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Five Ways to Cut Energy Usage & Save Money Around the House

Aug 27, 2008
It takes unimaginable amounts of energy to power the United States, and the needs is constantly growing. As global warming and fuel crises gain more and more public attention, people everywhere are now looking for ways to live a greener lifestyle. But this doesn't mean rebuilding your home to run on solar energy, or overhauling your current lifestyle. There are plenty of small, simple things you can do every day to help reduce your household's energy consumption (and even waste). Here are five effective changes you can make right now.

1.Turn Off the Lights
We've all heard this a million times, whether in the midst of an energy crisis or not. But that doesn't make it any less true. By turning off the lights when you leave a room, or simply using one light instead of several, you can save big bucks on your electric bill over time. Plus, you'll cut back on a lot of wasted energy by using it more sparingly. Also, installing lower wattage bulbs not only reduce energy use, they also typically last longer, meaning you'll save money on your shopping bills, too.

2.Check Your Insulation
Poor insulation can cost you big time in wasted energy. Year round, insulation works to keep your house cool or warm, depending on the season. If you have poor quality insulation, or if it's old and losing effectiveness, you could be wasting not only an incredible amount of energy, but you could also be significantly overspending on your electricity bills. Just like it doesn't make sense to leave the air conditioner on with the windows open, heating or cooling a house with poor insulation is both wasteful and ineffective (and frankly, kind of silly).

3.Fix Leaks
Drip, drip, drip. Leaky faucets are huge water wasters, particularly because people often think of a leak as a small problem how much water can really be wasted by a tiny drip? Well, you'd be surprised. Just plug the sink or tub for a day and see how quickly that drip, drip, drip fills it up. If you spot a leak, fix it as quickly as possible (you may even be able to do it yourself, if you catch it early enough). Not only is it the responsible thing to do for the environment, it's the responsible thing to do for your budget, too.

4.Consolidate Wash Loads
Washing machines and dishwashers use an incredible amount of water, so next time you're going to do a load of laundry or dishes, make sure you have enough things that need cleaning to fill the load and maximize your water and power usage. If there are only a few dirty plates or clothes, either wait until you have more to do, or simply wash what you need by hand.

5.Reduce, Re-Use, Recycle
Being conscientious about your household's waste is the first step toward a greater environmental awareness. There are lots of ways to cut back on waste: eat leftovers; use old rags for cleaning instead of paper towels; recycle bottles, cans and paper products the list goes on and on. And always donate unwanted items instead of throwing them away you'll not only be helping the environment, you'll also be helping someone in need.
About the Author
Ki is a real estate broker working in the Austin real estate market. He site has a map based search of the Austin MLS along with a free mortgage calculator.
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