By: Jenny Zhang
Do you want to lower your energy bill each month? Or maybe you just want to find ways to save without doing any major home improvements like installing a solar panel on your roof. Good news! Being green doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, can make a huge difference in your energy usage and pay for itself many times over.
Here are some simple changes to not only help the environment, but save you money:
1. Install a programmable thermostat. In most homes, it’s hard to remember to turn down the heat (or air conditioning) when you leave the house or go to bed. A programmable thermostat allows you to set the temperature for anytime of day – when you leave, get home, wake up and sleep – so you never have to worry about wasting energy while you’re gone or indisposed.
How do you install a programmable thermostat? It’s really easy and only takes about ten minutes. While instructions may depend on which model you get, the overall steps are about the same:
1) Shut off the power in your house from your fuse box so you don’t electrocute yourself.
2) Follow the instructions on the box to unplug the current thermostat and replug those same wires from the wall into your new thermostat. Usually, the wires are either color-coded or labeled; otherwise, you’ll have to match up the current set-up with the new one by removing one wire at a time and replugging them into the new thermostat.
3) Tighten up the wires and finish screwing in the box. Most programmable thermostats take batteries and once you turn the power back on, you can double check that it’s working properly with temperature settings.
2. Make sure you have a low-flow showerhead. Most showerheads use roughly three gallons of water per minute while a low-flow showerhead will use about one gallon per minute – that’s a huge difference! If you’re concerned about compromising water pressure when you switch, don’t worry. The truth is, the showerhead that often uses the most water actually has the least pressure. Trust me – I’ve done, shall we say, extensive showerhead testing for two years!
Have you seen those awesome looking “rainfall” showerheads that cost anywhere from $30 to $200? Those can use up to five to seven gallons of water per minute! And there’s hardly any water pressure; the only pressure is from gravity pulling the water straight down. Personally, the best showerhead I’ve found so far is a small fluidics showerhead. These use little water, have fantastic pressure and only cost around $10 to $20.
3. Change your light bulbs to CFLs. It always surprises me how many people don’t switch their bulbs out of fear that CFLs are less bright than incandescent bulbs. Another complaint is that CFLs are more expensive. Well, rest assured, both concerns are actually untrue.
CFLs not only last longer than incandescents, they’re also brighter. By buying the cheaper bulbs, you’re actually wasting more money over the life of the bulb because they are less energy efficient. Check out the breakdown from this great study. The conclusion is: If you spend more initially and buy a CFL, you will save 71% more energy than spending less initially and buying an incandescent bulb.
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