchase cost of an appliance.
Conserving energy by unplugging appliances, chargers and cables when they are not in use can also make a difference in energy output and lower utility costs. Even when an item is not in use, it continues to drain energy when connected to an outlet.