Earth Week 2013 on AOL: Decrease Your Energy Bill

First Posted: 04/25/13 EDT Updated: 04/26/13 EDT

To celebrate Earth Week, AOL is partnering with All Hands on Earth benefiting The Nature Conservancy. Here’s how you can get involved.

All Hands on Earth is a movement of millions of people and ethos-driven brands from all over the world, committed to taking immediate positive action to rescue our planet.

As part of AOL's commitment to helping All Hands on Earth reach its goal of 20 million actions, and $20 million raised, every day this week we'll be posting new tips and tricks to sustainable living.

Join AOL and The Nature Conservancy in supporting All Hands on Earth. Take action for our planet today, and tell us: What will you do for Earth? #AllHands

By Stephanie Wear, a marine scientist with The Nature Conservancy's Global Marine Team.

I’ve blogged about my experience getting an energy audit for my home and how we responded to what the auditors found. Many people think addressing energy problems in your home is expensive. However, I’ve learned there are cheap--and even free--ways to decrease your energy bill.

Check out my list of 21 ways to decrease your energy bill and your impact on the environment:

7 Free Ways: No Excuses Here!
1. Keep your thermostat at 68 degrees in winter and 78 degrees in summer (and dress appropriately for the weather of the season.)

2. Set your hot water heater at 120 degrees: each 10-degree reduction saves you up to 5% on your bill.

3. Avoid using the dishwasher’s heated dry cycle– just let them air dry.

4. Wash clothes on cold and shorten your shower. This also reduces your water bill.

5. Line dry your laundry when the weather is nice.

6. Use a ceiling fan in the summer and wear an extra layer in the winter.

7. Unplug your electronics when not in use. Anything with an LED light glowing (cell phone charger, computer monitor, etc.) is drawing power even if it is not on.

7 Cheap Ways: Small Investment, Big Payoff
1. Replace your incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent. Each bulb can save up to $40 over the lifetime of bulb and they last 10 times longer.

2. Make sure all your windows and doors are well sealed with caulking or weatherstripping. (Cost: Less than $100)

3. Make sure your plumbing and wiring penetrations are sealed. (Cost: Less than $50)

4. Get your heating and cooling system serviced annually to maintain and monitor efficiency. (Cost: The average service call is $75)

5. Insulate your hot water heater. (Cost: $10, savings up to 9% on your water heating bill)

6. Insulate your air compressor and hot water piping. (Cost: Less than $50)

7. Change your air filters at least every 3 months. (Cost: $2.50 per filter)

7 Tips for the Big Ticket Items
1. Follow Department of Energy guidelines on insulation – check out the map.

2. When replacing your roof, choose the lightest roof color you can handle aesthetically. This will keep the house 10-15% cooler in the summer.

3. Get your ducts inspected and repair any holes or faulty connections.

4. Because hot water heaters rank second in energy consumption, it is important to explore your options when replacing a worn-out unit.

5. When you replace an appliance, make sure it has an Energy Star rating.

6. When replacing windows, be sure the windows are Energy Star certified.

7. When replacing an HVAC system, make sure you purchase Energy Star certified equipment and that you buy compatible heating and cooling systems.

Read More:

No Power = Clean Water
Green Your Office
Eight Myths and Challenges of Renewable Energy
Climate Saving Tips from a Conservancy Scientist

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