Using less energy isn't just good for the earth; it's good for your wallet, too. By making some easy changes in the way you use your home, you can easily trim your power usage – and carbon footprint as well. Commit to making the following easy changes for a month, and see what difference it makes in your utility bill – the total may surprise you.
Save on heating and cooling: If you have a programmable thermostat, use it. Set your heat or air conditioning a few degrees cooler (or warmer) than usual, and see if you still feel comfortable. Each degree of change means less work for your home's heating and cooling system and lower utility bills as well.
Turn electronics off: Turn items off when you are finished using them. From turning out lights when you leave a room to switching off the TV and DVD player when you are done watching a movie, every time you hit the “off” button, you save a few cents.
Stop drafts: Since keeping your home at an optimal temperature is one of the biggest energy costs – and energy wasters you'll face, simply eliminating drafts will cut your energy consumption each month. Buy or make draft blockers for under doors, make sure windows are caulked, and check for drafts on a cold winter day – if you feel cold air coming in, you can identify your worst problem areas.
Lower laundry costs: Slash your laundry costs and your energy use by washing most clothing in cool water instead of hot. Your clothing will be just as clean, but you won't be paying to heat up an entire washer load of water every time you do the laundry. Air dry your clothing on a line if possible and you won't have to use the dryer at all.
Cook efficiently: Prepare foods that can be cooked in the oven at the same temperature if possible – you can use the oven to cook more than one item. Consider microwaving or using a toaster item for small items before you fire up a big appliance for a little job – you'll use a lot less energy to cook your meal.
Little changes are not expensive, and do add up – making a few simple adjustments to the way you live can greatly reduce your carbon footprint and utility costs.
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