Being green does two things – it protects the environment for future generations and it saves you money right now! Here are 5 things to do in your home that will help you use less energy and pay you back!
1. Low-Flow Shower Heads.
They aren’t too expensive – but you’ll be amazed by the payback. A low-flow shower head that costs under $50 can save you as much as $250 annually. It pays for itself in less than 3 months! When you go shopping, look for the new models that allow you to wait for the hot water, but turn down the flow to a trickle when the temperature of the water gets hot and keeps it at a trickle until you get in the shower and tell it to resume normal flow by pulling a cord. You get a hot shower using less water and that’s enough to make you sing in the shower.
2. Learning Thermostats.
A simple programmable thermostat will give you savings, but the learning thermostats take it a step further. They allow you to operate heating and cooling from anywhere with your smartphone. That means when the meeting runs late you can tell the learning thermostat to wait before it turns on the cooling or the heating. Your payback will depend on the size of your home and how you use your new thermostat’s technology, but it could be as soon as 18 months or using the most conservative estimate, it will definitely pay for itself in 5 years.
3. Ceiling Fans.
Ceiling fans aren’t just a decorative touch for your décor. Let them go to work to save you money. By circulating the air, it can help keep you cool or warm. Just be sure to reverse the blades so that rising warm air back down to you in the cold months. Adjust your thermostat and let your fan help keep your comfortable by setting it higher in the summer and lower in the winter. If your energy costs run $150 a month, you’ll get payback in about seven months for two $50 ceiling fans – and they look great!
4. Replacement Windows.
This is a bigger investment – but it has a great payback. You’ll spend more and it may take as long as 10 years for the windows to pay for themselves, but you’ll see lower energy bills right away, putting more money in your pocket every month. Plus, new windows will increase the value of your home, keep you more comfortable, reduce noise and dust – and protect your furniture and artwork from fading with Low-E coating.
You can buy a refrigerator with a variety of drawers and doors and even a Wi-Fi connection but make sure you pay attention to energy savings. The design of some of the new refrigerators give you access to most wanted items without opening the entire door to keep the cold in – that’s a plus. The most important thing however is the Energy Star rating. If you want to know how much you’ll save, use the EnergyStar.gov calculator as it depends on what you have and what you buy – but you are very likely to get a very pleasant surprise.
When you’re shopping for energy savings, be sure to get the help of the experts – whether that’s the appliance guru at the local big box store or the staff of your licensed window replacement company. Research on the web. Make wise choices and you’re going to be more comfortable in your home and more relaxed when the utility bill arrives.