Information for IHFA Homeowners Summer 2013
HomeSense Keep it Green Outside, Too You can save time and money while helping the environment by properly caring for your yard. Use native plants wherever possible.
They often require less water and maintenance and are more likely to resist native pests. Cut down on the grass in your yard.
Mowing, watering, and controlling pests consume a great deal of time and resources. You don’t need to eliminate turf altogether, but try to limit it to areas of your yard where you recreate, such as play areas. Use water wisely. Soaker hoses or drip
irrigation on flower and plant beds saves 50 percent or more water compared to sprinklers, according to the EPA. Water your lawn early in the morning. Deep and infrequent watering is best. Let the soil dry between watering to prevent lawn disease and save water. You also may want to consider a rain barrel and use it to water your plants.
Go Green, Save Some Green A few simple, inexpensive steps can make a big difference to the environment. Here are a few ideas that won’t cost you much, but they could save you a bundle of green. A Bright Idea Swap out your conventional light bulbs with Energy Star-rated compact fluorescent bulbs. Fluorescent bulbs last about 10 times longer than regular bulbs and use about 75 percent less energy. Over their lifetime, fluorescents will save you about $30. According to the EPA, if every U.S. home replaced just one incandescent bulb with fluorescent, we would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes a year.
Seal the air leaks and drafts around windows and doors. More importantly, check for hidden holes in your attic and crawlspace and fill them with caulk, spray foam, or weather stripping.
Invest in a programmable thermostat for your home. The proper use of a programmable thermostat can save you about $180 every year in energy costs. Speaking of thermostats: Dial down the
setting on your hot water heater to 120 degrees from the standard 140 degrees. Doing so will save you from 6 to 10 percent on your energy bill, according to some estimates. While you’re at it, check the temperatures in your freezer and
Be Water Wise It’s more efficient to run your dishwasher and
washing machine with full loads. An Energy Star dishwasher, for example, will save you $40 in utility costs and 230 hours of your time a year as opposed to washing by hand. Similarly, fixing leaky faucets can save thousands of gallons of water a year. Often, a repair doesn’t require more than a simple part.
Composting organic waste like plant, tree, and grass clippings is a good way to improve the soil in your yard and garden and improve water retention.
Go green around your home.
Mind the Gaps
Save Energy – Stat!
Reuse and recycle yard waste.
Go natural. Wherever possible, use environmentally friendly, organic fertilizers and pesticides. Consider using a nophosphorus fertilizer. You can further reduce your impact on the environment by switching from a gas-powered mower to an electric or reel mower.
refrigerator. The ideal temperature should be between 37 and 40 degrees for the fridge and between zero and five degrees for the freezer. Any colder and it boosts your energy consumption by up to 25 percent.
Another great way to save water — and energy — is to limit your showers to 5-10 minutes. Showers account for nearly 17 percent of residential indoor water use. For the average family, that adds up to nearly 40 gallons per day, according to the EPA. Upgrading your showerheads to water-efficient versions that use only 1.5 gallons a minute can save you an estimated $200 a year. Sources: Environmental Protection Agency, ThisOldHouse.com.
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Win $100 by Making Your Mortgage Payments Online
Paying your Idaho Housing mortgage online will save you money on postage and save you the time it takes to write a check. It also could make you a winner. If you make your payment online and on time for three consecutive months, you’ll automatically be entered into a drawing to receive a $100 gift card to Home Depot through IHFA’s online payment promotion.
“I like to see the numbers online and know the payment is being recorded. Also, it makes it easy if I want to apply any extra to our principal balance,” Calvin said.
To view past HomeSense newsletter issues, please visit the newsroom at www.idahohousing.com. To order additional copies or to offer comments, please contact the IHFA Marketing and Communications Department at 208.331.4858 or marcomm@ ihfa.org. For questions about your home loan, contact IHFA Mortgage Services at 800.526.7145.
Calvin and Tiffany of Idaho Falls, the most recent winners, have been making their payments online since they purchased their home two years ago.
Calvin said he already has plans for the gift card. “We have some really cheesy door knobs I have wanted to replace.”
Connect with Idaho Housing and Finance Association on Facebook at www.facebook.com/idahohousing or on Twitter at @idahohousing.
Published three times a year by Idaho Housing and Finance Association
MoneySense Call a Housing Counselor at the First Sign of Financial Trouble If your financial situation has changed because of a job loss, medical emergency, or unforeseen expense and you find it difficult to keep up with your mortgage payments, an experienced Idaho Housing counselor may be able to help. An Idaho Housing counselor may be able to help you with your financial situation.
Call 1.877.888.3135 or email mortgageserv@ihfa. org to get in touch with one of Idaho Housing’s HUD-certified counselors. He or she will discuss your situation, walk you through the available
QuickTips Here are a few tips for cleaning without using dangerous chemicals. n
A mix of baking soda and water will add sparkle to counters, porcelain, and stainless steel. Dust the surfaces then scrub with a sponge or wet cloth. Mix it into a paste to clean messy appliances like ovens. Lemon juice and vinegar will take care of stains, grease streaks, and mildew. Water and white vinegar makes a great window cleaner. A quarter cup of white vinegar and 30 ounces of water is a great solution for cleaning hardwood floors.
refinance or modification programs, or even help you create a financial plan to get back on track. Housing counselors can help you with a debtreduction plan or a budget as well as help you find the right resources to meet other housing challenges. This free service is available to all borrowers in Idaho, regardless of whether their loan is with Idaho Housing. The key is don’t wait. The sooner you call to address your financial concerns, the more time you’ll have to decide how to best take care of the situation.
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