(NC) As a homeowner, there are many simple ways to reduce monthly expenditures and realize savings, and the easiest place to start is with your monthly energy bill. Here are a few changes you can make that can have a lasting impact on your wallet and the planet:
• Cool your house with a ceiling or electric fan and open the windows at night. Ceiling fans cost about 1 cent for two hours of use, compared to 67 cents to a dollar for central air. Use your AC only when necessary and be sure to turn it off when you’re going to be away from home long periods of time.
• Invest in a programmable thermostat. It will automatically adjust the temperature in your house, saving you energy while you’re away or sleeping.
• Use insulation with a high R-value. Experts and professionals often use a stone wool product called Roxul Comfortbatt, which can be used to top up the insulation in your attic. Topping up insulation to a depth of 16 inches (41 cm) or an R-value of 50 will help to keep your house cool in the warm weather and take the stress off your air conditioning unit.
• Check the tightness of your refrigerator seal by closing the door on a piece of paper. If it’s held in place, the seal is still good, if not, it’s time to replace the seal or fix the door’s alignment.
• Only do laundry or dishes when you have full loads. If you have smaller loads, make sure to use the correct settings and if you only have a couple of items, wait it out or wash them by hand.
Also consider low-cost DIY projects such as caulking around windows, adding weather stripping to doors, installing low-flow shower heads, putting aerators on faucets, and switching to energy-efficient LED or compact florescent light bulbs for even greater impact.