Easy Ways New Home Owners can be Green and Save Money

Posted by in Alternative & Eco-Living, Articles | 18 comments

April 22nd may have marked the official “earth day” but that doesn’t mean homeowners can’t work to sustain the environment all year long. While installing solar panels and energy-efficient lightening systems may not be in your budget, there are simple and practical ways homeowners can be green and save some extra green in their pockets as well. To learn how to maintain a sustainable home and lifestyle while reducing energy costs, continue reading below.

Change Thermostats. Many homeowners are unaware that by simply switching the thermostats on your water heater from “hot” to “warm” (140 degrees Fahrenheit to 120 degrees Fahrenheit) and switching your refrigerator to 38 degrees Fahrenheit can save as much as 25 percent on your annual utility bill. On a similar note, washing your clothes in cold water as opposed to hot water can save you a bundle as well.  This is because according to experts, washing your clothes in hot water instead of cold water for a year eats up more energy than if you left the refrigerator door open 24 hours a day.

Unplug Appliances Not in Use. Many home owners are equally unaware that leaving appliances plugged in when they are not in use still eats up energy and is added on to your electricity bill. So make sure to unplug electronics when not in use such as gaming systems, cell phone and laptop chargers and especially computers—the screen saver does not save energy.  In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, a computer left on all day uses more power than an energy efficient refrigerator. While the sleep mode setting can help alleviate costs, it’s best just to shut the computer entirely off when not in use. Also be cautious of household items like decorative lamps and coffee pots when not in use as well. An easy way to manage appliances and shut them all off at once is to invest in a power strip chord. Note you may want to avoid unplugging devices that need to be programmed every time it is turned on such as television sets.

Clean Vents. Ensuring that your vents are clean and free of dust and that your filters are new is also another easy was to reduce energy costs since the cooling or heating system will work more effectively without having anything blocking its path. On a similar note, always make sure that the vents are free of furniture or decorative plants that may be blocking air flow.

Secure Insulation. An easy way to keep the house cool or heated is to first make sure that all of the windows are locked to make sure air does not leak out and reinforce insulation by adding weather stripping along both windows and door sweeps.

Switch Light bulbs. Lastly, switching from  traditional light bulbs to LED or CFL bulbs will not only cut utility costs, but they  also last 10 to 15 times longer than regular bulbs which means you’ll spend less money trying to replace them and won’t have to deal with replacing them as frequently,  especially in hard to reach places like ceiling fans.

By-line:

This guest post is contributed by Lauren Bailey, who writes for online colleges.  She loves to write education, career, frugal living, money saving etc related articles. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: blauren99 @gmail.com.

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18 Comments

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  1. Money Beagle

    I invested in a smart power strip, so that when I turn my computer off, it automatically cuts power to everything else that’s plugged in, so the monitor, speakers, printer, etc. are all powered down.

  2. Hunter

    We replaced all our down spots with LED’s last year. It was expensive, but these are lights that are on all evening. They should last for 10-20years, and use a fraction of the energy. Another thing we do is turn off the pilot light on our gas log fireplace over the summer. It only saves about $10per month, but I would rather have that than pay the utility.

    • Little House

      @Hunter – I didn’t think of turning the pilot light off of my stove. I have to say that our gas usage is really low, it’s our electricity that is higher. Thanks for sharing that tip!

  3. MoneyCone

    Also don’t use air dry setting in your dishwasher if you don’t have to. Saves a lot over time.

  4. First Gen American

    I finally went to CFL’s last year when I could get a case of them for $20. I’ve done most of the rest at my home already. My mom’s place still needs some work. There’s very little insulation in the walls and I don’t have a great solution for it, except to re-insulate as we gut rooms.

    It does make a HUGE difference over time. My heating bill alone is $1000 less/year than it used to be.

    • Little House

      @First Gen American – Insulation does make a huge difference. We moved from a non-insulated house to a newer insulated apartment, and our gas bill is 1/5 the cost (and the apartment is larger in square feet!)

  5. krantcents

    I replaced the lights with CFLs a couple of years ago. The biggest savings came from the cold water wash though. Another savings comes from using a setback thermostat for A/C and heating. I set it for 78 (A/C) and 65 (heating) during the day when no one is home.

    • Little House

      @Krantcents – We love our cfl bulbs – they last a really long time. We also now have two small skylights in two rooms and don’t have to turn on the lights until it is dusk – I guess that would be another energy saver; small skylights!

  6. youngandthrifty

    Great tips! Our new washer uses only HE detergent, and it’s been pretty hard finding detergent that does a cold water wash for HE washers.

    I’ll keep on looking though!

  7. Wealth Artisan

    Those are great ideas for new and old homeowners alike! Another way to really maximize the efficiency of your water heater is to use a water heater blanket. It can save you up to $120 a year on your utility bills!
    Thanks for the ideas!
    Timothy

  8. Dana

    Definitely yes to the cleaning of vents and filters. We clean ours every single month and just make a note on the calendar to remind us when it’s time. We also use the power strips. Now if I could just get the kids to always turn off the lights when they leave the room….

    • Little House

      @Dana – We just started turning off all of our computer equipment every night and it has made a huge difference in the electric bill. Any way to save on utilities is fine by me!

  9. Jackie

    I have started buying powerstrips for our electronics so we can be sure they are all turned off when not in use. With the warmer months here I not only wash in cold water but also hang my clothes on a clothes line to dry. We use our electric dryer very little during the warmer months of the year.

    • Little House

      @Jackie – Line drying is great, especially for more delicate fabrics. I don’t have a yard anymore, but I installed (well, my husband did ;)) a rod above the washer and dryer to minimize the drying.

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