Happy New Year! If you are like many people, your resolutions this year may include cutting energy consumption and saving money. Check both off your list, if you implement these 10 cheap ways to save energy. There are some peachy green tips!
Simple and straightforward, the energy saving measures should not cost you much (if anything). But you should notice a significant savings on your utility bill… the more tips you follow, the more green in your wallet. Ready to make good on a few resolutions? Let’s go!
1. Do you own a ceiling fan? During winter months, run the fan in reverse on a low setting. Because hot air rises, you can direct the warmth back down to where you need it most, allowing you to turn down the thermostat.
2. Speaking of thermostats, if you don’t already have a programmable one, it will cost you only about $35 at a local home improvement store. That should pay for itself in less than a month, if you program it to a lower setting during times at which you are not at home and overnight. Turn the heat down (or allow it to go up when using your A/C) by only 1 degree, and you can save 3% on your energy bill. We turn ours down 5 degrees while we are gone during the day, allowing us 15% savings! In a year, you can save $1000 on cooling and more than $150 in heating.
3. Turn your water heater down to 120 degrees during times you are at home, and if you leave on a vacation, go even lower. Significant amounts of energy are wasted heating water up to a high temperature. This simple step can save you another 10% on your bill. Squeeze out more efficient heating by adding insulation to your hot water tank and pipes.
4. Water can also help your house feel warmer over winter months. Its true! Know the saying, “its not the heat, its the humidity?” Put that principle into practice by using a room humidifier to add moisture to dry air. You can also put small pans of water on top of radiator vents, or by simmering a pot of water on the stove.
5. Do “green” laundry. Most clothes can be washed on a cold cycle and hung on drying racks instead of put through the dryer. Minimize your dryer time with smaller loads and a low- or no-heat setting. Cold cycle washing will save about $60/year and air drying, an amazing $120! Clean your dryer vent before each cycle and add another $34 in your pocket each year. Of course, if its time for a new washer and/or dryer, go with front loading models. They are Energy Star rated and much more efficient than top loading machines.
6. Unplug appliances that are not in use. Duh. This one is so simple, its amazing that more people don’t practice this simple energy saving step. Don’t think you can remember to unplug the coffee maker and computer? Plug things into a power strip and then switch it off before you leave or go to bed. You can save more than $75 each year.
7. Do you enjoy a blazing fire some evenings? If so, turn down your thermostat! No need to roast yourself out of bed an hour or two later (trust me, I have done this to myself). Also, if you have a wood-burning fireplace, be sure to close the damper when not in use to prevent cold air from sneaking in.
8. Is it sunny outside? If so, open blinds and curtains on south-facing windows to allow for passive solar heating. The opposite advice applies over summer and overnight. Close window coverings to prevent additional heat from coming in, or going out.
9. Close doors to rooms that you don’t use, and to closets and stairways. This will help keep areas in frequent use warmer, and will reduce your overall heating or cooling needs.
10. Install compact fluorescent bulbs in place of incandescent lights. Alternatively, go for LEDs (light emitting diodes), which have a warmer glow more like incandescent bulbs. For outdoor lighting, invest in motion sensors so that light only comes on when movement triggers them.
Put all these tips together, and you’ll save up to $100 a month, or more! Who couldn’t use an extra $1200 a year in these times?
Happy, Green 2009!