Allie Johnson (@ByAllieJohnson)
(September 21, 2015)
Looking to save money on energy? See how well you're doing, and follow these tips and tricks to help you be greener — and keep more green in your wallet.
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Ask the Expert: LED and CFL Light Bulbs
When do you turn off the light in a room?
If you’re using CFL bulbs — which, of course, you are, right? — turn off the lights if you’re going to be away for 15 minutes or longer. If you’re just running to get a drink of water, leave the lights on. Minimizing the number of times you switch a CFL light on and off makes the bulb last longer, according to Energy.gov.
In chilly weather, do you turn down your thermostat while you’re at work or asleep?
When it’s cold outside, you can trim up to 15 percent off your heating bill by setting your thermostat at 68 degrees while you’re home and lowering it another 10 to 15 degrees for at least eight hours a day. It’s pretty painless to do that either before you leave for work or at bedtime. At night, use a cozy blanket to stay warm.
Do you unplug small appliances and electronics like toasters, blenders and computers when you're not using them?
Unplugging multiple energy-draining appliances can save some cash. About 10 to 15 percent of your home’s energy is used by appliances left plugged in 24/7, according to the Department of Energy.
Have you installed solar panels on your home?
Harnessing the power of the sun could cut your electric bill in half, saving you $2,000 or more per year. On average, solar panels cost $15,000 to $30,000, but you can get a 30 percent federal rebate.
What have you done to stop home air leaks?
You can save 5 to 30 percent in energy costs by dealing with drafts, and — bonus! — stop shivering. Energy.gov offers a guide to sealing up air leaks in your home.
At what temperature is your hot water heater set?
It’s common to set hot water heaters at 140 degrees F, but turning down the temperature by just 20 degrees can save you a cool $24 to $60 a year and make baths and showers safer by cutting your risk of scald burns.
Have you installed low-e storm windows on your house?
By installing low-e storm windows, which have an almost invisible coating of metal on them, you can save 12 to 33 percent on heating and cooling costs, or $120 to $330 annually if you normally spend $1,000 a year on heating and air conditioning.
Have you landscaped your home with energy savings in mind?
By landscaping your home for shade, you can reduce your air conditioning bill by 15 to 50 percent. Plant one six- to eight-foot deciduous tree by your house this year, and it will be shading your windows by next year and your roof in five to 10 years.
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