Tips to Save EnergyToo often people think being energy efficient means added expense and inconvenience, but small steps can often make a big difference. Ask yourself these 10 questions to assess how you're doing when it comes to saving money, and the planet:
1. Are you always in a hurry?
Waking up just 10 minutes earlier can alleviate the tendency to drive aggressively. Driving 65 mph uses 15 percent more fuel than going 55 mpg (similar to adding 40 + cents per gallon to the price of gas).
2. Do you wash clothes in hot water?
It takes a lot of energy to heat water, especially the amount it takes to fill your washing machine. Run colder cycles when possible: Tide Cold Water, a Green Good Housekeeping Seal holder works well at cold temperatures. When drying, use the sensor-dry cycle to avoid running your dryer unneccesarily.
3. Do you drive short distances?
Try walking, biking, or taking public transportation when possible. An occasional stroll not only burns calories, it saves gas!
Compact Fluorescent Bulb4. Are you buying incandescent bulbs because they're "cheaper"?
Related: Top 10 Energy-Saving Tips
5. Is your sink or toilet leaking?
Leaky faucets and toilets are like a credit card balance; the interest seems trivial, but adds up! The average home uses $500 of water annually, and more than 10,000 gallons of that can be attributed to household leaks!
6. Leaving your appliances plugged in when you're not using them?
Coffee makers, TVs, and computers are some of the worst offenders. To make it easier, use programmable timers for anything with a daily schedule, motion sensors for lights you want to come on when you walk in a room, and easily accessible surge protector switches for your entertainment system.
7. Are your air filters dirty?
Air conditioner and furnace air filters can easily become clogged, reducing their efficiency. It's also worth vacuuming the coils on the back/bottom of your refrigerator to help it work properly.
8. Are you throwing recyclables into the trash?
Keep bins for recyclables in an obvious location, clearly labeled and separated. If you don't have a garbage disposal in your sink, consider a compost bucket for food waste.
9. Drafty windows?
If there are leaks around your windows and doors, use weather-stripping or caulk to seal them. For information on how to find and repair leaks, visit Caulking 101.
Bottled Water10. Buying bottled water?
A simple faucet mounted filter, or a pitcher water filter can save a family of four up to $1,250 per year by avoiding bottled water.
What are your tricks for conserving energy? Let me know in the comments.
- by Erik Eibert
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