Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Green October: Energy Awareness Month

As October is Energy Awareness Month, here are some easy ways to save energy and money in your home...and not just in October.

Replace your HVAC filters.  Dirty filters restrict airflow and cause the system to run for longer stretches, using more electricity and/or gas.  And the more it runs, the faster it wears out and has to be replaced, right?  Make it a point to change the filter every 30-45 days.

Adjust your thermostat.  Running your heating system at 68 – 70 degrees and the air conditioning at 78 degrees can save a typical homeowner more than $300 a year in electric costs.  Heating and cooling costs represent about half of a home's total energy usage, so just a small seasonal adjustment can pay off big--particularly in winter. 

Lower the water heater setting.  Heating water accounts for approximately 12% percent of all energy consumed in your home.  Move your electric hot water heater’s setting from 140 degrees to 120 degrees and you can save up to $85 per year.

Yes, try the curly bulbs.  Some people are still resistant to the CFL bulbs, and we understand that change isn't easy.  But consider this: 90% of the energy created by a traditional (incandescent) bulb is heat and only 10% of it is light.  That's horribly inefficient.  CFL bulbs produce 25% heat and 75% light.  If you're feeling really efficient, consider an LED bulb.  The cost is significantly higher than either incandescent bulbs or CFLs, but they're rated to last 20 years or more.       

By making just these few free or inexpensive modifications, you can save several hundred dollars each year.  And the more energy costs go up, the more money these simple adjustments will pay you back.