Going green isn’t just good for the environment — it can save you money as well. And what better time to start some good habits than the New Year?
Turn down the heat.
Break out the sweaters and snuggle into that blanket. Lowering your thermostat a few degrees can translate to monetary savings. You can save as much as 1% for every degree you lower your thermostat for eight hours, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Replace that filter.
Swap out your furnace filter every three to four months (more frequently if you have a large household and/or pets) and get an annual maintenance check. Dirty furnace filters restrict airflow and increase energy use. Keeping your furnace clean and properly adjusted will save up to 5% of your heating costs — or another $10 per month, according to the California Energy Commission.
Ditch the second fridge.
It might be time to finally get rid of that old refrigerator in the basement. Yes, it’s a convenient place to keep cold drinks — but Energy Star research shows that fridges made before 1993 can add $100 a year to your electric bill. Is it worth it?
Lower the temp on your water heater.
The U.S. Department of Energy estimates a water heater set to 140ºF wastes from $36 to $61 annually in standby heat losses for storage water heaters, and more than $400 in losses for demand-type water heaters (also known as tankless or instantaneous), which provide hot water as needed. Lowering the temp to 120ºF should provide all the hot water you need while reducing your energy bill, and slowing mineral buildup and corrosion in your water heater and pipes.
Insulate your water heater.
Putting an insulation blanket on your water heater tank, and insulating the first 6 feet of hot and cold water pipes will get hot water to you faster, says the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). That means you’ll waste less water waiting for the tap to warm up.
Try cold suds.
Using the cold water setting on your washing machine can reduce its energy use by up to 90%, according to Energy Star. Best part: It still gets your clothes clean.
Install low-flow fixtures.
Showering accounts for about 20% of household water usage — or roughly 20 gallons of water per person per day, the EPA reports. Installing low-flow shower heads, faucets and toilets can decrease water consumption by 30% or more, according to the EPA.
Buy energy-efficient appliances.
Energy Star-rated dishwashers and washing machines save hundreds of gallons of water per year, and use roughly a third of the energy of less-efficient models, Energy Star reports. Together they can cut your energy bill by more than $100 per year. Ask your water utility if it offers rebates to offset the cost of efficient fixtures and appliances.
Use Energy Star light bulbs.
Isn’t it time you saw the light? Energy Star-certified light bulbs use 70% to 90% less energy than standard bulbs, and they last 10 to 25 times longer.
Fix the Drip.
It may seem like nothing now, but one drop of water per second in a leaky faucet can add up to 3,000 gallons in a year — enough to take more than 180 showers, according to the EPA.