In order to maximize your ability to save money, evaluating your expenses and cutting costs out of your life is a great step in the right direction. There are some simple steps you can take to save energy at home that will ultimately end up with more money in your pockets in 2013.
Here are five areas to consider making changes to start saving money in the new year.
1. Install a programmable thermostat
ENERGY STAR has a fantastic Guide to Energy Efficient Heating & Cooling available that outlines some of the ways you can improve your home’s efficiency. According to their site, using a programmable thermostat could save you $180 this year!
2. Replace your light bulbs.
ENERGY STAR-qualified Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFLs) use much less energy than standard lighting—about 75% less—and also last about 10 times longer than standard incandescent bulbs. With regular use (for example, four hours per day), you won’t need to change the bulb for at least seven years.
Not only that, but ENERGY STAR-qualified lighting fixtures generate about 70 percent less heat than standard incandescent lighting. That means they are cool to the touch, keep your home more comfortable, and help reduce home cooling costs. You can replace almost every bulb in your house now with ENERGY STAR-qualified CFLs, including portable fixtures (table, desk, floor and other lamps), and hard-wired fixtures such as outdoor, cabinet, suspended, ceiling-mount, recessed, wall-mount models, and ceiling fans.
3. Take care of your refrigerator.
It might be where you keep food and drinks cool, but the refrigerator can be a source of heat as well. Where you place it in your house, and how you maintain the refrigerator, can save you money.
In order to save money, place your refrigerator out of direct sunlight and away from other kitchen heat sources, such as the stove, oven and dishwasher. Also make sure to leave a space between the back of your refrigerator and the wall to allow for better air circulation around the condenser coils.
You should clean the coils on the back of the refrigerator on a regular basis to keep it working efficiently. Make sure to adjust your freezer’s temperature dial to maintain a 0°F internal temperature, and your refrigerator at 35°F to 38°F. Set the freezer temperature first, then set the refrigerator’s temperature.
By taking these steps, your refrigerator won’t have to work as hard to keep your food and beverages cold. Be sure to check out ENERGY STAR’s maintenance checklist for more great ideas.
4. Don’t let your laundry take you to the cleaners.
By taking care of your washer and dryer, you can make sure that you aren’t losing money with each load of wash.
When washing your clothes, use cold water whenever possible; this will save the energy needed to heat the water. Also, look for detergents that work well in cold water settings. Many new washing machines have features to ring extra water out of clothes. This can be a huge savings because drying requires more energy than washing.
Once the wash is done, there are steps to save money with the dryer as well. Be sure to clean the dryer lint filter between every load to keep the dryer running as efficiently as possible. When possible, try to dry two loads in a row to take advantage of the heat left in the dryer from the first load. Finally, separate heavy fabrics from lighter ones when possible.
5. Do the dishes right
After dinner, skip pre-rinsing; most newer dishwashers can do a good job getting your dishes clean without pre-rinsing. Also, make sure you’re always running the dishwasher with a full load. If you can combine two loads into one, that uses less energy (and water). If you can, turn off the “heat dry” feature in favor of an “air dry” option.. If not, after the final rinse, prop open the door a crack and let the dishes air dry.
By following these four simple steps, you can use less energy at home. Not only is that good for the environment, but it can save you a lot of money each year as well. For more information about how ENERGY STAR products can save you more money, check out their website.