19 (Stuck at) Home Maintenance Tasks & Savings Tips for American Homeowners to do Before May
April means Spring cleaning, and because a lot more of us are spending a lot more time at home these days, we might as well as take care of our homes, and save some money while we're at it!
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1. Buy The Cheapest Tools You Can Find
Buy a cheap set of tools at first. Try to get as complete a set as you can for as cheap as you can.
Eventually, one of the tools is going to break on you because they are cheap. That is when you go out and buy that specific tool in as high of quality as you can afford because you have just proven to yourself that you actually use that tool enough to warrant paying for the higher end version of it.
This way you end up with a bunch of high quality tools you actually need and use instead of wasting a bunch of money on a set of socket wrenches when you really just needed one high quality 3/8" wrench.
2. Are You Driving A Lot Less? Time To Get A Plan That Matches
Many of us are driving significantly less. Take advantage of this and claim a major discount on your insurance. You only have to pay for the coverage you actually need, so likely your plan was based on a much higher mileage.
Are you working from home? Only using the car for quick trips to the store? Not running up the miles with weekend activities? You could be savings hundreds of dollars in the meantime.
Once things get back to normal this will give you another reason to compare again.
Even if you are driving the same amount, car insurance companies are desperate for new business and are offering steep discounts. If you haven’t compared plans in awhile, you’re wasing money.
3. Change ALL Your Air Filters
Replace the air filter(s) in your HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system, to keep it running more efficiently.
Old filters have reduced air flow forcing your equipment to work harder. This causes parts like fans and blowers to wear faster, especially after a cold winter. A $10 filter can save you thousands on repair costs!
4. Homeowners are Ditching Their Home Insurance and Doing This Instead
Here's How Some Very Smart American Homeowners Are Getting $536 Back a Year on Average
Still unknown to many homeowners is a brilliant new website being dubbed as "The Amazon of Home insurance" that could benefit millions of Americans and reduce their monthly payments by as much as $536 per year! You could bet the home insurance companies aren't too thrilled about losing all that profit and might secretly hope homeowners don't figure out how to use this site View My Savings Eligibility Now »
URGENT: So many homeowners could still benefit today, but sadly, many do not realize that this site exists. Remember, this home insurance rate comparison tool is a free tool and there's absolutely NO COST to see if you qualify for significant savings. This can save you $536 every year on your home insurance bills. See if you qualify now before it's gone »
So while the insurance companies are happy that most homeowners haven't figured this out, we are urging homeowners to take advantage. The good news is that once you're in, you're in. If lowering your payments and putting some cash out back in your wallet would help you, it's vital you act now and see if you could qualify for significant savings in today's marketplace.
How do I qualify?
Step 1: Click how long you've been in your home below to instantly check your eligibility for free.
Step 2: View your new lower rate and save money!
How many years have you owned your home?
5. Use This Free Tool To BOOST Your FICO® Score
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6. Clean Your Refrigerator Coils!
You can eliminate more than 70 percent of service calls with this simple cleaning step. Skip this chore and you’ll be contributing to your appliance repair technician’s retirement fund. Not to mention handing over $5 to $10 a month extra to your utility company because the fridge isn’t running efficiently.
Do it twice a year or more often if you have shedding pets. Their fur clogs up the coils fast.
Condenser coils are located on the back of the fridge or across the bottom. These coils cool and condense the refrigerant. When the coils are clogged with dirt and dust, they can’t efficiently release heat. The result is your compressor works harder and longer than it was designed to, using more energy and shortening the life of your fridge.
Clean the coils with a coil cleaning brush and vacuum. A coil cleaning brush does a thorough job and will easily pay for itself. The refrigerator coil brush is bendable to fit in tight areas. They can be used for cleaning your dehumidifier and air conditioner coils too.
7. Use Cold Water When Washing Your Clothes
Did you know washing your clothes with cold water can be just as effective as hot water?
For most clothes and situations, cold water is just as good as warm water for washing. An estimated 75 to 90 percent of all energy your washer uses goes to warming the water to wash your clothes -- so save that money now.
