Today I wanted to share with you the first nine of 17 things you can do to immediately reduce your home’s energy and maintenance costs as the first installment of a two-part series.

  1. Check the insulation in your attic. Most homes have between six and nine inches of attic insulation, but here in South Texas, you should have 12 to 14 inches for the temperatures we have.

  2. Lower the water temperature to 120 degrees on your water heater. This will save energy and prevent anyone from getting scalded or burned accidentally.

  3. Put a water heater blanket on the water heater to keep the heat in. These blankets are cheap but effective in keeping the heater two to three degrees warmer.

  4. Install ceiling fans in most rooms. This is especially important during the summer to keep air circulating through your house. This will actually keep the house one to two degrees cooler without turning down the thermostat.

  5. Wrap any water pipes with insulation. We find that a lot of water pipes—exterior pipes included—are exposed since we don’t have as many freezing issues like they do up north, but occasionally, it does freeze. This will prevent freezing issues and keep hot water insulated.

“These things will save you maintenance and energy costs.”

  1. Install a programmable thermostat and learn how to use it. People have reported average savings of 20% to 30% on heating and cooling costs. Nest and Honeywell both make good programmable thermostats.

  2. Replace your air filters. This is especially important in Texas because we use our air conditioning so much. Look on the side of the filter for the dimension and go buy several at a time. Depending on the thickness, you can go 30 days to six months between replacements.

  3. Make sure all vents are clean and clear of dust and obstructions. None of your vents should be covered, because if they’re blocked, your A/C and heater will have to work overtime to heat and cool the rooms. Dust them off at least once every other month to get rid of allergens and increase airflow.

  4. Check all toilets for constant running and check sinks and plumbing for leaks. A toilet running constantly will cost you money in the long term, and you should also look under the basin of all homes for leaks. Dripping sinks can cause mold and other issues.

All these measures will help save you time and money when it comes to maintenance and energy costs. If you have questions about this topic, feel free to give me a call or send me an email. Stay tuned for part two, where we’ll discuss the rest of the items on this list.