Do you feel like all your money goes toward paying your bills each month? If you think there’s nothing more you can do to decrease your monthly expenses, think again. There are plenty of great ideas you may not have considered or thought were a waste of time. One way to put money back in your pocket is to look for products bearing the Energy Star or WaterSense labels.
You’ve likely seen Energy Star and WaterSense labels on a variety of products and may even have a few in your home already. What you may not know is why they should matter to you. The government-backed Energy Star and WaterSense programs certify products that meet energy-efficiency and water conservation standards so you can save money and do your part to protect the environment. Check out these four high-efficiency fixtures and appliances you shouldn’t overlook if you want to cut your energy and water bills each month.
CFL and LED Lightbulb
Image via Flickr by rockindave1
The cost of replacing all the lightbulbs in your home may deter you from making the change to compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) and light-emitting diode (LED) lightbulbs. While CFLs and LEDs cost more to buy, the long-term savings are well worth the extra expense.
CFLs and LEDs reduce energy use by as much as 88 percent over regular incandescent lightbulbs. CFLs use only 13 watts of energy to produce 800 lumens of light compared to 60 watts for a regular bulb. LEDs kick up the savings even more by using only 7 watts to generate the same amount of light. In addition, regular bulbs create much more heat than CFLs and LEDs. More heat means your air conditioner runs more often, costing you even more money.
No other fixture or appliance in your home uses more water than your toilet. High-efficiency toilets use fewer gallons per flush, saving you about 30 percent of your annual water usage. Older toilets use as many as 7 gallons per flush depending on the model. Dual-flush toilets use only 0.5 gallons per flush for urine and 1.5 gallons for solid waste.
Showerhead and Flow Control Valve
Most showerheads flow at a rate of about 2.5 gallons of water per minute. Low-flow WaterSense showerheads put out less than 1.5 gallons per minute. In addition to a WaterSense showerhead, install a flow control valve to further reduce water use. This handy gadget costs just a few dollars and connects right to the showerhead. Simply press a button to turn off the flow of water while you apply soap and shampoo. Press it again to restore water flow and rinse off.
Clothes Washers and Dryers
Most households do about 300 loads of laundry each year. Energy Star washing machines use as much as 25 percent less energy and 45 percent less water than traditional machines. They have a larger tub size so you can fit more in each load. Couple your new washer with an Energy Star dryer that uses 20 percent less energy than a regular dryer, and you can save a lot of money each year.
>Homeowners are always looking for ways to save money. To help cut costs and save the environment, you shouldn’t overlook these four high-efficiency fixtures and appliances.