Free - Things That Cost Nothing and Save Cash
- Turn down water heater thermostats as appropriate.
- Turn off lights when leaving a room.
- Set thermostats to 680F in winter when you're home, and down to 550F when you go to bed or when you're away. (Programmable thermostats do this automatically).
- Use energy-saving settings on washing machines, clothes dryers, dishwashers, and refrigerators.
- Avoid wasting water, hot or cold, inside or outside your home.
- Clean your refrigerator's condenser coils once a year.
- Air-dry your clothes, when practical.
- Close heating vents in unused rooms.
- Repair leaky faucets and toilets (5 percent of water "use" is leakage).
- Close drapes (and windows) during sunny summer days and after sunset in the winter.
Simple and Inexpensive - Things That Will Pay for Themselves in Lower Energy Bills in Less Than a Year
- Install a water-saving 2.5-gallon-per-minute showerhead ($15).
- Install water-efficient faucet heads for your kitchen and bathroom sinks ($2 each).
- Install a programmable thermostat ($26).
- In the attic and basement, plug the air leaks a cat could crawl through, and replace and re putty broken window panes (about $20).
- Clean or change the air filter on your warm-air heating system during winter and on air conditioning units in the summer ($2).
- Install an R-7 or R-11 water heater wrap ($12).
- Insulate the first three feet of hot and inlet cold water pipes ($6).
- Install a compact fluorescent light bulb in the fixture you use the most ($15).
The above lists, as well as ideas for saving energy and money over a "payback" period of one to fifteen years, appear on the Rocky Mountain Institute's website at: www.rmi.org/sitepages/pid195.php
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Marilyn Haas. All Rights Reserved