Did you know the average family spends over $1600 a year on utility bills alone? Here are some simple steps you can take to not only save energy but also put some money back in your pocket.
Put your thermostat to work
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recommends setting your air conditioner at 74 degrees and your furnace at 68 degrees. Investing in a programmable thermostat is a good idea. Set the thermostat to be warmer or colder when you are not home. Reduce the difference in temperature between the inside and the outside of the home to help save energy and money.
Invest in energy-efficient appliances
You may notice now that washers, dryers, refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers, air conditioners, and computers now come with Energy Star labels which mean they are energy efficient. Energy Star appliances will save you money over older appliances.
Computers, stereos, toasters, and other appliances draw energy even when they are turned off. A large LCD or plasma TV consumes about 400 watts of energy when in use and 4 watts when not in use. Using a surge protector will help reduce energy costs. Plug your appliances into a surge protector and turn off the protector when appliances are not in use.
Seal it up
A well-insulated house is a way to save money on heat and cooling costs. First, start by adding insulation to the attic floor. Next, make sure to fill in any holes in exterior walls especially where pipes come in and around windows and doors. Lastly, wrap hot water pipes with insulation.
Slow the flow
Install low-flow fixtures to conserve water on your shower, faucets and toilets. Also remember to repair leaky faucets and toilets and turn off the water when brushing your teeth and scrubbing dishes.
Greening up your home is not only good for the environment it is also good on your wallet. According to the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. generates about 208 million tons of municipal solid waste a year, that’s more than 4 pounds per person per day.
Here are some minor changes you can implement at home that will add up to real benefits.
Green up your appliances
Replace your old refrigerator and save as much as $150 a year. Appliances are the biggest drain on a home’s total energy bill. Replace appliances older than 10 years with energy-efficient models that bear the “Energy Star” logo. Energy Star-qualified appliances use 10%-50% less energy and water than standard models.
Take Your Temperature
Use a programmable thermostat to keep your home’s temperature on a schedule. Program the thermostat in cold weather and keep it higher in warm weather. Set the timer to only change the temperature when you are home. During the colder months, each degree below 68°F saves 3%-5%. You may also want to consider replacing older furnaces. Today’s furnaces are about 25% more efficient than they were in the 1980s.
Use Water Wisely
Save every time you flush by installing low-flow toilets. They use only 1.6 gallons per flush, compared to 3.5 gallons per flush for pre-1994 models. Save water at your faucets by installing aerators. This could cut your annual water consumption by 50%.
Let there be Light
Using Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFLs) will consume 66% less energy. CFLs may cost a little more but they last 10 times longer than a standard incandescent bulb. In dollars and cents, replacing a 100-watt incandescent bulb with a 32-watt CFL can save $30 in energy costs over the life of the bulb.
Practice Plastic Placement
Did you know Americans throw away some 100 billion polyethylene plastic bags? — Plastics (grocery, trash and sandwich bags to name a few) are made from petroleum. Plastics are considered one of the main contributors to global warming. Always make sure to reduce, re-use and recycle your plastics.
There are many more ways to live green. If you are looking for more ideas check out National Geographic’s Green Guide.
Please share your tips for saving money, energy and living green.
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