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Whether it's winter or summer, one of the biggest expenses of owning a house is the utility bill. Retirees who are looking to trim their budget and baby boomers who are planning for their future may want to consider taking a closer look at this expense the next time it comes in the mail. Just by making a few tweaks, you can end up saving some serious change.
AARP.org recently suggested a number of ways that homeowners can better control their costs of living. If it's winter, try insulating your pipes so that you don't have to turn the heat on as high. The website writes that pipe sleeves are just $2 per 12 feet. These will often prevent pipes from bursting, and turning the temperature down in a house can save up to $200 each year.
Another cost-saving addition is a programmable thermostat. This device can be installed in place of a normal thermostat and be used to adjust the temperatures accordingly. That means that you have a lot more flexibility when it comes to heating and cooling your house. Many people depend on these thermostats during the winter, making sure the heat is on during the day and then turning it off during the night, when they're already under blankets.
If you're paying a lot for water, take a look at the valves. Tightening these pipes (which are usually located underneath the sinks) can lower the water pressure, so that it doesn't come spraying out whenever you decide to wash your hands, according to the news source.
When the weather is nicer, try to avoid using the dryer. AARP.org writes that this is the most expensive accessory in a home, costing the average household around $80 a year. Instead, hang wet clothes on railings or from racks outside, so that they can naturally dry.
FiveCentNickel.com recommends looking more thoroughly at places that can be better insulated - from the garage door to the attic. There are plenty of other tips and tricks, too. Just looking for ways to save on utilities using Google can yield a wealth of results.
There may come a time when utilities prove to be too much of a burden, especially when added to the cost of continual home repairs and regular maintenance. In this case, it may be best for homeowners to start thinking about transitioning to an independent living community, where they will no longer have to worry about the daily chores that come with owning a larger house.