Rising electricity costs can be hard on your bank account, but by combining several cost-savings strategies you can save hundreds on your home energy bill each year. For the biggest savings consider these ways to reduce heating and cooling costs without sacrificing comfort:
•Wash clothes in cold water. Heating water is the single largest expense to run a load of laundry. Also, hot water shrinks and fades your clothes and should be used only when there are major stains.
SAVINGS: $130 to $300 per year on water heating costs, depending on the size of your family.
•Unplug electronics when not in use. Energy “vampires” include TVs, computers, video game consoles, phone chargers (basically anything that “glows”) and account for 5 to 10 percent of household electricity costs even when they’re turned off. Save money by unplugging them, shutting them down, or attaching them to a single power strip than can be turned off.
COST: Free or $10 to $40 for a power strip/surge protector
SAVINGS: $100 per year
•Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs). While they cost a bit more, CFLs use 75 percent less energy and last at least 6 times longer than standard incandescent light bulbs.
COST: $5 to $15 each (save by buying multi-packs)
SAVINGS: $75 per year in electricity by replacing your five most frequently used bulbs. Savings potential increases since the average home has 30 light fixtures