By John Buchanan

Hello, Gayborhood residents! It’s me, John Buchanan, your Gayborhood Realtor of choice for going on three years. In each and every edition of the Gayborhood realty corner, I discuss ways to save you money. Not all of these tips will work for everyone, but I hope many of you can utilize them and save money.

When buying your house, you can save money not only after you move in, but also even before you unpack all of your stuff. Here are some of those easy things that will save you money, sooner than later.

1.Water heaters. Lower your temperature setting to 120 degrees. This is the optimum temperature setting. You seriously don’t want your water any hotter to avoid serious bodily injury. By lowering the temperature setting, you will lower the cost of your energy bill.

2.Ceiling fans. Installing ceiling fans in as many rooms as possible Ceiling fans circulate the air in the rooms, raising the temperature a few degrees in the summer and lowering it in the winter. Your fan can either blow air down or suck air up; you can usually control the direction. In the summer, you want the air to blow the cool air down and circulate it. In the winter, draw up the warm air. This will lower your energy billconsiderably.

3.Insulation. Go in your attic and measure your insulation levels; you should have at least six inches of insulation everywhere. If it’s deeper, that’s even better. You can always find places offering insulation deals; if you need it, spend the money. It will save you money in the end.

4.Wrap your pipe. Yes, I know all my hung tops in the Gayborhood think I’m talking about their individual pipes. Well, I am, sort of: All pipes
should be wrapped, so interpret that as you need to. Wrapping your homes’ pipes will also save you money. Wrap the first three feet of your hot water heater’s pipe with insulation. This will help hold the heat of the water as it is being transported to your faucets, and save you money.

5.The laundry room. This next item can save up to 20 percent on your monthly energy bill, and that adds up over time. The dryer utilizes 20 percent of your energy bill, so eliminate it. Consider purchasing a clothes-drying rack, or hang your clothes on clothesline. Hanging your clothes not only saves energy, but also extends the life expectancy of each clothing item. The dryer shrinks clothes and fades colors, so think about using alternative methods.

6.Drip, drip. Check all water areas for running water. If you hear it or see it, you’re throwing away money each and every day. One of the biggest culprits of water waste is we humans. We take showers way too long. An average shower should take five to 10 minutes. On average, we take 15-to-20 minute showers, which increase our water and energy bills by more than $300 dollars every year. Try the following test: Time yourself or your significant other (don’t tell them!) to see how long your average showers takes. Once you have determined your average, start working on lowering your times in the shower. Also, if you have a toilet that continues to run after you flush, you are throwing money away with every flush. It’s a simple fix: Your local hardware store has replacement parts for a quick and easy money-saving flush.

7.Water levels. Reduce the amount of water in your toilet tank, on top, where the water is held. Fill plastic water bottles with water and some weighted stoned or pebbles to sink the bottle to the bottom of the tank. This causes you to use less water with each flush, saving you money with every flush.

8.Filters. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Change your filters monthly. You’ll breathe cleaner air and your air conditioner or heater will perform more efficiently. Buy them by the box at your localhardware store; it’s cheaper that way. Then change them on a regular basis. Its quick, it’s easy, and it’s a no-brainer.

I hope some of these tips will come in handy. I always welcome your thought comments or questions on any issue; if you have a topic you would like discussed, please contact me.

Until next issue, stay strong, stay sweet and be proud of who you are!

Turbo Realty’s John Buchanan has twenty years’ experience as a Realtor, and writes In the Gayborhood to communicate, educate, and save his clients money. For more information, call 832-969-4352 or email Johnwb214@aol.com.