The “Inside Scoop” on How to $ave on Energy

Have you had “dreams” of one day having enough money to start contributing to your 401K? Or even a little extra cash to establish and emergency savings account? Perhaps you’re thinking to yourself right now that you have squeezed the buffalo off of your last nickel and there simply isn’t any more room. Let me show you the inside scoop on how you can trim a few extra dollars that you won’t even notice.

Do you ever feel like you’re in the dark? Me too! And actually it’s not a bad thing! Did you know that it takes $9/yr. to run 1 compact florescent bulb, $21/yr. for a conventional bulb and $35/yr. to run a fan? That’s $65/year or $5/mo. Consider turning off the night light, porch light and patio fan before going to bed.

Don’t get burned on your water bill. The EPA estimates that consumers who set their water heaters on 140 degrees or higher are wasting $36-$61 annually on “standby” heat. Not only should you consider turning the temperature down to save money….turn it down or off when on vacation to save more. For additional savings, consider using a water heater blanket. It’s an insulated thermal wrap to hold in heat.

Do you want to put your “programming” skills to good use? You don’t necessarily have to be a programmer to install and use a programmable thermostat. You can pick up a fairly inexpensive one (around $25) at your local hardware store. A programmable thermostat allows you to program settings for heating and cooling. In the summer months, program the thermostat to a higher temperature when not at home and in the winter months program it to a lower temperature. EPA estimates that an average homeowner can save $180/yr. for a properly programmed unit.

Shorten your “to do” list by replacing a disposable heat/air filter with a reusable filter. Let’s be honest, there have been times when you simply didn’t change your filter because you forgot to pick it up at the hardware store. Dirty filters cause your heat/air unit to work twice as hard and shorten the lifespan of the unit. By replacing your filter with a reusable filter, you will be more likely to clean it on a consistent basis and eliminate the extra trip to the hardware store. The average cost of a disposable filter is about $10/mo., a reusable one is $20-$40. You will recoup your cost within 2-4 months. This could potentially save you $80/yr.!

Drafts are only good in sports! Fix drafts, leaks and holes in your house. Consider using spray foam insulation, caulk and weather stripping around exterior doors, holes where plumbing exits the house, around wall plates and on basement walls where the wood frame meets the block foundation. If you have a fireplace, be sure to close the damper when not in use and consider installing glass fireplace doors. Small leaks can add up to big bills.

Check with your energy company to participate in a free in-home energy assessment ($180 value). Not only do they provide you with a wealth of information as it relates to energy savings, but many times they provide you with free energy saving products.

I’m not a mathematician, but if my calculations are correct….you potentially stand to save $325/yr. on energy related costs! That’s $27/mo. $27 a month is a great start for that emergency savings account or to participate in your employer matched 401K. Assuming your employer matches 1:1 ratio…that is $54/mo……or $648/yr.! Ok, that’s a whole new “blog”subject.

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