Now that the holidays and all their accompanying expenses are gone, many of us have made resolutions to save money and be greener in the new year—and being more energy efficient at home without spending much money is a great way to start. There are so many quick and simple things you can do that are free or low-cost, you’ll still have a few dollars left at the end of every month to splurge. As a bonus, you’ll be reducing your carbon footprint.
- Have your furnace tuned up to keep it running at optimal efficiency, and change air filters monthly.
- Wear sweaters and warm socks, and throw an extra blanket on the bed so you can lower the thermostat.
- One degree lower = 10% reduction in heating costs. You probably won’t even notice, especially if you’re wearing a sweater, until you get your heating bill.
- When the sun is shining, open curtains and blinds. Sunlight heats your home, free of charge. Be sure to close them at night to keep cold air outside.
- Find drafts around windows and doors and seal them. Unsealed drafts can equal a 9-square-foot hole in your house.
- Get a free energy audit if your utility company offers one, or pay to get a comprehensive whole-house audit.
- If you have a programmable thermostat, use it to lower the temperature while you are away or sleeping. If you don’t have one, get one.
- Ceiling fans should be run in winter. Switch them to turn clockwise, use low setting, and they’ll push warm air down to you. Use the counterclockwise setting in the summer.
- Set your water heater to between 120 and 130 degrees.
- Showering uses one-fifth the amount of hot water a bath does.
- Insulate your water heater with a thick blanket, especially if it’s in an unheated area like the garage.
- Install aerators on all faucets to reduce water use.
- Fix all drips and leaks. Those are money literally going down the drain.
- Always, always turn off the lights when you leave a room for more than a few minutes, and teach your kids to do the same.
- Switching only the five most-used light bulbs to compact fluorescents can save you up to $60 per year in electric costs. They are a little more expensive than a standard bulb, but pay for themselves quickly in electrical savings, last 10 times as long, and will keep half a ton of carbon dioxide out of the air per bulb during their lifetime.
These are only a few ways to save money and energy, as well as help the environment. What a great way to start the new year!