Green ways to save money at home

The best ways to save money around the house also happen to be great eco-friendly suggestions as well. It’s all about looking for ways to conserve. Eco-friendly habits around the house try to not use more resources than needed, and that often means taking a few simple steps that can end up saving you a lot of money.

Clean out your dryer lint trap and shorten the vent. Clogged lint traps are a fire hazard and can reduce your dryer’s efficiency by as much as 75%. Cleaning it will save energy and reduce wear and tear on your dryer. Go one step further and clean out and shorten your vent hose. First, disconnect it and clean it out. Trim the hose length so that it's just long enough for you to pull the dryer a few feet out from the wall. Your clothes will dry faster, too. Better yet, hang your clothes out to dry instead of using a dryer at all. If you don’t have a yard, or your HOA forbids clothes lines, invest in a drying rack.

Unplug electronics. Unplug electronics when you’re not using them and eliminate phantom power drain. You can use power strips and timers them to automatically turn off the charge each night. You could also consider a smart power strip, which only turns on power to devices if the control device is turned on first. For instance, a DVD player and sound system will only receive power if the TV is on.

Change your lightbulbs. Get rid of your incandescent light bulbs and replace them with CFL and LED bulbs. If you’re remodeling, consider a fixture with an integrated LED bulb that never needs replacing. Install dimmer switches where low lighting is acceptable, and turn off lights when you leave the room.

Stop the drafts and leaks. Properly sealing cracks around windows and doors could save more than 10 percent on your heating bills. Start by caulking or weather-stripping around windows, and install a door sweep on all of your exterior doors. Use expanding-foam sealants to fill in gaps around plumbing where pipes enter your house through exterior walls

Be better with your blinds. In the winter, make sure blinds and curtains are open on sunny days to let in the warmth of the sun. Pull them closed or use reflective drapes in the summer to keep heat at bay.

Switch to a programmable thermostat. Invest in a programmable thermostat and use zoned central heating, so that it only runs when and where you really need it.

Replace an old water heater or add insulation. Heating water accounts for about 11 percent of your utility bills, higher if your water heater is more than ten years old. A more efficient model could save you 10 to 20 percent on water heating bills. Tankless heaters save about 40 percent on water heating costs. A water-heater blanket could save you between 4 and 9 percent on your heating bills, if you’re not ready to replace.

At the very least, turn down the thermostat on your water heater. Most are set at 140 degrees F, but 120 or even 110 degrees is hot enough and reduces the risk of scalding.

Close doors to lower the square footage. Keep closets and pantry doors closed to reduce the amount of square feet that are climate controlled.

Have your HVAC System regularly cleaned and tuned.  Tune-ups can save 10 percent or more on heating bills. A tune up will remove soot and dust buildup, and ensure that everything is running at peak efficiency. Make sure your ductwork is free from leaks and you’ll save even more. Make sure to regularly replace your air filters.

Replace your appliances with Energy Star rated ones. Save up to $80 per year in energy costs for a refrigerator, $130 annually on utility costs for a washer and $30 for the dishwasher when you upgrade to more efficient models.

Add more insulation to your attic. You can reduce your heating and cooling costs by 30 percent by adding more insulation to your attic, ceilings, and around recessed lighting fixtures.

Wash Clothes in Cold Water. Most detergents work well in cold water, so it makes sense to save on energy costs and switch to cold when you can. Plus, washing everything in cold water means that you no longer have to separate the colors.

Cut back on your water bill. Installing low-flow faucets could save you up to 60% on your water bill.

Plant a deciduous tree on the south, west, or east side of your house. Once mature, its shade can cut your cooling costs by up to 30 percent.

Install a ceiling fan. Run a fan in the winter to keep heat pushed lower to the floor. Reverse the direction in the summer to push cooler air down.