Making a few changes around the home can lead to big savings, and doesn't everyone resolve to save more in the new year? Here are a few ideas:
1. Energy Audits
Utility companies may offer an energy audit (some for free) where experts come in to assess how a home consumes energy and identify areas for improvement. Inspectors may perform the audit remotely or by visiting your home. It's been known to save as much as 30 percent on monthly bills. Search for an energy auditor near your ZIP code at the Residential Energy Services Network.
2. Adjust Your Water Heater
Lower the water heater by just 10 degrees Fahrenheit, and you may be able to curb your heating costs by 3 percent to 5 percent. A cover for your water heater can also keep the heat in and save an extra 4 percent to 9 percent.
3. Change the Light Bulbs
Swapping out your current bulbs for low-energy ones can help reduce lighting costs. A 60-watt bulb, which costs about $6, will save between $30 and $80 over its lifetime. With households typically having a minimum of 50 bulbs, homeowners could see a potential $1,500 in savings.
4. Wash Your Clothes on Cold
By using less hot water for laundry, you can save about $60 per year. Dryers account for 12 percent of energy in an average household, so line-drying clothes could save an extra $200 per year. If you do use the dryer, make sure you clean your vent, which can reduce energy costs by $9 to $12 per month.
5. Get Rid of Cable
Cutting the cord to your landline or cable can save you $100 a month. As an alternative, a Chromecast, which streams shows from your smartphone or computer to your television, costs just $35.