Costly Mistakes Increasing Your Utility Bills During the Pandemic

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are spending a lot more time at home than usual. More people are working from home, postponing or canceling vacations, summer camps, etc. Not to mention we are in the full swing of the hot summer months. It may therefore come as no surprise that many people are seeing a significant increase in their utility bills and that may definitely come with some sticker shock. Realtor.com reached out to energy experts to ask for tips on helping to keep your rising utility costs in check during the pandemic.

  1. Keep Windows Locked and Covered: Keeping windows closed is not enough to ensure your AC is staying inside your home. By locking your windows as well, you create an airflow seal that will limit the amount of cool air that leaks out. Additionally, having the hot sun beat on your windows all day can reduce the energy effectiveness as well. To combat this, you can purchase UV-rated window films or even window awnings to help keep the cool air in.
  2. Pay Attention to Draft Drain: A potential way to have huge losses in cool air is by ignoring draft drain, or letting the cool air leak through gaps in your home’s construction. Surprisingly, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, drafts can waste upwards of 30% of a home’s energy. Wow! To combat this, you can apply caulking and weatherstripping to windows and doors with small gaps. If you have larger gaps around baseboards and door frames, for instance, you can apply a foam sealant.
  3. Replace Your AC Filters: AC filters remove debris from the air before entering your system. Not changing your filter regularly will cause it to clog with debris, causing it not to cool as well, will make the unit work harder, and cause an increase in your energy bill. Another thing to mention is that dirt can damage the your AC unit and potentially the motor.
  4. Maintain Your Pipes: Check your pipes – inside and outside – for leaks. Even small leaks can cause a huge amount of water to be wasted, a big jump in your water bill. In addition, leaks can cause water damage which can also result in a huge expense.
  5. Unplug Your Devices: You might not know that just because you’re not using a device, if it is plugged in, it may still be using electricity. It’s easy and convenient to leave things plugged in, especially things you use everyday like phone chargers, microwaves and coffee makers. A great solution to help save on your energy bill and keep the convenience factor is to get smart power strips, which turn off the power supply when you’re not using your device.
  6. Install a Smart Thermostat: You can save 10-20% a year on your cooling bills simply by installing a smart thermostat. Another plus – they can be easily controlled using a smart phone!

 

Source:

https://www.realtor.com/advice/home-improvement/mistakes-to-avoid-utility-bills-to-save-money-while-staying-at-home/?identityID=5b61da44b0162aca25000040&MID=2020_0626_WeeklyNL&RID=5526101382&cid=eml_promo_Marketing_NonPRSL_WeeklyNL_cons.11635402_2020_0626_WeeklyNL-blog8pandemicutilitybills-blogs_own,” Realtor.com.

Must Visit Texas Road Trip Spots

Given the situation with COVID-19, many people either are not traveling this summer or have significantly altered their plans. Many people are traveling by car or RV instead of by plane and exploring places closer to home. AustinLocal.com put together a great list of spots to visit if you’re planning to take a road trip within Texas! Check out a few below and to see the whole list, visit HERE.

Downtown LaGrange2

Inks Lake State Park3

Krause Springs4

Round Top5

6

 

Source:

https://www.austinlocal.com/must-visit-stops-in-texas.html,” Austin Local.

Check out our New Website!

We are super excited to unveil our new Cummings Home Team website! You can search for properties, check out our listings, read more information about our team members, see a map of our sold properties, and more! Please visit us at www.CummingsHomeTeam.com to check out all the special features shown below:

MEET OUR AGENTS

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CHECK OUT OUR LISTINGS

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GET A FREE HOME VALUATION

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GET A FREE AUSTIN RELOCATION GUIDE

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CHECK OUT THE MAP OF OUR SOLD PROPERTIES

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COVID-19 Risks Based on Activity as Ranked by Texas Doctors

It can be hard to know what is safe to do during the COVID-19 pandemic and what is not. Are some activities more risky to do than others? Newsweek recently published an article ranked activities by risk factor 1-9 (1=low, 9=high) of catching COVID-19. Check out the activities the article listed below:

  • 1:
    • Opening the mail.
  • 2:
    • Getting restaurant take-out.
    • Pumping gasoline.
    • Playing tennis.
    • Going camping.
  • 3:
    • Grocery shopping.
    • Going for a run, walk or bike ride with others.
    • Playing golf.
  • 4:
    • Staying at a hotel for two nights.
    • Sitting in a doctor’s waiting room.
    • Going to a library or museum.
    • Eating in a restaurant (outside).
    • Walking in a busy downtown.
    • Spending an hour at a playground.
  • 5:
    • Having dinner at someone else’s house.
    • Attending a backyard barbecue.
    • Going to a beach.
    • Shopping at a mall.
  • 6:
    • Sending kids to school, camp or daycare.
    • Working a week in an office building.
    • Swimming in a public pool.
    • Visiting an elderly relative or friend in their home.
  • 7:
    • Going to a hair salon or barbershop.
    • Eating in a restaurant (inside).
    • Attending a wedding or funeral.
    • Traveling by plane.
    • Playing basketball.
    • Playing football.
    • Hugging or shaking hands when greeting a friend.
  • 8:
    • Eating at a buffet.
    • Working out at a gym.
    • Going to an amusement park.
    • Going to a movie theatre.
  • 9:
    • Attending a large music concert.
    • Going to a sports stadium.
    • Attending a religious service with 500+ worshipers.
    • Going to a bar.

 

Source:

https://www.newsweek.com/texas-doctors-rank-1-9-risks-catching-covid-19-these-activities-1515790,” Newsweek.

Pandemic House Cleaning Tips

Most of us have probably heard throughout this pandemic that extra cleaning is a good idea. But what exactly does that mean? A video provided by Realtor.com has several cleaning ideas and tips for during this pandemic!

  1. Disinfect Frequently Touched Surfaces
    1. Hand rails/railings
    2. Doorknobs
    3. Tables and Counters
  2. Disinfect Large Household Items
    1. Bathrooms
    2. Kitchen and Appliances
  3. Disinfect Smaller Heavy Use Items
    1. Cell phones
    2. Tablets
    3. TV and Other Remotes
    4. Light Switches
    5. Drawer Pulls/Handles
  4. Disinfect Outside Items Coming Into Your Home
    1. Items Purchased at the Store
    2. Shoes/Clothing
  5. Personal Hygiene
    1. Wash Your Hands Regularly, and Immediately After Returning Home (in warm water for at least 20 seconds).

 

Source:

https://www.realtor.com/videos/video-top-tips-for-house-cleaning-during-a-pandemic/ef37139d-c89f-4e47-9929-6887915ccf77?identityID=5b61da44b0162aca25000040&MID=2020_0612_WeeklyNL&RID=5526101382&cid=eml_promo_Marketing_NonPRSL_WeeklyNL_cons.11589462_2020_0612_WeeklyNL-blog7pandemichousecleaning-video,” Realtor.com.