By Brian Clark Howard via The Daily Green

There are easy ways you can make quick fixes to your abode to boost its property value, without needing to refinance or inherit a fortune from a deceased uncle.

Here are 5 steps that will save you money on those rising home bills, while improving your dwelling.

1. Dodge drafts and seal air leaks

dodge-drafts-reno-lgPerhaps one of the easiest ways to save money around the house is to seal off drafts, which can reduce your energy bills 5 to 30 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. With today’s heating and cooling prices, that amounts to real money.

Check for window drafts by carefully holding an incense stick up to each frame and watch the smoke to see if there is a leak. (Be sure to remove all curtains first to avoid a fire.) Then use caulking or weather-stripping to seal the cracks. Make sure you cover any pipe outlets or cracks in the foundation. Also roll up an old towel, or buy or make a cute ‘draft snake’ to put over the crack in the bottom of doors (at the ‘sill’ or ‘saddle’).

You’ll find that a less drafty house will also win applause from your residents and guests, as no one wants to feel like they’re getting a cold shoulder.

2. Install a programmable thermostat

programmable-thermostat-ins-lgIt may not be the most thrilling piece of electronics you could buy yourself, but a programmable thermostat will pay for itself in one season, and save you time and hassle. By maintaining more constant heating and cooling levels, and always ‘remembering’ to turn down the heat at night, the average family will save $150 a year, according to the EPA.

That’s impressive, considering that programmable thermostats can be picked up from major manufacturers for as little as $50. They don’t contain mercury like the olden days, and are available at most home-improvement and hardware stores.

Installing one is usually only a matter of connecting up a few wires in the back once you remove your old one (shut off the power to the area). Generally anyone can do it with a screwdriver and the instructions. But if you have any doubt, it’s a quick fix for an electrician or handyman.

3. Fix those water leaks


A dripping faucet or pipe joint is more than just an auditory annoyance. Besides driving you crazy, it can really add up to substantial water waste. One faulty faucet wastes 3 gallons of water per day, reports the U.S. Geological Survey.

Sometimes a leak is just a matter of a quick tighten, which almost anyone can do with pliers or a pipe wrench. Other times you get befuddled, or have a leak that is too hard to get to. In those cases it is worth calling a plumber, because not only will you see lower water bills over time, but you decrease the risk of mold, which is a serious threat both to home value and indoor air quality.

It may be a cliché, but every drop does add up.

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