A Consumer Reports National Research Center poll found 40% of consumers are worried about money or the economy this holiday season.
So here is a gift that keeps giving – energy saving retro-fits that quickly pay for themselves.
- Use an Incense Stick to Spot Air Leaks – Hold an incense stick near your windows, doors, and electrical outlets on a windy day. If the smoke blows sideways, you’ve got a leak that should be plugged with weatherstripping, caulk, or expandable foam.
- Check Furnace Filters – Be sure to clean or replace your HVAC system’s filter frequently.
- Install a Programmable Thermostat – Programmable thermostats help slice up to 10 percent off your yearly heating bills by automatically turning down temperatures 10 to 15 degrees for 8 hours a day.
- Insulate Water Heaters and Pipes – You can wrap hot-water pipes that run from the water heater with foam. Also consider lowering your water-heater temperature from 130 degrees to 120 for a total annual savings of roughly $75.
- Put in a Low-Flow Showerhead – Water heating alone accounts for nearly 15 percent of your energy bill. Low-flow showerheads can trim your home’s water use by up to 50 percent.
- Stop Pre-Rinsing Dishes – Skipping the pre-rinsing can save about $75 and up to 6,500 gallons of water per household per year.
- Insulate Your Attic Door – Whether you have pull-down stairs, an attic door, or a hatch, insulate that access with fiberglass or rigid foam-board insulation and weather stripping to prevent hot air from escaping your home.
- Switch to Smarter Lightbulbs – CFL and LED bulbs use about 75 percent less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs. That adds up to a savings of some $52 per bulb for CFLs and $65 to $400 per bulb for LEDs over the life of the bulb.
- Toss Old Refrigerators – Many home centers offer free haul-away and recycling of old fridges. Check with your local cooperative to see if they have a recycling program as well.
- Put Your Computer to Sleep – Save $75 or more per computer per year by using the standby or hibernate setting.