What Every New Homeowner Should Know
If buying a new smartphone or a new type of coffee machine can seem intimidating, buying your first house can be downright terrifying. Those unknown unknowns can really get under your skin when you should be enjoying the joys of being a homeowner.
But don’t fear! In today’s world of Wikihow articles and smart home devices, managing and understanding your new home is becoming easier and easier. The key is to start on the right foot and not try to learn how to do the big things only once you’ve got a problem on your hands.
Here are six areas where you can make huge strides in improving your new home from day one.
Insulate and Save
This first tip is an absolute no-brainer. Whether it’s wrapping your water pipes or adding an extra few inches to your attic’s insulation, better insulating your home has an array of benefits. First, most obviously, are the savings. One calculator estimates a fairly typical 1000 square foot home can save over $100 a year by improving insulation performance.
As an added benefit, that savings also translates into 900 fewer pounds of carbon going into the atmosphere every year. Between the environmental benefits and the cost savings, this is absolutely worth investing in for every new homeowner. Plus, just think how nice it will be to feel extra warm, cozy, and environmentally responsible next winter.
For tips, check out the Department of Energy’s recommendations.
Use a Smart or Programmable Thermostat
Tied into insulating your home is acquiring, at minimum, a programmable thermostat. Ensuring that your house is cooler at night and warmer on the weekends when you’re at home means great energy savings (and a more comfortable night’s sleep) on top of the environmental benefits we mentioned.
If you can, though, this is a great area to invest in one of the most popular categories of smart home technology. A smart thermostat like the Nest costs just $250 and can pay for itself in just a few years by learning your preferences and habits in order to intelligently adjust the temperature to your needs. It’s an investment upfront, but it pays off big over time.
Get Smart About Water Leak Detection
One of the worst things that can happen to your home is a major water leak and a flooded basement. In a matter of minutes, the resulting deluge can damage your home’s structural integrity, in addition to damaging priceless possessions. Preventing this generally means checking your pipes to search for problems and making sure you know how to shut off your main water supply.
However, there are also smart home solutions for this problem. A leakSMART system can detect water leaks and shut off your main water supply within five seconds. The system pays for itself with the first major leak it prevents, but more importantly, it provides the peace of mind most first-time homeowners could certainly use more of.
Remember to Replace Your Air Filters
Replacing your air filters regularly can help your HVAC system run 5-15% more efficiently, saving you money and ensuring your home’s air is as clean as possible. After all, the Environmental Protection Agency points out that indoor air pollution can be between 2-5 times and sometimes up to 100 times greater than outdoor air pollution. Keep yourself and your loved ones healthy and don’t forget to take care of your HVAC system.
Invest in Quality Appliances
You may be beginning to notice a theme here. When it comes to your home, it’s generally worth investing upfront when possible to save money in the long run. Appliances are a great example of this. Buying a refrigerator that uses 20% less electricity and will last for five years longer than an older model will translate into serious savings over the life of the appliance.
The same goes for washing machines, dishwashers, even ovens. While there are great top-of-the-line smart home versions of all of these appliances, even getting a newer energy efficient model is a serious step up from an old used model.
Educate Yourself About Tax Incentives
Many of the improvements and tips mentioned here are connected with various local, state, and federal incentive programs, which can offer big savings if you’re buying energy efficient products. That can be anything from a washing machine to solar panels. So before you do the math to see if you can afford to upgrade your new home, do some research and see what tax incentives you may qualify for.
The Big Takeaways for a First-Time Homeowner
The smartest thing you can do in the end is plan ahead. Everything from inefficient HVAC systems and major water leaks are preventable with the right planning. So start from day 1, pick one area where you can improve, and get it done. You’ll love the feeling of checking it off your list and knowing your home is safer, healthier, cheaper to run, and more environmentally friendly. That’s something we could all get used to.
What do you wish you knew when you bought your first home? Let us know what helped you out in the comments, and happy home improving!