As with most everything, you have to pay upfront to be able to save money in the long run. Buying our house was no different. When we moved in to our house we noticed a few things. First, all of the lights were CFLs or incandescent bulbs. The vast majority of the appliances within the house were near the top of the efficiency scales, and someone already insulated 80% of our pipes and vents. We weren’t off to a bad start but there is always room for improvement.
I don’t know about Danielle, but replacing light bulbs drives me crazy. There is the constant need to stock up on light bulbs because they burn out and then replacing them as one to ensure you don’t have different hues. So what did we do within the first month of moving in? We replaced 75% of all the commonly used light bulbs in our house with LEDs. There is a significant upfront cost, but the long term savings and the headache are worth the cost. Now that we are able to string a couple deals together with discounted gift cards we purchased, we’re on our way to replace some more.
I’ll unfortunately admit I have never given much thought to the amount of water I used at home. It never personally affected me. It was either covered in rent or I was just yelled at and so I used less. However, being a new homeowner it finally hit me. Using more warm water means more gas to heat the water. If that’s not enough it means more water you have to pay for. So, Danielle and I started looking for new, reduced flow shower heads. We settled on some for 1.25gpm, these cut our shower water flow in half. Honestly, I don’t know what it has saved us as I was adamant on doing this right away, but I’m sure it has helped.
We’ve recently started digging into our utility bills to help us get a feel for what we should be expecting over the next year. We saw our water usage of 400 cubic feet (3,000 gallons) for a month and were both rather upset and trying to figure out how to cut it back. Turns out, the EPA estimates a single person uses 80-100 gallons of water a day in a house hold setting. We use <50 gallons a day per person. That’s probably not going down any further.
We’re still planning on doing some additional insulation and a few more upgrades when the time makes sense, but until then I think we’re in pretty good shape.