Want to save money this winter on your energy bill? UM Go Green asked the Baltimore Neighborhood Energy Challenge for their top 10 energy- and money-saving tips. Which work best for you?
- Switch to Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs)*: CFLs use so much less electricity than incandescent bulbs, they pay for themselves in under six months. Always remember to turn lights off when you leave a room.
- Install a Programmable Thermostat: Set your thermostat to 68 degrees in the winter and use a programmable thermostat—you could save $200 a year!
- Wrap and Turn Temperature Down on Your Hot Water Heater: Buy an insulating jacket for your hot water heater and turn the temperature down to 120 degrees.
- Install Low-Flow Showerheads: Low-flow showerheads have all the comfort of normal showerheads, but use less than half of the hot water, saving you money every day!
- Turn off Appliances and Use Powerstrips: Many devices in your home draw power when you’re not using them and even when they are off, such as TVs and cell phone chargers. Turn everything off, and hit the powerstrip to do it!
- Wash Laundry in Cold Water and Line Dry Your Clothes: Using cold water to wash your laundry can save up to 90 percent of your energy costs per load. That’s about $200 a year in savings. Did you know? Clothes dryers—one of the largest users of household energy—make up to 12 percent of your monthly bill. Consider using a space-saving, retractable clothesline.
- Increase Refrigerator Efficiency: Cleaning your refrigerator coils every six months will improve efficiency and reduce energy usage. Or, consider replacing an older refrigerator with an Energy Star model, which could save you $500 to $1,000 over five years!
- Maintain Your Heating System: Space heating accounts for 31 percent of your yearly bill. Having your system regularly serviced, replacing furnace filters, utilizing reflective radiator panels, and keeping vents, radiators, and baseboard units unobstructed are all ways you can save on your heating costs.
- Insulate and Air Seal Your Home: Most homes in Baltimore leak air and heat. Weatherize your home with tools from a hardware store, or have a professional do the job!
- Educate Your Family and Neighbors: It’s no use turning the thermostat down if someone else immediately turns it up. Teach your family how to save money and energy! Next, teach your neighbors.
*For a breakdown of light bulbs, their energy-saving costs, and environmental impact, click here