This post is part of The One Hour Project, in which you can spend just one hour to put your finances in a better place without a big lifestyle change, through frugality or other financial choices.
An hour around the house (doing everything here would take more than an hour, but most people have done some of these things – but the things done vary from person to person) can trim your energy use significantly, trimming your power bill quite a bit. The best part? These things, once done, require no maintenance – they just sit there and save money without any life changes or additional effort on your part. Some of these will seem pretty familiar to regular readers of The Simple Dollar, but I keep mentioning them because they’re simple and they really work.
I’ve talked again and again about installing CFLs at home on The Simple Dollar, so I won’t go through it again. Just remember that over a five year period, a single CFL can save you about $40 over a single incandescent bulb. Also, the stories about requiring a HazMat cleanup if you break one are flat-out untrue – just let the room air out and then clean it up carefully and you’re good to go. Want to know more?
Blanket Your Water Heater
If you use a large tank water heater, a thermal blanket for it (available at your local hardware store) can save significant energy costs, even given the internal insulation on water heaters. Water heaters very slowly lose heat – often at such a slow rate that they feel cool to the touch – but this heat loss is constant and a blanket can slow it down. Installing the blanket takes just a few minutes and will consistently save money over a very long time. One big tip: cut holes in them to reveal the underlying warnings on your water heater or you may void its warranty.
Install A Programmable Thermostat
If you’re willing to do a bit of home electrical work, installing a programmable thermostat is well worth your time; here’s how to do it. What does a programmable thermostat do? Basically, it allows you to set your house’s heating and cooling to automatically adjust themselves at night and also during the workday – there’s no need to keep having your air conditioner or furnace kick on and off all day when you’re not at home. Programmable thermostats can significantly drop your monthly energy use and often pay for themselves in just a few months – after that, it’s all profit.
There are many little moves you can make to save energy, but these three will cut down on your energy usage – and save month after month on your energy bill – without any additional effort after the initial install. Spend an hour making it happen and enjoy the savings over time.