Keeping a home running can be an expensive proposition. Between heat and electricity bills, furnishings and yard maintenance, the bills easily mount up.
But there are many painless ways to save money for those homeowners willing to be just a little more vigilant in their use of resources.
AARP magazine suggests the following:
Unplug electronics. Electronic devices that are plugged in consume electricity, even when they’re not in use. AARP notes that you can save, on average, $100 a year by using smart power strips that cut the amount of electricity delivered to devices that are not being used.
Use a low-flow showerhead: A low-flow showerhead reduces the water flow but not the water pressure, so rest easy: You will still have a satisfying shower, and you can potentially save 2,900 gallons of water a year with this device.
Use ceiling fans strategically: In the summer, ceiling fans run counter-clockwise pull up the hot air and send down cool air. In winter, fans that are run in reverse — clockwise — do the opposite, sending down hot air.
Seal drafts: A home that’s well sealed and insulated can save you as much as 20% on your heating and cooling costs. Seal windows and doors, so that your air conditioning and heat don’t leak out.
Lower the temperature of your water: While water heaters often come set at 140 degrees, most homes are fine with water kept at 120 degrees. AARP notes that every decrease of 10 degrees saves 3-5% in energy costs.
Pay attention to your air filters: Routinely cleaning and replacing the air filters on your furnace and air conditioning units makes these systems run more efficiently and can result in 5-15% savings on your monthly energy bills.
Fix faucet leaks: If you think a dripping faucet is no big deal, consider this startling fact: An average leak wastes 27 gallons of water a day. Don’t let leaks linger.
Use a programmable thermostat: These inexpensive devices allow you to automatically lower the temperature in your home when you are sleeping or at work. This can result in several hundred dollars in savings over a year.