Happy Earth Day! This movement began in 1970 to make people aware and motivate them to act on environmental issues. Planting trees, using less energy, and reducing our carbon footprint are only a few of many ways to save our planet.
There’s constant talk of going green and saving money. A major source of America’s spending is our electric bill. Luckily, there are a number of things you can do to decrease that bill, saving both money and energy to benefit the earth. Some methods are free and simple, others may require some upfront cost. Either way, it’s important that we focus on a greener environment.
Windmill. Sure, it seems old-fashioned. They’re not easy to come by. But windmills provide natural energy and after the initial cost, it will cost you nothing.
Keep a steady temperature. The bigger the difference in temperatures in your home, the more your thermometer will have to work to satisfy those numbers. Try to keep the temperature in the summer and winter months within two degrees of each other.
Use fans or open windows. The longer you hold off on turning the air conditioner on in the summer, the better. Try to use fans or open the windows for fresh air as long as you can before switching on.
Open or close blinds. On a hot day, close the blinds and take advantage of the shade to cool your home. On a cold day, open the blinds to let as much warm, natural light in as possible.
Solar panels. This is one of those costly measures and may not be the best choice for everyone. But if you can afford it, you can cut your energy use by about 75%.
Dim your lights. Installing dimmers will not only set the mood in a room, but will reduce the amount of energy you’re using when those lights are on.
Regular maintenance on large appliances. Items like your fridge, air conditioner, dishwasher, and water heater make up the majority of used energy in a home. Have a professional perform routine maintenance on these appliances to make sure they’re running as efficiently as possible.
Buy energy saving appliances. Older and less efficient appliances waste a lot of energy. There are tons of options to buy Energy Star appliances these days. Yes, there’s a large upfront cost, but it will eventually pay off as they are 10-20% cheaper to operate. According to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, buying a new air conditioner with a better energy efficiency rating can halve the cost of cooling a room.
Change your light bulbs. Efficient bulbs, like LEDs or CFLs will reduce the amount of energy used. While they’re more expensive than regular light bulbs, they last about ten times longer.
Change your air filters. Not only should your air conditioner and furnace get routine maintenance, but it’s up to you to change those air filters on a regular basis. Dirty and clogged filters will make your air conditioner and furnace work harder to cool or heat our home. Change them once a month, or once every three months at the most.
Maintain weather strips. Check out the strips around doors and windows to make sure they’re not worn. Preventing air leakage can reduce energy costs by about 15 percent, according to Consumer Reports.
Do laundry with cold water. Again, your water heater uses a lot of energy. While we like to wash clothes that are severely spoiled on the hottest setting, it can drain energy by utilizing the water heater. LG Electronics says heating the water during a laundry cycle accounts for about 90% of the energy the machine uses.
Air dry dishes. If you don’t mind using the extra counter space, try air drying all or some of your dishes. The less you use your dishwasher, the more energy you’ll save.
Air or hang dry clothes. Same goes with clothing. If you have space in the laundry room to hang up wet clothes or don’t mind having a clothesline in the backyard, you can save energy by using your dryer less.
Off-peak rates. Electric companies typically offer reduced rates at certain times (typically at night). Use this to your advantage to run large appliances like the dishwasher, dryer, or water heater.
Unplug small appliances. We might think that if we’re not using the appliance, it must not be using energy. Not true. Even small things like phone chargers and toasters are still sucking energy even when they’re not in use.
Keep vents open. It’s a myth that closing vents in rooms that aren’t in use will reduce energy. It can actually raise your cost because your air conditioner or heater will have to work harder to cool or warm the house. Allow free-flowing air in every room.
Turn off lights. This is an easy one. When you leave a room, just turn the light off!