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Home Energy Saving Tips – That Can Also Save You Money

8 July 2010 3 Comments

Summer is here and for most of us, that means that the AC is on!  My husband and I are usually pretty good about holding out; we just turned on the air conditioning in our house for the first time last night.  We have a few reasons for waiting to kick on the AC until we just can’t bear it any longer.  One is that we enjoy the summer breeze blowing through the house, but we also enjoy saving money on our energy bill each month.  There are plenty of ways that homeowners can conserve energy and do good things for the environment, while enjoying the benefit of extra cash in their wallet.

Solar Energy

Installing solar panels or solar water heaters has the highest upfront cost and effort required.  However, the initial investment is usually recovered in a relatively short time, after which homeowners can usually save an average of $500/year on energy costs.  Many solar water heaters require little maintenance and usually have long warranties.  Additionally, if you invest in a solar system that is certified by the Solar Rating and Certification Corporation (SRCC), you could qualify for a tax credit.  Always consult your tax advisor to find out which deductions apply to you.

Home Energy Saving Quick Tips

If you’d rather stick with what you have while making the biggest strides toward reducing your energy costs for the lowest upfront investment, here are a few helpful hints:

  • Utilize your programmable thermostat – In the summer, raise the temperature 5 degrees when you’re sleeping and 10 degrees when you’re not home.  In the colder months, lower the temperatures by these amounts.  This simple tip can save you as much as 20 percent on your heating/cooling costs.
  • Water – Turn down your water heater to 120 degrees, rather than the standard 140 degree setting.  Insulate your hot water pipes and storage tank with a low cost, pre-cut insulation jacket or blanket.   This additional insulation can reduce standby heat loss by up to 45%.  Install a low-flow showerhead and you’ll use less water and you don’t even have to sacrifice water pressure.
  • Lighting – Let the sunshine in!  Use natural light as much as possible instead of flipping on the light switch.  When you do use your electricity, choose compact fluorescent bulbs which can reduce lighting costs by 67%.
  • Electronics – Your electronics need rest too.  Putting your computers and monitors on sleep mode when not in use can produce a significant energy savings.  Roughly 40% of the electricity used by home electronics occurs while the products are turned off, so unplug appliances when they are not in use.  Power strips can also be used to easily turn many appliances all the way off at once.

Following these simple tips can easily shave dollars off your utility bill.  You can also ask your utility company to conduct a free home energy audit to help you find even more simple ways to reduce your carbon dioxide emissions and consequently put more money in your pocket.

Amber Hunt is an experienced personal finance writer with a knack for taking complex money issues and making them clear and simple.  By day, she’s a home loan expert at Quicken Loans, America’s #1 online lender, where she specializes in writing about mortgages and helping people with FHA loans and the entire refinance process.

3 Comments »

  • wingtipwalker said:

    I realize that nobody is likely to run out and buy solar panels after reading just this article, but the implication that installing solar panels is a wise financial decision is misguided.

    I've researched and found that the upfront installation costs and ongoing maintenance of a solar system far exceed any cost savings you might gain from it in residential applications. The ROI looks a little better if you live in the house for 30 years (assuming the cells would last that long), can find a good tax credit (but they're very loopholey, applying to the equipment not the installation, for example) and if you can sell your excess production back to your electric provider (which most electric cos. are incapable or unwilling to do).

    So, install solar panels because they're cool, or they make you look eco-friendly, but don't perpetuate the myth that there are any real cost savings. The technology is too expensive and inefficient at this time.

  • 20smoney said:

    wingtipwalker, very good points!

  • BioGas Equity 2 said:

    As always, energy saving, does not only gives us benefit but we are also saving the planet earth due to massive energy radiation exposure that affect the environment. Conserving energy must be a practice of every individual and households, if we plan for a green living, then this is also one of the simplest idea.