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Money-saving tips for home buyers

(NC) Moving to a new home is an exciting experience, but it can come with many costs, including mortgage payments, legal fees, and taxes. When moving in, however, there are a few simple tasks that homeowners can perform to improve energy efficiency and to save money in the long run.

“Your heating and cooling systems are very important to the function and enjoyment of your new house, but they are often one of the last things home buyers think about in the first few days,” says Dave Walton, the director of home ideas at Direct Energy. “Getting a thorough inspection performed and learning how to efficiently operate your furnace or air conditioner can lead to big savings on your energy bills and save you from costly repairs down the road.”

If you're moving this spring or summer, consider the following money-saving tips:

Book a home energy audit – This report will help you learn more about how your house uses energy and provides recommendations on how to improve the efficiency of your home, including identifying air leaks, or areas which need additional insulation.

Get your ducts cleaned – Consider professionals for this job especially if the previous owners had pets, or if the house has recently been renovated. The average duct cleaning removes approximately5 pounds of dust and debris. If it's a brand new home, check with your builder to see if a duct cleaning is included with closing.

Replace furnace filters This allows the furnace or air conditioner to run more efficiently. Clogged filters mean that furnace motors must work harder and use more energy. Filters should be replaced at least every three months.

Inspect the HVAC system – Schedule a professional inspection of the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system, before you move in to ensure they are all working properly. If there's an issue, you may be able to negotiate a replacement or price reduction.

Install a programmable or learning thermostat – Install a programmable thermostat and set it based on your living patterns to control your energy usage. New 'learning' thermostats monitor your usage and adjust temperatures automatically.

More information on this topic is available online at www.davescorner.ca.

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