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By the author of The Faithful Prepper and The Prepper’s Guide to Post-Disaster Communications.
Nobody likes to pay more than what they need to on their home. But, entropy exists, and things break down. Want to know what are the simple things that you can do though to keep your household running on a budget? Here are a few home repair tips that will save you money in the long haul.
Need a lock rekeyed?
If you call a locksmith out to your house, you’re not only going to get hit with a service trip fee (which will be at least $40), but you’re going to get hit with labor fees and taxes as well. You can save some money here, though, if you know what you’re doing.
There are really two options here: use a Kwikset Smartkey system or take all the locks off your house to a locksmith. Kwikset Smartkey locks allow the owner of the home to change their lock to accept any key they want anytime they want. They’re pick proof too. While I’m not a huge fan of Kwikset, this is an option.
The second option is to take all the locks off your house, take them to the lock shop, and have him rekey them on site. It normally takes five minutes or so per lock, and this can save you a heft service trip fee if there’s no locksmith anywhere within your local area.
Keeping your lawnmower running
Engine repair on a lawnmower is expensive. Replacing your lawnmower is even worse. If you’re going to put major money into a lawnmower, then you need to make sure that you are protecting your investment.
One problem is that regular gasoline has ethanol in it. Ethanol doesn’t like engines. It shortens the lifespan of a number of important engine components. To halt this, add an ethanol treatment to your lawnmower’s gasoline. Personally, I use a version of Sta-Bil that treats for ethanol.
This helps to protect your engine and keeps it running longer. You can literally save yourself hundreds of dollars by doing this every time you refill your gasoline in your lawnmower.
HVAC repairs are a nightmare.
A destroyed HVAC system completely ruined my vacation one year. Getting hit with a $6000 bill a few days before you’re supposed to head out of town makes it so you can no longer afford to go out of town. Here are a few things you can do to extend the life of your HVAC system.
For starters, change your air filter on a monthly basis. The longer that filter sits in the air return, the more dust it’s going to accumulate. The more dust in the filter, the harder your HVAC unit has to work. So, change that air filter on a monthly basis.
Secondly, I would recommend getting an HVAC technician whom you trust to head to your place on a yearly basis to do an HVAC checkup. They’ll make sure everything is in tune and working properly and can keep any little problems from becoming major problems.
Put new weather stripping around your exterior doors.
If you’ve lived in your house for a long time or just moved into a house that is rather old, odds are that the weatherstripping around your doors is in need of repair. These are the thin, squishy strips that run along the entire door frame and provide a seal between inside your house and outside your house.
If you end up in a position where your weatherstripping is bad, not only can you have problems with bugs getting into your house, but you’re going to be wasting a lot of money on your heating and air conditioning as well.
Cold air will flow right through that crack between your door and door frame in the wintertime, causing your heating bill to be much higher than it would be otherwise. Thankfully, these are pretty cheap to pick up at your local hardware store. It’ll probably cost you around $20/door to change out the weather stripping, but you’ll end up with a much better-insulated house from the outside world as a result.
Insulate your hot water heater.
The savings on doing this aren’t huge (likely around $100/year), but they are savings. Your hot water heater has to pull in a lot of electricity to heat that water up. A lot of this heat can be lost to the outside environment, causing your hot water heater to essentially have to work harder to heat up the water it’s already worked to get hot.
But, you can buy hot water heater “blankets” at your local hardware store that will insulate this essential part of your home. This insulative wrap will help your hot water heater to retain it’s warmth, making it so that it doesn’t have to use more electricity than is necessary. It’s a fairly easy and simple fix that can give you an extra $1000 over the course of ten years, so it may be something you’ll want to consider.
There are a whole host of DIY at-home tips you can take to save money.
And this article is barely scratching the surface of what you can do. Your local hardware store can actually save you a significant amount of money on your monthly household expenses if you know where to look. But what are your thoughts? Are there other tips you would recommend to others to save money? Do you regularly do any of the above? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Aden Tate is a regular contributor to TheOrganicPrepper.com and TheFrugalite.com. Aden runs a micro-farm where he raises dairy goats, a pig, honeybees, meat chickens, laying chickens, tomatoes, mushrooms, and greens. Aden has three published books, The Faithful Prepper, The Prepper’s Guide to Post-Disaster Communications, and Zombie Choices. You can find his podcast The Last American on Preppers’ Broadcasting Network.