Want to save money this winter? Below are seven no cost / low cost ways to take the edge off your gas and electricity bills and improve the comfort in your home or apartment.
Change or clean your furnace filters. Do this NOW, just as the heating season begins. Also change the filters in January… since that's about halfway through the winter season. Dirty filters slow down the flow of heated air from your furnace to living spaces, so the furnace runs longer to deliver the hot air. That's where you waste money… the dirtier the filter, the more it costs you to deliver heat. Many households save $2 to $5 per month with clean air filters.
Set your thermostat. Try 68 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 58 degrees at night. This will cut the heating part of your utility bill by 10 percent!
Turn down the temperature of your gas or electric water heater. Water heaters are usually set at 140 degrees F at the factory. You can save $12 to $24 a year simply by turning the tank thermostat down to 120 degrees.
Install low flow showerheads. Yes, you've heard about this for more than 20 years. With energy prices on the rise, it's still a great energy savings strategy! Many quality showerheads flow at 1.5 gallons per minute and deliver a surprisingly nice shower – give it a try for two weeks and you'll probably be pleasantly surprised. Depending on the size of your household, your energy bill could drop from a few dollars up to $10 per month. And don't forget you'll have water bill savings too!
Experiment with cold water wash and rinse cycles on your clothes washer. Today's detergents are quite advanced and do a great job on cold wash cycles. To start, always use a cold water rise — cold water does a better job of rinsing out the soap than does warm or hot. Next, switch to cold water wash, or if you think you need it, warm wash cycles. You'll save between $2 and $5 per month depending on your new settings and how many loads you do.
Buy Energy Star-rated products. Just about every energy-using device in you home comes in energy efficient models. Energy Star products are top performers from an energy standpoint and are often cost competitive with standard products. So when you buy a television, computer, clothes washer, dish washer, refrigerator, furnace, air conditioner or light bulb, ask for Energy Star-rated products. You'll save A LOT of money in the long run.
Get a free Energy Evaluation from Energy Trust of Oregon, whose work is dedicated to helping you to save on your gas and electricity bills. They offer free advice and cash rebates to homeowners, businesses and industry. So visit www.energytrust.org or call them at 1-866-368-7878 or to learn about their services.