Savings Throughout the House, Room by Room: Basement

Categories: Spend

houzThis series of several articles will feature ways to save money in every room of the house. From the basement to the attic, including the kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, closets and garage. Sometimes money savings articles can be hard to follow, because they connect various areas of life, but for those of us that are visual learners or like to compartmentalize things in our thinking, this approach can be more manageable for some people.

The basement is often a neglected area when thinking about saving money. Some areas of the country have few basements, so for you this is your storage area or place where your utilities are housed.

  • Have your furnace and air conditioning serviced once a year. This is often called HVAC which stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. Find a good HVAC company (Angie’s list is a good place to find them), they often have specials, or multi-year contracts that deeply discount annual system checkups. Call a few companies to find out their regular cost, so that you can identify a good deal.
  • Replace furnace filters about every 30 days, this will help you save on electricity and gas not to mention HVAC repairs
  • If you have a basement, make sure your homeowner’s policy has sewer back-up and sump pump failure coverage. Often this is not standard, so if you are not covered, you will lose money for these common causes of water damaged property and HVAC equipment, which costs thousands to replace if immersed in water.
  • If you have a walkout basement, or a basement wall that is not underground, make sure that exposed wall is insulated. The is especially important in cold months.  The wall can be sealed, insulated, and if you are using it for living space finish the wall with a wall system or drywall.
  • Some plumbers recommend to extend the life of your hot water heater, is to drain it once a year to remove the sediment buildup. This is easy, but be sure to search the internet for the proper procedures, since the water is very hot! Also, if your hot water heater’s drain faucet is plastic, I say don’t bother draining it. I did once, and the plastic was so cheap that it didn’t re-tighten and broke, and I had to hire a plumber to install a brass one.

While on the subject of savings on HVAC related costs, now is a good time plan to save money on electric, gas or heating oil bills.

  • Outside doors are a huge source of heat escape: weather stripping cost $3 to $15 per door
  • Windows are another huge source of heat leakage, wait for a warm day to apply caulk: cost starts at about $3 per tube
  • On sunnier days, keep the blinds and curtains open, but close everything in the evening, these will act as insulators or solar heaters.
  • Have you noticed lately many space heaters being sold at the big box retailers like Costco, Home Depot and Wal-Mart, and TV ads selling the latest and greatest? A low-cost one can pay for itself if you turn the heat down low throughout the house and put the heater in the room you occupy. Great article for more information Don’t burn cash: A space heater may help you save on your heating costs.
  • Insulate wall plates and windows (switches and plugs) on outside walls

Those of us in colder climates might have high heating bills costing up to or more than $200 per month, for 5 months. This could easily amount to a 5-month cost of $1,000, so a 20% savings is going to save you $200. These low-cost suggestions can go a long way to helping you save thousands over time.