4 Mistakes Homeowners Don’t Know They’re Making

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Sometimes we forget how much an easily prevented mistake can cost us. For example, when leaving for home for an extended period of time, I make every attempt to make sure all lights are off to prevent running up the power bill. Except this time, I didn’t. Needless to say my next power bill was a lot. It was an easily prevented mistake that costs me a lot of money. That mistake isn’t so different from the 4 mistakes that I’ve listed. So whether you are a new homeowner or not, you’ll want to avoid these easily prevented mistakes.

Mistake 1: Carelessly drilling into Walls

Whenever you hang artwork, shelves, or closet systems into one of the walls in your home, did you stop to think what is behind that wall? Hidden inside the walls of your home are wires, duct-work, plumbing pipes, and cables. You can check for some of these things with a stud sensor, but they don’t detect everything. For protection, only drill 1 ¼ inches deep to clear plaster and drywall but not deep enough to reach most pipes and wires.

Mistake 2: Not knowing the depth of your attic insulation (or where it’s even located)

To locate the attic in your home, find the ceiling hatch (a square area framed with molding in a closet ceiling or hallway). Once you’ve found it, you have also found your attic. Go up into the attic and see how much insulation you have. According to houselogic.com, the recommended insulation for most attics is about 10 to 14 inches deep, depending on the type of insulation you choose.

TIP: If you can see the top of joists (any number of small, parallel beams made of timber, steel, concrete, etc.)), you don’t have enough insulation. Also check to make sure your hatch is insulated too.

Mistake 3: Forgetting about Two of the Most Used Items

Your HVAC system and your refrigerator are two of the most used items in your home, so why do so many of forget to maintenance them?  When performing maintenance for your HVAC, inspect everything from the coil, to the fan motor, and more. Refrigerator maintenance is easy too, follow your manufacturers specific guidelines, but they almost always include vacuuming the fan or condenser coils along the bottom of the fridge, cleaning the door gasket, replacing the filter, and more.

TIP: You can’t properly maintain either of these units without replacing their respective filter. Your fridge filter should be replaced every 6 months while your furnace filter should be replaced every 3 months.

Bonus TIP: Each system can be a little different so consult the maker of your HVAC system to make sure you’re following all recommended guidelines.

Mistake 4: Not Knowing where the main water shutoff valve is located

Water damage is one of the most common of all household insurance claims. In the event a broken pipe spills dozens of gallons into your home, you need to locate the main water shutoff valve. This will be located where a water main enters your house. Make sure everyone living in the house knows where it is located and how to close it.

TIP: Penetrating Oil on the valve stem makes sure it’ll work when the time comes.

Bonus TIP: When going out of town, turn off the water to the washing machine to prevent coming home to a flooded house.

There’s a chance we have all made these mistakes in the past, but today’s a new day. Let’s be more of aware and be “smarter” homeowners.

How to Create a Budget

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When I went away to college, my parents told me to “make a budget”.  When I graduated from college, my parents told me to “make a budget.  When I was planning my wedding, my parents told me to “make a budget.”  When we were looking to buy our first home, my parents told me to… you guessed it, “make a budget.”

By this time in my life I should probably be an expert on budgeting, but I am not.  Like most people, I occasionally fail to see the big picture and give in to impulse buys or spend too much money on a pair of jeans, or eat out too many times per week.  But, that does not mean I should throw in the towel and just spend money all “willy nilly”.

Occasionally I hear my father’s voice reminding me to “tighten the purse strings” and that “money doesn’t grow on trees”.   This is my conscience reminding me to sit down to redo our loathsome, yet necessary household budget.  I am after all, a reasonably responsible adult with a child who will be going away to college in less than 8 years.

There are many factors that play a role when creating a budget from scratch, especially if it is your first time.  The task may seem overwhelming, but there are a few very basic tips to follow.

