Save Money and the Planet - Smarter Use Of Energy

According to energy the typical U.S. family spends about $1,900 a year on home utility bills? Unfortunately, a large portion of that energy is wasted. And each year, electricity generated by fossil fuels for a single home puts more carbon dioxide into the air than two average cars. The good news is that there is a lot you can do to save energy and money at home. Start making small changes today.

Plugged In? - Unplug chargers (think cell phones and iPods) when not in use. Only 5% of the power drawn by a cell phone charger is used to charge the phone. The other 95% is wasted when it is left plugged into the wall.

Use a "smart" power strip that senses when appliances are off and cuts "phantom" or "vampire" energy use. You'll save the energy equivalent of a 100-watt light bulb that is always on.

The U.S. Department of Energy tells us that not only do appliances continue to draw electricity while the products are turned off, but in the average home nearly 75% of all electricity used to power electronics is consumed by products that are switched off.

New Appliances -

1. Refrigerators--According to the NRDC new refrigerators consume 75% less energy then those built in the 1970's. A family replacing a 1980's fridge with one that meets today's standards will save more than $100 a year in utility costs. Go one step further and buy an Energy Star-qualified model, and your new refrigerator will save you an additional 15 percent or more by using better insulation, more efficient compressors and better temperature control and defrost mechanisms.

2. Dishwashers-god already gave you the most energy efficient and cost effective dishwasher that would be your hands. Most of us however prefer to use a dishwasher. Technology has come a long way with these too. When looking to buy try to find energy star rated these are 25 percent more efficient than the minimum federal standards. Replacing a dishwasher made before 1994 with an Energy Star model can save $25 a year on utility costs. Or at the very least find one with energy saving cycle. Do not rinse dishes before putting them in dishwasher just scrape them this will save thousands of gallons of water a year. Also try to find one that has air dry option and use it instead of heat dry.

3. Water Heater-- Water heating is the third largest energy expense in your home, totally about 14 percent of your energy bill. An old water heater can operate for years at very low efficiency before it finally breaks down. If your gas water heater is more than 10 years old, it probably operates at less than 50 percent efficiency.

4. Washer - Replacing a washer built before 1994 with an Energy Star model can save a family $110 a year on utility bills. Energy Star washers use 50 percent less energy than other standard models, and only 18 to 25 gallons of water for a full-sized load, compared to 40 gallons for Standard full-size washers. Many Energy Star models also advertise lower fabric wear, better stain removal and quicker drying times. Wash your laundry in cold water whenever possible. Most of the energy used by your washing machine is used just to heat up the water. If you usually use hot water for your washing you can drop your energy consumption in half by choosing warm water, and up to 90% if you choose cold. This drastically reduces the energy you use and leads to reduction in global warming pollutants that are created either directly in your house by your oil or natural gas water heater or by the power plant that supplies your electric water heater. Don't wash partial loads of laundry. If at all possible use clothes lines or racks to dry your clothing it will make your clothes last longer and save you tons of money on gas or electricity.

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