Chances are, your utility bill doubles and even triples at the height of the season – especially, if you live in an older home. But, with some simple projects, you can make your home more energy efficient, even on a tight budget. Here are five fast fixes to help you start saving:
- Lower Your Lighting Costs Replace the light bulbs you use most with energy-saving LED light bulbs. Use compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs in other fixtures until you can upgrade all your lamps to LEDs. With LED bulbs you can save over 80% in energy costs over an incandescent bulb and they can last for decades. CFLs use a fourth of the energy of incandescent bulbs and last up to 10 times longer.
- Tune Up the Toilet Toilets account for almost 30% of the water use in the average home. 1 And, leaky toilets are the #1 source of water waste in homes. In fact, that constantly running toilet can waste 200-4,800 gallons of water per day.2 Fix the problem yourself by installing a toilet tank repair kit that features a new fill valve, flush valve and flapper that will conserve water.
- Fix Leaky Fixtures Dripping faucets can also cause a spike in your water bill. Replacing the usually suspects (the aerator and rubber washer, or a faulty cartridge) is inexpensive and the savings add up. And, install a water-saving showerhead. A WaterSense labeled model can save the average family 2,900 gallons per year. 3
- Hot Water Help Your water heater may be working harder than it needs to. Reduce the temperature on the unit to about 120 degrees. Installing an insulating blanket can save about 4-9% in water heating costs if your water heater has a low insulating R-value already.(4) If the unit is older than 12 years, you may want to look into replacing it with a new, more energy-efficient model.
- Install a Programmable Thermostat A programmable thermostat can significantly reduce energy costs, especially in the winter and summer months. Programmable models allow you to automatically adjust the temperature throughout the day, creating a specific energy-saving ‘program’ for weekdays and weekends. Some models even allow you to set preferences on the hour for each day of the week. WiFi or Bluetooth enabled devices add extra control and convenience by letting you adjust the settings remotely from a smartphone.