Smart Ways to Save Money and Help the Environment

Smart ways to save money and help the environment. Here are some smart ways to help our environment and at the same time save you money. When it comes to being green some fixes are costly and may take years to see your return. However good news is that there are energy-saving changes that we will mention that have a quicker return. While some energy efficient changes can be costly they are effective and with time pay for themselves.

Compact Fluorescent Lights: These bulbs are made to last about 6 to 12 times longer, and use up to 75% less energy than regular light bulbs. This is the most cost effective savings to see on your energy bill. The costs for these bulbs are around $3, and you can see your payback within 7.5 months

Air Conditioning Filters: Changing your air filter on a monthly basis will keep your air conditioner working at ease, when your filter gets dirty the system has to work much harder to push the air through and therefore using much more energy thus in return to a higher energy bill. New filters can cost anywhere from $5-$10, and window-units can simply be wiped down. Keeping your filter clean saves about 7% in electricity costs a year and not to mention the longevity you will provide for the air conditioning unit itself. In cooler climates it is not necessary to change monthly but do keep it part of a monthly routine to check.

Attic Insulation: Even though it is well know that having your attic insulated can significantly reduce your energy costs many homes still have little to no insulation at all. Depending on your climate, if in a warmer area you can see pay back in a year in a half. The cost can range normally on a 2,000 square foot house from $500-$700. Check your local power company for cash rebates to customers who install additional insulation to their home.

Window Treatments: Providing blinds or shades to your windows does more than just decorate but can also cut cooling bills in the summer and heating in the winter. Windows that face south and west should have shades to block the sunlight and reduce the need for air conditioning. Inexpensive summer shades can be provided for a cost of $5-$10. Curtains however can provide more insulation against outside temperatures in both winter and summer and go for $30 and up to as much as $150. Many variables are considered in the overall payback however the time can be as quickly as under a year to almost 4 years.

Sealing Air Leaks: Without even realizing it your cool or warm air maybe escaping through air ducts, gaps around windows and doors, electrical sockets often over looked is another source of air leaks. These leaks in time can play a major part of your energy bill. Caulk for windows is a cost of about $10 a window and can be inserted in the frame and siding. Electrical sockets can be fixed with outlet sealers and range under $10 for a six pack. The EPA estimates savings up to 20% of your heating and cooling up to 10% on your total energy bill.

Low-Flow Fixtures: Showerheads and faucets can limit the volume of water usage therefore reducing the amount you spend on electricity or gas to heat the water. Low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators are reasonably priced. Both are simple and easy to install. Payback for aerators is just about instantaneous and for showerheads about a few months.

Tankless Water Heaters: Tankless water heaters can be installed close to fixtures and appliances thus saves on water consumption because the wait time for hot water is reduced. Tankless water heaters can reduce up to 40% of energy consumption by only heating the water that is on demand. Currently tax credits are offered on qualifying tankless water heating systems through December 31, 2010 and are equal to 30% of the full purchase and installation price up to a maximum of $1500.00.