Last week, we gave you 10 ideas for ways to save money around the house. This week, you’ll find the next 10 money-saving ideas:
#11 Don’t Rinse Dishes − Two minutes of rinsing with the faucet on full power will consume 5 gallons of water − the same amount efficient dishwashers use during an entire cycle. Shocking, right? And it’s an unnecessary step since most newer models are equipped to remove even stubborn food debris. Just be sure to clean the dishwasher trap regularly to keep your dishwasher running efficiently.
#12 Keep a Pitcher of Water in the Fridge − You won’t have to waste time and money running the faucet, waiting for it to get cold enough for a refreshing sip.
#13 Set a Timer for the Shower − The average American takes an eight-minute shower and uses about 17 gallons of water. It’s easy to linger, so set a timer for five minutes. Or try this more entertaining idea: Time your shower to a song or podcast segment.
#14 Replace Your Old Water-Hogging Toilet − The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says that by replacing old, inefficient toilets with WaterSense-labeled models, the average family can reduce water used for toilets by 20% to 60% − nearly 13,000 gallons of water savings per year.
#15 Close Closet Doors − Each closet and pantry may hold a paltry amount of square footage, but you’re still heating and cooling it. Add up all the storage space, and you’ve got the equivalent of a small room. Shut the doors to keep the conditioned air out.
#16 Don’t Crank the Thermostat Up or Down Too Far − A common misconception is that a furnace works harder to warm space to a comfortable temperature after the thermostat has been set back, resulting in little or no savings, says Energy.gov. As soon as your house drops below its normal temperature, it will lose energy to the surrounding environment more slowly. Avoid setting your thermostat at a colder setting than normal when you turn on your air conditioner. It won’t cool your home any faster and could result in excessive cooling and unnecessary expense.
#17 Use Fans Year-Round − Ceiling fans can reduce your summer cooling costs and even reduce winter heating bills — but only if used correctly. Flip the switch on the base to make the blades rotate counterclockwise for a cooling effect or clockwise to help distribute heat in the winter. And in the warmer months, an attic or whole-house fan can suck hot air out and help distribute cooler air so you can give the AC a little break. #24 Caulk or Weatherstrip Around Doors and Windows Caulk may not have the charisma of something like solar panels, but using it to seal air leaks around doors and windows will deliver immediate savings rather than a 14-year payback. You’ll spend $3 to $30 and save 10% to 20% on energy bills. For gaps between moving parts that can’t be caulked, add weatherstripping.
#18 Add Insulation − By sealing air leaks and installing the right insulation in places like attics, crawl spaces, and basements, homeowners can save an average of 15% on heating and cooling — 11% on total energy costs, according to the EPA’s ENERGY STAR program. For the typical homeowner, this translates to about $200 pocketed year after year. #26 Plant Shade Trees Block the summer sun to lower cooling costs. Planting one shade tree on the west side and one on the east side of your home can shield your home from the sun during the summer months (but avoid south-side trees, which block winter sun). Carefully positioned trees can save up to 25% of the energy a typical household uses, according to Energy.gov.
#19 Use Curtains as Insulation − Another way to practice energy-saving passive heating and cooling? Open curtains on sunny windows in the winter and close them up in the summer.
#20 Cool with a Cross Breeze − On a breezy day, open a window on the side of your house that’s receiving the breeze, then open another on the opposite side of the house. Make sure the window on the receiving side is open a little less than the exhaust side to accelerate the breeze. You can also use a fan if there’s no breeze outside.
#21 Program the Thermostat − You can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling by simply turning your thermostat back 7-10 degrees Fahrenheit from its normal setting for eight hours a day. You can easily save energy in the winter by setting the thermostat to around 68 degrees while you’re awake and setting it lower while you’re asleep.
Marlin Palich is president of Stark Trumbull Area Realtors, which serves Stark, Carroll and Trumbull counties. Visit www.star.realtor for a complete listing of Realtors and affiliate members. If you have any questions or comments on this article, contact Cosgrove at firstname.lastname@example.org.