A Green Home Will Save You a Ton of Green ($)

Save the earth AND some cash? Talk about a win-win!

You’re already living a pretty green lifestyle at home with recycling and composting and all that jazz… But have you given much thought to your actual house? The thing that’s lapping up power and water like crazy, with exorbitant bills to show for it?

Here’s how you can have a greener home, and a lot more money in your pocket:

Get an Energy Audit

Lower your utility bills and reduce your home’s energy usage by calling your utility company and asking for a whole-house evaluation. Most companies will do this for free. The audit will tell you where the energy is being used and recommendations for reducing the costs by doing simple repairs, weather sealing, or by upgrading equipment. If you want to do your own quick-start audit, go to the “energy audits” section of Consumer’s Guide to Energy and Renewable Energy.

Phase into LED

As your old incandescent supply of light bulbs diminish, replace them with LED bulbs. They are 90% more efficient than the old bulbs and they can last up to 20 years! They do cost more up front, but the future savings on your electric bill will certainly make up for it.

Full-Load Washing

Wait until you have at least one full load to do laundry. Wash with cold water and save 90% of the energy that would have been used to heat the water. If you have several loads to wash, do them back-to-back so you can use the residual heat in the dryer. Remember to remove the lint from the dryer after each cycle to improve circulation and reduce energy use.

Unplug Phantom Energy

Even when your appliances are technically off, they continue to suck energy out of the wall and out of your wallet. Save at least a hundred bucks a year by unplugging your devices and appliances at night, or when you’re not home/on vacation. Make it easier for yourself by using smart power strips with an on/off switch.

A Degree of Savings

Programmable thermostats are inexpensive and easy to install. Make sure your A/C or heater automatically turns off at hours when no one’s home. Why heat up/cool down an empty house? Same goes for nighttime, when everyone’s asleep. Sticky summer nights may be uncomfortable, but sometimes a really good fan will suffice.

Install a Ceiling Fan

Save 19% percent energy and reduce your heating and cooling bill when you put in a ceiling fan. Install them in rooms you use the most. In the summer, they’ll keep you cooler by assisting your AC… If it’s not too hot, you may not even need the AC at all! In the winter, simply switch the blades to clockwise to circulate the warm air that’s rising back down into the room. (The more you know…)

Seal & Wrap It Up

Seal air leaks around doors and windows with caulk and weather stripping. Don’t forget the attic and the basement, where the biggest gaps and cracks are often found. Recessed lighting and outlets are other places energy can seep out. Seal connections on heating ducts, then wrap ducts in insulation to help your home’s heating system run more efficiently. Cover your water heater with an insulating cover and reduce the heat loss from 25% to 45%. Keep going and insulate the pipes running from the water heater to the shower and faucets and save even more. When in doubt, insulate!

Buy Energy Star

When you want to upgrade to more energy-efficient and money-saving appliances like a tankless water heater or a washer and dryer, look for the blue and white ENERGY STAR label. You’ll recoup the extra money spent in no time, and you could even receive tax credits! Learn more at Energystar.gov

Filter in Savings

It’s a pain to store a pack of filters. And when one does need to be replaced, we often put it off. But guess what: A dirty filter makes your HVAC unit less efficient, and increases your electric bill. Cut your utility bill and prolong the life of your HVAC unit by buying a permanent filter. Just hose it off when it gets clogged. You’ll recoup the cost of the filter in about a year.

Turn Down the Tap

Save $100 on your bill by taking less baths and more showers, and by using a low-flow shower head. Conserve water when you brush your pearly whites – two and half gallons of water flows out of the average faucet per minute. That’s a lot of water going down the drain, so turn it off until you need to rinse. If you have an older toilet, you could be using up to 7 gallons for every flush. New, low-flow toilets use about 1.6 gallons. Don’t forget to close the lid! 

How do you go green at home? Share all your Earth & money saving tips with us in the comments below!

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