Want to save money on energy bills? Some conservation enthusiasts would tell you that to curb energy consumption, you must spend money. While it’s true that you would ultimately save by investing in ENERGY STAR appliances, new windows, and the like, there are plenty of cost-free solutions you can incorporate into your daily life right now. These changes add up over time.
Follow these five simple guidelines to reclaim a portion of the cash you would otherwise spend on electricity and water bills.
Wash Clothes Efficiently
Perhaps your laundry basket contains only a few items of clothing. Resist the temptation to wash a partial load. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that washing only full loads of laundry saves the average consumer over 3,400 gallons of water per year.
You can also save money by washing the majority of your laundry in cold water. Why? Hot laundry water gobbles energy. According to the EPA, 90 percent of the energy your washing machine expends goes toward heating its water. And, since cold water will adequately clean all but the dirtiest of linens, it makes sense to dial the temperature down.
Remember to clean your dryer’s lint trap after each load, too. Removing lint from this filter increases your appliance’s efficiency and decreases the chance of a dryer fire. The EPA estimates that this tiny chore can save you up to $34 per year.
Harness Your Air Power
Air is one of the few things in life that’s free. Use free air to dry items that would otherwise require electricity:
- In the warmer months, wet clothes and towels can be hung to dry in the sun.
- Clean, wet dishes can be placed on a counter top or other open surface to dry. Program your dishwasher to stop when its cleaning cycle ends. Better yet, wash your dishes by hand.
- Wet hair dries naturally after a shower if given enough time. This isn’t the ideal solution for all hair styles and types, especially during the humid season. But if an air-dried hairstyle works for you, it will definitely save electricity.
Adjust Your Thermostat
You can slash your energy costs with the flick of a thermostat switch. During the cold season, the U.S. Department of Energy advises that you set your thermostat to 68 degrees Fahrenheit when you’re awake and 10 degrees less when you’re asleep or away. For those with central air conditioning, a similar principle applies in the summer. Set your thermostat to 78 degrees F when you’re awake and 10 degrees higher when you’re asleep or away.
Aim Your Ceiling Fans
Your ceiling fan has the power to cool your space in the summer and warm it in the winter. During warm weather, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends that you run your ceiling fan counterclockwise at high speed. This motion creates a direct breeze that makes the air in your home feel colder than it actually is. During cold weather, a slow-moving, clockwise spin circulates warm air throughout your space, spreading heat where it’s needed.
Treat Your Windows Right
When spring arrives and a mild heat wave causes you to break a sweat, you may feel tempted to switch on your air conditioner. Try opening some windows instead. A fresh cross breeze feels terrific, smells delightful, and saves you the expense of running your AC. If it’s a sunny day, you can turn off your lamps and save additional electricity.
As spring gives way to summer, the sun’s rays will undoubtedly wage war with your air conditioner. Don’t let the heat overpower you; conserve your home’s conditioned air by closing curtains and drapes during the hottest hours of the day.
In the fall, when the leaves are crisp and you’re tempted to kick the furnace back on, open the curtains of your south-facing windows and invite the sunlight back into your home. The warmth will put off your desire to bundle up in your flannel PJs – at least for a little while.
You could spend thousands of dollars on various home improvements that would enhance energy efficiency. Unfortunately, these projects require time and money that busy people just don’t have. These five tips will help whittle down your expenditures immediately, and they don’t cost a dime.