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Five Easy Projects to Cut Energy Expenditures

Chances are, when you open your monthly utility statements, you're witnessing energy costs doubling and even tripling at the height of the season. Many homes, particularly those built more than 10 years ago, do not feature the latest energy-saving techniques and products. By spending just a few dollars and doing some simple projects, you can save energy - and significant amounts of money. Here are five fast fixes to help you start saving:

  • Lower Your Lighting Costs -
    Start with this easy task: Replace current light bulbs with energy-saving compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs. They screw in just like standard bulbs, but use a fourth of the energy and last up to 10 times longer. An 18-watt CFL bulb provides as much light as a 75-watt standard light bulb. Average savings: $10 - $50 per year
  • Taming the Toilet -
    A constantly-running toilet can use up to 8,000 gallons of water each year. Fix the problem by installing a toilet repair kit that features a new valve, flapper and other devices that will conserve water. Average Savings: $25 - $100 per year
  • Fix Leaky Fixtures -
    Aside from causing that annoying "drip," leaky faucets can also cause a spike in your water bill. Replacing the aerator and rubber washer will cost you pennies yet save you dollars in the long run. As for the showerhead, consider installing a flow-restricting model - a family of four can conserve 10,000 gallons of water per year going this route. Average Savings: $100 - $300 per year
  • Hot Water Help -
    Your water heater may be working harder than it needs to, costing you precious dollars. Reduce the temperature on the unit to about 120 degrees - the water doesn't need to be any hotter. If the unit is older than 12 years, you may want to look into replacing it with a new, more energy-efficient model. Average Savings: $20 - $50 per year
  • Install a Programmable Thermostat -
    Installing a programmable thermostat can significantly reduce energy costs, especially in the winter and summer months. Programmable models allow you to automatically adjust the temperature throughout the day, creating a specific energy-saving 'program' for weekdays and weekends. Some models even allow you to set preferences on the hour for each day of the week. Average Savings: $125 - $350 per year and up

Follow these simple tips and you'll see savings in no time. And remember, if you have home improvement questions and need a little advice, send me an email at asklou@acehardware.com - I'd be glad to help!

-Lou

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