Whether you are moving into a new home, getting ready to sell yours or a vacant home, keeping energy costs down is desirable to both buyers and sellers. Even though there are many energy-efficient options these days, there are a growing number of energy-suckers.
You might be surprised to learn just how much that beautiful water feature costs to keep it running 24/7 year-round. Depending on where you live and the wattage needed, that fountain could cost an extra $30 per month.
If your house is on the market and sitting empty, that cost (without the enjoyment of usage) can really make you feel like you’re pouring money down the drain.
Now, if you've read some of my other columns, I know what you are thinking. Phoebe is an advocate for water features! Yes, it's true. I love them and I really like them placed on properties where neighborhood noise or traffic is roaring competition to a bit of silent tranquility. They can make buyers feel more relaxed and comfortable.
So, it's not necessarily the case that you should do away with them. However, you might consider turning them off when the home isn't being shown.
On that topic of turning things off, a conversation with the gas and electric company out here
in California was enlightening.
Just turning appliances off, it seems, isn't enough. These energy-thirsty devices continue to suckle away at the giant electric grid nipple ... sucking up energy and draining your bank account. Pretty sneaky!
So here's a tip. It goes hand in hand with other columns I've written about getting rid of clutter. Put away the cords and the appliances! If you are selling your home, show it off like a model home-no electrical cords. By unplugging the toaster, blender, toaster grill, juicer, hair dryer, electric toothbrush, phone chargers, and computers, (and every other charger cord you have), you will de-clutter and save money on your utility bill, says the electors company. Individually these appliances may only use up a little bit of energy while turned off, but collectively they can amount to tens of dollars each months.
I know it's not how we live, but it sure does look nice to walk into a home with minimal appliances. You can actually see the counter tops and the floor beneath a desk, instead of an electrical nest.
This isn't just for sellers. It's good for all of us. While we may not put every cord away routinely, we can conserve a bit more by unplugging (from the wall) the appliance; it stops the energy bleed.
Energy-efficient appliances could actually be costing less than heating a room in the house with a 1500 watt space heater.
It's a good idea to get your heating system checked. A buyer's home inspection will reveal issues but if you can start the energy-saving practices ahead of time, you'll be in good shape when buyers ask, "So, what's the average electric bill for this place?"
Phoebe Chongchua Realtytimes.com January 6, 2011