You needn't search for spare change in the sofa cushions to find some extra cash in your home. With these simple, energy-efficient home improvements you can save $500 in five rooms:
LIVING ROOM: $215
Replace your five most frequently used incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs for a savings of $65 each year. These bulbs use less energy and can last up to 10 times longer. In addition, install an Energy Star-qualified programmable thermostat, which can help control the temperature while you're away from home or at night when you're sleeping. When used properly, these thermostats can save as much as $150 per year in energy costs.
Most showers account for about 22 percent of the total water used in a home. Replace your existing shower head with a new 2.5-gallon-per-minute (low-flow) shower head. A low-flow shower head usually works by mixing air into the water flow to increase the water pressure. The new water-efficient shower head coupled with a 10-minute shower will save five gallons of water over a typical bath and save up to $145 each year on energy used to heat the water.
LAUNDRY ROOM: $74
To save hot water - and the $24 to $40 in fuel that it takes to heat that water each year - wash your clothes in cold water. Be sure to choose a laundry detergent that is formulated for use in cold temperatures. Save another $34 each year by cleaning the lint trap in your clothes dryer before every load of laundry, which will help increase drying efficiency. Using an Energy Star water-efficient frontload washing machine can cut water usage by about one-third, saving more that $16 annually.
BASEMENT OR UTILITY ROOM: $36
Lower the temperature on your water heater from 145 degrees to 120 degrees. The only place you'll notice the difference is on your utility bill. This slight reduction in temperature can save the average homeowner between $36 and $61 each year.
To keep your hard-earned money from literally going down the drain, be sure to repair faucet leaks at the kitchen sink. Hot water leaking at a rate of one drip per second can waste up to 1,661 gallons of water annually - and up to $35 in electricity or natural gas.
For more home improvement tips and information visit our Web site at http://www.onthehouse.com or call our listener hot line 24/7 at 1-800-737-2474 (ext 59). All you need to do is leave your name, telephone number and your question.