There are situations of course that you'd want to sanitize your clothes (if someone in your home is sick) or you are washing a very dirty synthetic fabric as those tend to react better to warm water. But in general, what cleans your clothes is the detergent, not the temperature of the water.
8. Clean Out Your Dryer Lint Vent
Corral those lint bunnies. Those deceptively harmless looking little fluffs love to snuggle down in your dryer vents and lint traps. Before you know it, they multiply like, well, rabbits. Dryer lint is extremely flammable if you let it build up in the vents. You can hire someone to do this for you, or you can do it yourself and buy a vacuum attachment made specifically for cleaning out dryer vents.
Chances are this task has not been done in years. It's okay! You know what you have to do, and you'll feel better and more safe once it's done. This will not only save you money, it will protect you, your family, and your valuables.
9. Replace Your Inefficient Bulbs With LEDs
If you’ve never updated the lightbulbs in your home, consider switching to LEDs. These bulbs are about four times more energy-energy-efficient than incandescent bulbs and last for many years. One tip: When comparing bulbs, use the lumens number to compare bulbs, not the equivalent wattages. Lumens indicate the actual amount of light emitted by the bulb.
Remember also that under normal usage (four hours a day) and average electrical rates ($0.12 per kilowatt-hour), replacing a 60-watt bulb with a 14-watt LED saves about $0.66 per month. Now multiply that by all the bulbs in your house to see how much you’ll save every month. Even switching just the five most-used light bulbs in your home could save you upwards of $40 a year on your electric bill.
10. Protect Your Home
With rising unemployment and economic uncertainty comes an increase in property crimes like burglary and theft. There's no better deterrent and protection than a world class home alarm system. ADT provides a state-of-the-art smart home alarm system that makes you feel protected when you're at home and lets you have peace of mind for when you're not.
As a special offer for our readers, ADT is providing $850 worth of equipment for $0. But it gets even better: you'll get peace-of-mind home protection, a ton of free equipment (including a really convenient wireless remote), AND a $100 Visa gift card from Protect Your Home. There's no reason not to get a free quote and protect your possessions and loved ones as soon as today.
11. Learn How To Cook And Meal Plan
Americans are notorious for wasting food, but not intentionally. We just happen to buy more than we actually need. With leaner times and the need for more efficient shopping, planning ahead is the best way to save money on food. That way you can buy specific ingredients and avoid as many impulse purchases as possible (and waste a lot less!).
For those who don’t know how to cook? What a wonderful time to learn to navigate your kitchen. Cooking has been proven to be stress-reducing, enjoyable, and you’ll be amazed how much more enjoyable your meals can be with a couple of added spices.
12. Don’t Pay Your Taxes (Yet)
Good news. Tax day is now July 15th.
Tuck that cash away for an emergency. Do not count on it being extended again.
13. Stop Renting Your Cable Modem
If you're paying the router fee every month, in a year, you've spent $132 for a $70 modem that you still don't own. Buying my own modem was the smartest thing I've ever done. Not oonly am I saving over $100 a year, I've also never had a single issue with it, compared to the rentals that have been riddled with problems.
My old rental modem went bad after ~2 years. I've had the one I bought to replace it for around 6, saving my family almost $1000. Not all modems and modem/router combos work with every company, so do a little research on Google or call your Internet Service Provider to find out the compatibility requirements before you purchase one.
14. Get Out Of Debt -- FAST
Here’s what credit card companies don’t want you to know...and what thousands of consumers are quickly learning about paying off their debt:
If you owe more than $15,000 in credit card debt, this proven debt relief program may reduce the amount you owe. Consumers could resolve their debts with absolutely no loan required and pay it off at a rapid pace. If you’ve struggled to pay your credit card debt, act now before your debt balloons further.
15. Flush Your Water Heater To Extend It's Life
Regularly flushing out your water heater is an important task. Getting rid of the gunk and mineral deposits that accumulate will help your water heater run more efficiently as well as prolong its life, saving you money in the long run.
Depending on your model, aim to flush your water heater every one to three years. Really, the job is so easy, it wouldn’t be a bother to do it at least once a year.
