Saving energy by using more efficient appliances and equipment isn’t a new fad…it’s a time-tested, money-saving strategy that’s good for our environment. But, what if you don’t have a big cash stash, yet still want to be more efficient? Check out these inexpensive ideas to improve your home’s energy efficiency and save on your electric bill.
- How old is your hot water heater? If it is more than 10 years old, consider yourself lucky that it is still working! Want it to work more efficiently? Pick up a hot water heater blanket to keep it better insulated, and therefore using less electricity to bring you those nice, hot showers. Blankets are specially made from insulated foam and only cost about $10-20.
- Check for air leaks around the house. The usual suspects are doors and windows, where a little bit of caulk or weatherstripping can make a big difference. Also, check dryer and stove vents by visually inspecting them from the outside. Simply replacing the flaps to ensure a tight seal will keep hot summer and cold winter air from streaming inside. Another easy fix is to place specially-made foam gaskets inside electrical outlets and light switches. These gaskets are about $1 each and so simple to install – just unscrew the switch plate and place the gasket inside.
- If you haven’t yet invested in a programmable thermostat, now is the time. Heating and cooling your home accounts for about 40% of your energy consumption. With so many options out there, you really can’t go wrong, especially if you get one that connects to your smartphone and provides energy consumption reports. You can review these reports and make manual adjustments, or let the app do it for you. Programmable thermostats can cost as little as $30 or up to $200. No matter which type you choose, you are likely to see a substantial ROI within the first few months. One note, big temperature swings will negate any energy and cost savings, as the HVAC system will have to work too hard to make up big differences.
- Switching to LED light bulbs could save you up to $200 per year in energy costs. While not as cheap as incandescent bulbs, the lifetime value of LEDs is well worth it as they use about 90% less energy.