Slashing Utility Bills Can Help Save the Planet

Slashing Utility Bills Can Help Save the Planet

Utility bills seem to go up every year—and every year we hear the call to save our nation’s natural resources. Financial management site Quicken.com suggests seven savvy ways to save on electric, gas, and water bills while helping to save our planet in the bargain:

  • Pull the plug. Appliances that have a clock or operate by remote, as well as chargers, suck electricity even when not in use. In fact, of the energy used to run home electronics, 40 percent is consumed when the appliances are off—so pull the plug when not in use.
  • Insulate the water heater. The newest models have plenty of insulation, but if yours is vintage 2004 or earlier, wrap it in an insulating jacket and save 10 percent—about $30 a year—on your water heating bill.
  • Set the washer to cold. Use cold water to wash clothes and save 50 percent of the energy you would use for hot water. Also, set your dryer on the moisture sensor, not the timer, and cut energy use by 15 percent.
  • Go low-flow. Older shower heads send as many as 5.5 gallons per minute (gpm) down the drain. The new fixtures go as low as 1.5 gpm, saving 7,300 gallons and $30 – $100 a year.
  • Run full loads. Run full loads of clothes and dishes. Most of the energy used is to heat a set amount of water, so running smaller loads wastes both energy and water. Also, air-dry dishes for added energy savings.
  • Retrofit your faucets. Consider faucet aerators, which screw into your faucet threading and cut the water flow from 3 – 4 gallons per minute. Aerators blend water and air, reducing the flow without sacrificing pressure. At $0.50 – $3 apiece, the devices are some of the cheapest green gadgets available.
  • Go drip. For gardens, consider installing a drip irrigation system, which maintains moisture in the soil. Drip irrigation can reduce water loss by 50 – 60 percent when compared with hand-watering or sprinkler systems.

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