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Bankrate's 2007 Living Green, Saving Green Guide
Green today
Learn 153 ways to be eco-friendly while saving green.
Green today
153 ways to go green
Energy: Short term
Tips » Short term $ factor
Tip 36:
Line dry, like grandma used to do.
Dry your clothes on a laundry line rather than throwing them in the dryer. Clothes dyers are the third-largest energy users in the home, behind the refrigerator and washing machine, costing more than $100 a year to operate, according to Project Laundry List.
$ Factor:
Drying your clothes on the line can save you as much as $10 a month, said Brad Stroh, co-founder of Bills.com. Laundry lines vary in cost, from about $5 for a simple rope line to $500 or more for deluxe models.
Tip 37:
Insulate your water heater.
It's inexpensive to insulate your electric water heater. The insulation comes in pre-cut "blankets" sized to fit your heater, and many you can install yourself, although the U.S. Department of Energy recommends hiring a contractor to install insulation on gas heaters. Choose a water-heater blanket with an insulating value of R-8 or higher.
$ Factor:
Water-tank insulation wraps cost from $10 to $20, reduce heat loss by 25 percent to 45 percent and will save you about $23 a year. To save even more, turn down the thermostat on your water heater, to between 115 and 120 degrees. This can reduce your water-heating expense by another 3 percent.
Tip 38:
Watch the watts.
Gadgets, such as the Kill-A-Watt and the Watt Minder, help you find the biggest energy users in your home. Plug an appliance into one of these devices and it will tell you how much energy it uses per hour, month or year, and how much it's costing you.
$ Factor:
Wattage meters cost from $20 to $30. If you are interested in the bigger picture, rather than monitoring one device at a time, the Power Cost Monitor tracks in real-time the electricity use in your entire house and shows how much it is costing you. The monitor costs about $130 and attaches to your electric meter.
Tip 39:
Check for leaks.
Check for leaks around windows and doors, baseboards, around window-unit air conditioners, outside pipes, fireplace dampers, electrical outlets, switch plates, and faucets. Also look for cracks in the home's foundation or siding. Most leaks can be remedied with caulking or weather stripping, although old windows may need to either be replaced or fitted with storm windows. If existing caulking and weather stripping isn't in good condition, repair or replace it. Leaky outlets can be sealed with an inexpensive foam insulation insert. Seal any leaks around electrical fixtures in the attic, and make sure all attic vents are unobstructed.
$ Factor:
Sealing leaks can improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling system by as much as 20 percent, according to Energy Star. The products needed to do the job are relatively inexpensive: Caulk costs less than $6 a tube, a package of weather stripping costs less than $10 and outlet insulators cost about $2 each.
-- Posted: Oct. 4, 2007
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