Home is the place where you want to feel the most comfortable. You deserve a little respite from the outside world, right? But turning your home into a sanctuary isn’t always cheap. From heating your house to the myriad small appliances you use daily, making your home your personal oasis can take a toll—both on your wallet and the environment.
Fortunately, for those who want to save money (and maybe even help save the environment in the process), there are all sort of things you can do. Here are 20 awesome ways you can be more energy-conscious around your home without sacrificing any of that oh-so-precious comfort!
1. Watch the thermostat: You might not think much about bumping up your heat when it gets really cold, but did you know that you could be saving five percent on your bill for every single degree you’re willing to subtract from your dial? That adds up fast!
2. Close the drapes: Your window treatments are decorative, but they can also be functional. Drawing shut your curtains at night in the winter can cut back on your home’s heat loss by a whopping 20 percent!
3. Don’t count on the fireplace: While you might feel a little bit warmer sitting in front of a roaring fireplace, it actually only directs 10 percent of its heat outwards. The rest goes straight out the chimney! Even worse: when it’s not in use, it’s basically a giant escape hole for heat.
4. Being well-insulated: You probably don’t think much about the insulation in your attic, but it’s definitely time you started. Upgrading your attic’s insulation can shave another 20 percent off of your heating costs for the year by keeping warm air in—and cold air out.
5. Use windows instead of AC: When the summer arrives, try sleeping with your windows open and fans blasting. In the morning, close the windows. You’ll capture some of that nighttime cool air and keep it inside.
6. Swap out your lightbulbs: Check your home to see if you still have any incandescent lightbulbs. Those types of bulbs spend the majority of their energy (90 percent) generating heat. Energy-efficient bulbs will save you money—and they won’t mess with your home’s temperature.
7. Control the AC: Resist the urge to leave your air conditioner on full-blast when you aren’t home. Most energy-saving programs will recommend leaving it at 85 degrees when you aren’t there. It’s amazing the difference this can make to your monthly bill!
8. Move your small appliances: Make sure your small appliances aren’t plugged in near your thermostat. If they’re too close, the thermostat will read their temperature and work overtime to cool down your already perfectly temperate home.
9. Watch for air leaks: When it gets cold, check your home for air leaks. The easiest way to do this is to light a stick of incense and hold it up by the suspected leak. If the air doesn’t blow straight up, you’ve got a leak that could be impacting your heating bill.
10. Move your furniture: In the winter, you should try to move your furniture away from exterior-facing walls. Moving them to your home’s interior walls will help you stay warmer and keep you from darting up to futz with the thermostat!
11. Consider a smart thermostat: These devices can be pricey; the smart thermostat by Nest costs $249. However, they will save you up to $150 a year, meaning that they will pay for themselves in less than two years of use! Now that’s something.
12. Diligently clean your appliances: It’s critical that you make sure to clean out the air filters in your air conditioners at least once a month. The dirtier they are, the harder they have to work—and the more money you’ll wind up spending.
13. Use cold water when doing laundry: Did you know that you don’t need hot water to wash your clothes thoroughly? In fact, cold water does the job just as well. If you use it year-round, you can save upwards of $63 a year—and use that spare cash to buy more clothes!
14. Consider going low-flow: Install low-flow shower heads and faucets and you’ll instantly see a tremendous amount of savings. Not only that, but you’ll using less water, which is great for the environment. Every little bit helps!
15. Adjust the water heater: Change the setting of your home’s water heater to max out at 130 degrees. Also, invest in a blanket designed to insulate your water heater. You’ll have plenty of hot water, but you won’t have to spend a lot to get it!
16. Invest in a microwave: It might seem silly, but using a microwave more often than the oven during the summer can seriously cut back on the cost of cooling down your home after preparing your latest feast!
17. Don’t open the oven: If you prefer to use your oven, open it only as often as is absolutely necessary when cooking. Every time you open your oven door, it loses 25 degrees—and it has to work hard (using more energy) to heat back up to finish cooking your food.
18. Stock the refrigerator: Did you know that your fridge actually works its best when it’s completely full of food? Make sure you’re keeping it well-stocked; not just for your belly, but for your wallet, too!
19. Turn off your lights when they aren’t in use: This might seem like the smallest thing, but your lights actually make up 12 percent of your electricity bill. Keeping them turned off saves both energy and pennies!
20. Don’t charge your cell phone too often: Do not leave your cell phone charging overnight. It’s an easy temptation, but remember that it only takes a couple of hours for your phone to charge. Keeping it constantly plugged in draws unnecessary power—and harm’s your phone’s battery.
Using even just one or two of these energy- (and money-) saving tips could make a serious difference to your bank account—and to the environment! Which ones do you already try?
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