With everyone’s energy costs rising so rapidly and our economy in question at least for another couple of years, we are all starting to look for easy ways to cut energy use and save money, for little to no cost. And here is where this list, and you, the reader, come in…here are my 29 ways we can cut energy usage (some of which I do, and some of which I wish I could do) and save money for barely any cost. What can you add to the list? Please share in the comments!
Wash your clothes only in cold water. Hot water just tends to set stains and shorten the lifespan of clothes anyway.
Determine the correct temperature for your water heater – too low and you risk A. not having enough hot water and B. not keeping bacteria away. Too high and you are just throwing money away heating water to a temperature you don’t need.
Before heading out on vacation, turn the water heater off or down to the lowest setting. Why continuously heat water if you are going to be away from home for a week?
Put everything on power strips – televisions, computers, coffee machines, microwaves, stereos. When not in use, why pay to have everything on standby? Power strips only cost a few bucks but can save you that much in the first month of use.
Clean your furnace filter often. Why make it work so hard?
Buy some duct tape and seal your heating and cooling ducts. A $5 roll of duct tape can go a long way to lowering your energy bills.
Insulate some windows with bubble wrap. Ugly? Yep. Will it save a little heat in the winter? Yep.
Buy a $10 fan and put it at a window on the cooler side of the house. See if it can cool you down without having to turn on the AC.
CFL’s, of course!
Dust off the old bicycle and ride it to work one day a week. Pretty self-explanatory, no?
Hardwood floor too cool in winter? Instead of turning on the heat, throw down a rug and pull on some socks.
Shop during the off-season to get some deals. If you need to shop, buy air conditioners in the winter and heaters in the summer.
Drive the speed limit and avoid hard acceleration.
Install storm doors. That way you can either leave the heavy door open in the evening to allow cool breezes into the house or for extra insulation in the winter.
Clean out the lint screen on your dryer. Saves money on energy and reduces fire risk.
If you run your dishwasher, be sure to turn off the drying cycle. Just open the door a crack at the end of the wash cycle and let them dry naturally.
Plant a tree on the southwest side of your house. You and your house will thank you for the summer shade in a few years.
Pull down the shades in the middle of the day on your south-facing windows. Doing so will keep the house cooler, meaning you won’t have to run the AC as much.
Line dry your clothes. Personally, I cannot wait to start doing this in New Mexico. I remember my mom hanging our laundry out and what it smelled like.
If you have them, be sure to switch out your storm screens for your storm windows this fall. This extra barrier of glass can lower your energy bill substantially when it gets cold out.
Use aerators on sink faucets. They cost a few bucks but can save a lot of water.
Pick up some electroluminescent night lights rather than the bulb kind. These things cost less than a few cents to operate – for the year!
If you must leave them on all night, install timers on your outdoor lights. That way they are sure to be turned off in the morning when the sun comes up.
Install low-flow shower heads. They are very cheap, can actually give you more pressure, and can save you a ton on your water and water-heating bill.
Try the toaster oven rather than your full size stove when cooking smaller meals.
Put a rain barrel under your gutter downspout, and store and use that water to water the lawn, flowers and garden as needed. Why pay for water for outdoor use when it comes from the sky for free?
Compost, compost, compost. Not only does it reduce the amount of trash you throw out, but it also provides free, healthy plant food.
Vacuum the dust off your refrigerator coils, as it could be making your fridge work harder than it needs to.
Put a lid on it. When heating up water on the stove, be sure to put a lid on the pan to keep in the heat and speed up boiling time.
So…what do you do to save money and energy? If you have a tip not listed here, make sure to leave it in the comments!
Photo by midnightcomm