A home is supposed to be a sound, long-term investment for its owners. It can also, however, be a huge drain on the owner’s wallet. Today, we are going to look at the four most common areas of the house (including windows!) where money is wasted and suggest some tips that owners can use to turn off the negative cash flow.

Water

Indoor and outdoor leaks can quickly add up to a large expenditure. For instance, a faucet that drips just one drop per second can waste 6428 gallons of water on an annual basis. Fixing leaks in faucets, toilets, and outdoor plumbing is a quick and easy way to save money.

Another quick fix is to lessen time spent in the shower from 15 to 10 minutes each day. The person taking the shower will get just as clean, but at one-third less the cost.

Finally, most water heaters come set at a maximum of 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Lowering this temperature to 120 degrees can slash water heating costs be six percent. It can also spare family members painful burns and scalds.

Electricity

Paying electric bills can quickly gobble up hard-earned cash. Families that want precise numbers may want to consider purchasing an energy monitor. These devices cost around $150. They show household electrical use in real time and even project the monthly bill.

Families looking to save on their electric bill should remember to turn out lights that are not being used. Another trick is to turn off and unplug small appliances. Small appliances expend more than 40 percent of their total energy usage when they are turned off but left plugged in.

Still another way to lower electric costs is to switch to energy-efficient LED light bulbs. Although they cost more than regular bulbs initially, LED bulbs can have a lifespan of over 50,000 hours.

Heating and Cooling

Bills go up during the hottest and coldest days of the year, but with a little effort, they don’t need to go as much. The first thing families can do to save money is to ensure that their furnace carries the Energy Star logo. Energy Star products are products that have met strict Environmental Protection Agency guidelines.

Next, families should consider turning the thermostat down a few degrees in the winter and up a few degrees in the summer. Because 50 to 70 percent of a household’s energy budget is used for heating and cooling, even a slight change could make a noticeable difference in cost.

Families will also want to look at installing better-insulated windows and doors. Just having single-pane Energy Star windows installed can save households up to $450 each year in heating and cooling bills.

Ducts need to be checked regularly for leaks, since between 10 and 30 percent of heated or cooled air escapes through compromised ducts.

Families don’t need brand new houses or expensive renovations to save money on water, electricity, heating and cooling. It only takes a few inexpensive changes to stop the waste and save hundreds of dollars.

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