However, if your heater is old and has never been flushed, it may be better to call a professional to get advice specific to your situation. On the same note, if you're not comfortable with the follow steps, always err on the side of caution.
- Turn the knob on your water heater’s thermostat to “Off”
- Turn off the gas line or electricity to the unit.
- Turn off the cold water supply (usually a blue knob similar to an outdoor hose spigot).
- Important: turn on a hot water tap in a sink or tub. This prevents a vacuum from forming in the system while draining the tank.
- Connect a garden hose to the drainage spigot. Then turn on the spigot and drain the entire tank.
- Once drained, turn back on the cold water supply to flush the tank. Look for water coming out the hose to be clear and free of sediment.
That's it! Simple right? Once completed, just follow the steps in reverse order to get the system back up and running.
16. Check The Insulation in Your Attic – And Install More If Needed.
Important: Proper insulation keeps your home warmer in the winter but also cooler in the summer!
If you have an unfinished attic, pop your head up there and take a look around. You should see insulation up there between the beams, and there should be at least twelve inches of it everywhere (more if you live in the northern part of the United States). Experts suggest an R-Value of R38 to prevent cold/hot air leakage.
If there’s inadequate insulation up there – or the insulation you have appears to be damaged – install new insulation. Many states offer financial incentives, up to a 75% refund for instance, to encourage homeowners to better insulate their homes.
17. Put a Bowl of Vinegar in Your Dishwasher
Isn't it frustrating to open your dishwaher and find your "clean" dishes not so clean?
The culprit is hard water and soap scum. Both leave spots on dishes and leave glasses cloudy. And I'm sure you like telling your guests "it's just hard water stains" when pouring their wine into a cloudy glass...
The solution? Vinegar. This magical liquid is the answer again and again.
Some people put vinegar in the rinse aid compartment, but we advise against that as to not run the vinegar through the internal components (it is acid, after all). Rather, fill a bowl partially with vinegar and put it on the top rack of your dishwasher.
When the machine is running, the vinegar will mix in and dissolve those stains from your glasses, dishes, and even the dishwasher itself. What a relief!
18. Never Pay Out-of-Pocket For Home Repairs Again
Warning: Not Having a Home Warranty Leaves You at Risk...
Homeowners know better than anybody: if it can go wrong it will go wrong. When purchasing new construction, buyers are often given an option to purchase a home warranty that covers home repairs on everything from microwaves to roofs. What many people don't know is that almost any homeowner is eligible to get a home warranty for their existing homes. Think of it as insurance for the things that break all the time in your home.
When homeowners get the best price on a home warranty many are shocked that the cost is so low compared to the many thousands of dollars homeowners spend on repairs and contractors. Home warranties give you peace of mind AND can save you thousands of dollars on covered expensive repairs. Next time something covered breaks or needs repair you'll be able to get it fixed immediately by a qualified professional contractor, regardless of what's in your bank account.
19. Use Coke To Clear Clogged Drains
A clogged drain can be a nightmare. When a drain clogs, you may not have the necessary chemicals or supplies to fix it immediately. Instead of waiting and hoping for the water to go down the drain, you may be able to unclog your drain with Coke, which contains phosphoric acid that will eat through the clog.
- Clean the area around the sink drain to remove any debris. Shine a flashlight down into the drain, and use tweezers to remove any large debris such as hair or food from the drain.
- Open a 2-liter bottle of Coke. Pour it steadily into the drain so you can avoid splashing it everywhere.
- Allow any foam to subside, then continue pouring the Coke down the drain until you empty the 2-liter bottle.
- Allow the Coke to sit in the drain overnight. In the morning, run hot water down the drain for 5 to 10 minutes to rinse it.
- Repeat the process if the drain still appears clogged. Allow the Coke to eat away at the clog overnight, then rinse the drain with hot water.
For stubborn clogs, try mixing a heavy helping of baking soda with hot water, pouring that down the drain, and following it up with a generous amount of white vinegar — the bubbles from the reaction will agitate the particles stuck in your pipes and help them flush away.
Don't Forget About the Top 3 Biggest Savings Opportunities
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