  1. List all “fixed” expenses.  These are expenses that do not change month to month.  These may include rent/ mortgage, car payment, insurances, utilities, loans, credit card bills etc.
  2. List all “variable” expenses.  These offer some flexibility such as groceries, entertainment, travel, eating out and general “fun money”.
  3. Know all sources of monthly income.
  4. Do the math… subtract fixed expenses from income.  Then factor in variable expenses.
  5. Don’t forget to factor in all of your savings/ retirement plans!

That’s it!  You now have a very basic household budget to work off of.  Once you have a budget created, whether you choose to use any of the many software options available, or if you prefer to create your own spreadsheet, keep it handy.  Look at it often.  Remember to reevaluate and adjust your budget over time as things in your life change and evolve, as they will naturally.

Remind yourself of your long-term goals.  This will help strengthen your will power and make it easier to walk away from those $100 jeans or that $6.00 cup of coffee. Personally, I hope to be able to retire and live comfortably when the time comes.  I want to be able to travel some and spend plenty of time on some beach.  That dream, along with my parents voices saying “make a budget” help keep me on track.

To help keep your budget on track, visit FiltersFast.com for all of your water and air filtration needs.

4 Simple and Money-Saving Tips Every New Homeowner Should Do

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Image Credit: rtmediation.com

You just bought a new home. Congratulations! You’ve unpacked your boxes and belongings, and you’ve just started getting settled in to your new residence. Right now is a great opportunity to make a to-do-list. Not the dreaded kind of list full of things you don’t really want to do, but the kind of list that saves you time and money down the road. Nothing is difficult and won’t require a lot of time so let’s jump right in.

Replace/Install Water Filters: Replacing refrigerator filters, under sink filters, whole home filters, etc., is critical to keeping a steady flow of clean water through your new home. The best time to buy your water filter is right now, the longer you wait the more likely it could slip your mind. The most common water filter used today is the refrigerator water filter. This without a doubt will need to be replaced. To replace:

1. Locate the model number of your current fridge filter (this can be found on the filter itself or you can look it up via your refrigerators model number instead)

2. Find your model number here

3. Place the order.

4. Be sure to follow all guidelines for installing your refrigerator filter which usually takes no more than 5 minutes. Use this blog as an additional tool to use.

If you don’t have a filter in your refrigerator, you can look up your refrigerator water filter by the make and model of your refrigerator.

Check the insulation: Take a look around your attic to see how much insulation you have. According to the simpledollar.com, there should be at least six inches (or more in the northern part of the US) of insulation. If there isn’t, you need to consider installing more insulation for your home. Adequate insulation can reduce maintenance and energy cost of your home, so don’t overlook this important step. It will also help your heating/cooling system not work as hard, which in turn will reduce the strain of your system and air filter.

Check faucets, toilets, and under-sink plumbing for leaks: Before you get too settled in to your new home, check for leaks. Any leaks you notice should be fixed immediately. Keep in mind that the more your faucet (or toilet, under-sink plumbing, etc.) leaks, the more money you waste. A good time to check for leaks is whenever you are installing a water filter around your home. This could also cause an unpleasant occurrence of mold in the home.

Replace your furnace filter: You will always need to replace your furnace filter when you first move in.

1. Locate where your filter is (Tip: look for the vent cover which look like a large ventilation grate in a wall, ceiling, or floor.)

2. Take the measurements of the opening

3. Order your air filter here

4. Install it by removing the old air filter and putting the new air filter in its place.

An old filter has a negative impact on air flow and reduces the efficiency of your air conditioning unit. It also filters poorly meaning that you have a low quality of air circulating throughout your home.

Make things easier on yourself: As a new homeowner (or any working adult), you’re busy with day-to-day life and don’t necessarily have time to worry about the smaller tasks in life. That’s okay. Make it easier on yourself and your wallet by ordering your refrigerator filters, and air filters from FiltersFast.com. By joining our Auto Delivery Program (free to join, free to cancel) you’ll not only get 5% off but will also have your filters delivered to you at a recurring basis (meaning that you decide how often you want us to deliver your filters to you). That means you don’t have to worry about ordering them again.

Buying a new home is great, and once these tasks are out of the way, you can really enjoy your new home and all it has to offer.