Whether you’re buying or renting your home, there are things you can do to make life easier on yourself, your living space, and your bank account. Everyday costs associated with ordinary activities can really add up, so doing little things that address those costs can put some extra change in your pocket. Maybe even enough to get out of the house for a while.

Dryer Vents Can (and Should) Be Cleaned Periodically

Most people know you need to clear debris from your lint trap every time you use the dryer. If you didn’t know, you’ll be shocked at how much faster your clothes dry from now on. What most people don’t know is that the same lint and debris actually gets inside the dryer over time and this too needs to be cleared out. Of course, moving the dryer to get to the access panel isn’t something you have to do between every load of laundry, but doing this once or twice a year can reduce the risk of fire. Be sure to unplug the dryer and make sure the gas valve is turned off if yours uses one.

Air Filters Need to Be Changed AT LEAST every three months

Changing your air filter on a regular basis is crucial preventative maintenance for your HVAC system. They don’t have to be changed every single month in all homes, although in many homes that’s necessary. It really depends on how much dust, dander and debris you’ve got in your home. If you’ve got carpeting throughout, an air purifier in every room, no pets, no smokers, and you’re rarely at home, your filter is going to last longer. You might only need to change yours four times a year. Someone who has hardwood floors, smokers, three dogs, two cats, and a wood shop in the attached garage is going to go through filters faster. A monthly filter change actually might be appropriate. Regardless, filters need to be changed after three months even if they don’t look like it. So write the date on your filter when you install a new one, and if during your monthly visual filter check you notice that yours is three months old, it’s time to change it.

Replacing Windows Doesn’t Always Drastically Reduce Energy Costs

While it’s easy to imagine brand new windows bringing your utility bills down significant, that’s not always the case. Sometimes you can see a more noticeable difference in your electric bills after simply sealing drafts. If your windows are properly sealed with no drafts, you may notice a slight difference in energy consumption after replacing your windows, but it might not be something to write home about. If you feel or see outside air coming in, you need to seal your windows. Renters won’t be replacing windows in a rental home, but if you notice drafts, let your landlord know about it because you are the one paying for the energy that is going out of it.

Ceiling Fans Can Reduce Your Energy Costs

Ceiling fans cost a lot less than new windows and having one in every room can leave you with a cheaper utility bill. When you have more air circulating throughout the house, your thermostat won’t need to be set quite as high. In the summer, you want to set the fans so that they’re blowing air downward. When it gets cold, change the setting so that it’s pulling air upward. There’s a switch near the base of most fans to easily switch back and forth between seasons. If you rent, you won’t be putting ceiling fans in a home you don’t own, but if fans are already there in the home, be sure to use them properly.

Pay Attention to Your Thermostat

A programmable thermostat is great for people who are on pretty regular schedules. They can be programmed so that your air conditioner isn’t on full blast all day while you’re at work, but it can get the house to your liking just in time for your return. The savings can really add up over time. Many allow for an alternative setting that applies to weekends only so that you almost never have to bother with manual overrides. If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, you can manually set yours a little lower when you leave for the day and turn it back up when you get home. Just a degree or two difference can have a significant impact on our bill.

Whether you’re buying or renting your home, these tips will save you money, protect your investments, and even reduce the chances of a house fire. Saving money where it counts is important, and so is knowing which corners not to cut. When it’s time to replace those filters, be sure to order filters online to save yourself a trip to the big box store—a place where quality is lower and temptations to buy other things you don’t actually need are high.

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