By Raechel Conover, Cheapism.com
With global warming a growing threat, there's lots of talk about energy-efficient products -- a boon for the environment and your wallet. Yes, there's an initial upfront cost with these products that often pushes them beyond the cheap zone, but in the long run energy-efficient products will help you save money. You don't need to go crazy with a complicated solar thermal system for water, space heating, and cooling or with grid-tied solar electric to have an energy efficient home. There are plenty of ways to keep it simple and still enjoy the rewards. Below are some tips for how to lighten your carbon footprint and your utility bills.
Energy Star Rating
You can save up to 30% on your monthly energy bills.Energy Efficient Products for the Home
To reap energy savings in your home, you need to invest in energy-efficient appliances both large and small. Examples include washing machines, dishwashers, refrigerators, freezers, dehumidifiers, air conditioners, and furnaces. You can also buy energy-efficient light fixtures and light bulbs (new standards for energy-efficient bulbs went into effect on January 1), as well as energy-efficient space heaters and fans. Some consumer electronics, such as cordless phones, computers, and televisions, also come with an Energy Star label.
Related: Recommended Budget Furnaces
Energy-efficient products really do save you money despite the higher initial investment. Let's say your furnace goes out this winter. You can get it fixed or replace it with a high-efficiency furnace. If you upgrade from a 60% efficiency-rated furnace to one with an 80% efficiency rating (85% or higher qualifies for an Energy Star label), you can expect to save up to 30% on your monthly fuel bill; that translates to $42 on a $140 tab. What if you need to replace a 10-year-old washing machine? EnergyStar.gov says if you buy one with an Energy Star label, you'll use 37% less energy and 50% less water, which together will shave $135 off your utility bills each year.
In addition to reducing your utility costs, you can score again come tax time. Energy-saving purchases may be eligible for an energy-efficient tax credit worth up to 30% of the money you spent. The product must meet specific guidelines and not all energy-efficient products qualify. Check out EnergyStar.gov for details.
Related: Best Cheap Space Heaters
Making the Change
Once your big energy-sucking appliances are replaced with more efficient models, you'll notice big savings in the cost of utilities. Put that money toward the next item on your energy-efficiency list and you'll find that the makeover is that much more affordable.
More from Cheapism:
Best Cheap Air Conditioners
Best Cheap Dishwashers
Best Cheap Refrigerators
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