Monday, November 25, 2013

How To Save On Your Annual Energy Bill

How To Save $1,000 Off Your Annual Energy Bill
Rising electricity costs can be hard on your bank account, but by combining several cost-savings strategies you can save $1,000* on your home energy bill each year. For the biggest savings consider these ways to reduce heating and cooling costs without sacrificing comfort:

  • Add new insulation to your attic. It’s especially smart if your house is more than 25 years old. Sometimes the state will subsidize professionally installed insulation and other energy-efficiency improvements. Check with your gas and electric companies to see what subsidies are available and how to qualify.
    COST: About $750 for an 800 square-foot attic to do it yourself, or $1,500 if you hire a professional
    SAVINGS: $600 per year

  • Seal air leaks around the house. Weather strip your windows and doors by filling gaps and cracks with caulking, and use plastic window-insulation kits on older windows. Also, seal gaps from plumbing lines, recessed lighting, and crawl spaces.
    COST: Tube of caulk is $3 to $6 (save by buying multi-packs), and a window-insulation kit is $10 to $20
    SAVINGS: $350 per year

  • Upgrade to a programmable thermostat, which automatically adjusts your home’s temperature settings. You can buy a Wi-Fi model ($100 to $200) with more features that lets you remotely control it by using an app.
    COST: $25 to $50 (Check for rebates with your utility provider)
    SAVINGS: $180 per year

  • Wash clothes in cold water. Heating water is the single largest expense to run a load of laundry. Also, hot water shrinks and fades your clothes and should be used only when there are major stains.
    COST: Free
    SAVINGS: $130 to $300 per year on water heating costs, depending on the size of your family.

  • Unplug electronics when not in use. Energy “vampires” include TVs, computers, video game consoles, phone chargers (basically anything that “glows”) and account for 5 to 10 percent of household electricity costs even when they’re turned off. Save money by unplugging them, shutting them down, or attaching them to a single power strip than can be turned off.
    COST: Free or $10 to $40 for a power strip/surge protector
    SAVINGS: $100 per year

  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs). While they cost a bit more, CFLs use 75 percent less energy and last at least 6 times longer than standard incandescent light bulbs.
    COST: $5 to $15 each (save by buying multi-packs)
    SAVINGS: $75 per year in electricity by replacing your five most frequently used bulbs. Savings potential increases since the average home has 30 light fixtures.
* All products are available at a home improvement store or online. Savings vary depending on home size, climate, electricity rates, etc. and are based on an average annual energy bill of $2,200.

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