1- Purchase a programmable thermostat. They are cheaper than you might think, and they can reduce up to 30% on your heating and cooling costs. They work harder when family members are home and keep the house a bit less heated or cooled when they are not. You can program your air conditioning, for example, to stay at 80 degrees from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Switch it down to 76 degrees right before you get home from work.
2 – Buy ceiling fans, especially for stuffy or poorly ventilated rooms. Fans make the room feel cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. They are very low-cost to own and operate.
3 – Buy CFL (compact fluorescent lamps) light bulbs. They use 75% less energy than normal light bulbs and last up to 10 times longer. They are a little more expensive initially, but the energy cost savings and longevity are worth the initial outlay.
4 – Choose Energy Star appliances when you upgrade your stove, refrigerator, hot water heater, etc. Older appliances are energy-sucking monsters, so when the time comes to replace them, you can see a substantial energy savings.
5 – Get a hot water heater “jacket.” These insulating wraps that go around the outside of your water heater help keep the water temperature higher, especially in the winter, thus reducing how hard your heater has to work and the resulting energy costs. Consider turning down the temperature on your hot water heater or purchase a newer “tankless” water heater, which uses less energy than the standard models.
6- Be careful about the energy that you consume. Turn off lights and other appliances when you are not using them. Use dimmers or lower wattage light bulbs. Air dry your clothes. Use a toaster oven instead of heating up the regular oven for small items.
7 – Become solar-friendly. Use skylights, open windows instead of turning on lights and consider installing solar panels.
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