|How to Reduce Your Energy Consumption|
Tips for conserving electricity and cutting your energy costs.
SIMPLE HOUSEHOLD TOOLS AND GADGETS ($)
These easy at-home energy savers will instantly improve your home's energy-efficiency, and save money on your utility bill. A quick trip to the home improvement or hardware store will set you on your way.
The gaps around the windows and doors in an average American house are the equivalent of a 3 foot by 3 foot hole in the wall! Caulk and weather-strip to seal off these air leaks.
Stop air from escaping under doors with "sweeps" or "shoes" attached to the bottom.
Use window putty to seal gaps around loose window panes.
Cover bare floors with padded rugs for added insulation.
Look for other air leaks you can seal, such as those around plumbing penetrations or ceiling-mounted lighting fixtures.
Better yet, call an energy rater who can test your house for hidden leaks with a "blower door." (See the section on long-term energy efficiency for details.)
Save Up to $60 with Compact Fluorescent Bulbs
Most of the light bulbs in your house are probably incandescent, much like the bulb Thomas Edison invented more than 100 years ago. Now, there's a longer-lasting, more efficient alternative: the compact fluorescent.
Today's compact fluorescents fit most household fixtures and give off the same warm, steady light as incandescents, using only one-quarter to one-third the energy and lasting 10 times as long.
A compact fluorescent bulb is initially more expensive than a standard bulb, but it can save you $30 to $60 dollars on electricity during its lifetime -- and also keep half a ton of heat-trapping carbon dioxide out of the air.
Compact fluorescent bulbs
Lighting accounts for about 15 percent of household energy use. If you swap the five standard light bulbs you use most for energy-saving compact fluorescents, you can save roughly $60 each year on electricity. Make sure you use EnergyStar compact fluorescents, which are tested for quality and longevity.
Water Heater Blankets
Bundle up your water heater, especially if it's located in an unheated part of the house.
Keep your air-conditioning and heating systems properly maintained by changing air filters and keeping air conditioner coils clean.
Low-Flow Showerheads and Faucet Aerators
Replacing old models with new low-flow designs prevents the energy used to heat water from going down the drain.