Eating healthier and getting in shape, quitting smoking and saving money are some popular New Year’s resolutions, but long-term problems don’t have instant fixes, and that’s why so many people get fed up and break their resolutions.
The truth is, to get fit and trim, you may have to purchase a gym membership or exercise equipment; to quit smoking, you may have to enroll in a program that weans you off cigarettes; and to save money in the long run you may have to make some investments, like replacing old home appliances with energy-saving ones.
Here are tips to save money on energy this year and in the years ahead — best of all, they fit every budget!
1. Get more insulation
Insulation is your home’s best defense to keep cold air outside your living spaces during the winter and hot air outside those spaces during the summer.
If nothing ever went wrong, insulation would last just as long as the manufacturer describes — which could be 100 years, or the life of the building.
But that’s not realistic. Contact with moisture and pests can quickly degrade insulation and require it to be replaced.
Check your attic — you may be surprised to see less insulation than there was before, due to damage. If you can see the ceiling joists, it’s definitely time to visit your local home center for more insulation.
2. Stop Energy Vampires
Did you know that turning off your TV or computer doesn’t cut the power running to the device? Or that leaving a charger plugged in an electrical outlet, even without a phone attached, still uses energy?
Electronic items that suck up power even when not in use are often called energy vampires. Despite the cute name, the costs are steep — adding at least 10 percent to your monthly utility bill, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
If you have a light switch that can turn outlets off and on, plug your biggest electronic items (such as TVs and computers) into these switch-controlled outlets, and simply flip the switch when you no longer need the device. That’s the easiest way to stop energy vampires!
Alternatively, you could plug media devices — some of the worst energy-sucking offenders — into a power strip and, again, control their power use with a switch.
If neither of these is an option, get back to basics: avoid leaving your TV or computer idle; power off the flat screen and put the laptop in sleep or hibernate mode.
Of course, you can also go around the house and unplug devices you’re not currently using.