6 Environmentally Friendly Ways for Homeowners to Save Money
Did you know that you can reduce the size of your utility bills and have a positive impact on the environment by making just a few simple changes?
Owning a home, while often very rewarding, can also be extremely expensive. After a homeowner has paid their monthly mortgage and property taxes, typically the third-largest expense they have to cover are their utilities.
Utility bills can get way out of hand if you’re not regularly monitoring your family’s usage of water, electricity, heat, and central air. However, dollars and cents aren’t the only reasons why you may want to pay extra-close attention to how much of these resources you and your family are using—wasting them, even inadvertently, can be harmful to the planet.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, every American uses an average of 88 gallons of water a day at home—that’s 32,120 gallons per year. This exorbitant usage level is expected to lead to a water shortage in almost every state within the next decade. In addition, the average American household uses 4,500 kWh of electricity per year. This might not seem like a big number, but it is actually six times that of the global average and a major contributor to air pollution. And while the natural gas you may be using to heat your home has many qualities that make it relatively efficient, clean burning, and economical, there are still several environmental and safety issues related to production and consumption.
Doing what we can now to manage our usage of these precious resources can help us preserve the environment, avoid supply scarcity, and save money. Fortunately, there are several easy ways to minimize the resources you use in your home, reduce your carbon footprint, and cut costs. Morse, of course, has a few recommendations to help you get started.
1. Install a low-flow showerhead.
Reduce water waste by replacing your outdated showerhead with an eco-friendlier option. Investing in a low-flow fixture will be well worth the cost when you receive your next water bill, as it can cut your water usage and quarterly statement by 50%.
2. Invest in water flow leak detection monitors.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average household wastes over 10,000 gallons of water every year, due to common leaks. By installing leak detection monitors in areas of your home where water damage is most likely to start—the laundry room, by the water heater, under the kitchen sink, by the toilet—you can be alerted quickly to microleaks, frost, and unusual water flow before these issues turn into catastrophes. Some monitors are even “smart” enough to turn off your home’s water service if a leak is detected.
3. Unplug electronics when they’re not in use.
Phantom energy is the electricity electronics use when they are “off” but left plugged into the wall. This habit is costly not only to homeowners but to the planet, too. Unplugging electronics like your phone charger, lamp, printer, and kitchen counter appliances when not in use can lead to savings of up to $100 a year on your electric bill.
4. Fill the dishwasher before running a load.
A newer-model, energy-efficient dishwasher is a greener choice than hand washing, but only if you’re washing full loads. Cleaning dishes in the sink uses up to 27 gallons of water per load, while a fully loaded Energy Star–certified dishwasher can use as little as 3 gallons. There are ways to fill your dishwasher more efficiently to avoid multiple loads. This will help you save not only money but your valuable time as well.
5. Close the curtains.
Drafty windows can increase your home’s heating costs by 40%, but replacing windows can be a significant expense. A more economical way to combat the need to crank the heat is to keep your curtains pulled. This will conserve heat until you save up enough to replace or repair your windows. If you prefer to let the sun in during the cold winter months, putting plastic wrap over your windows can help you cut down on your heating bills equally well.
6. Turn the thermostat down at night.
Bumping your thermostat down just a few degrees at night can save you up to 10% on your heating bill. Don’t be too aggressive with dialing down the heat, though, because turning the thermostat way down and then back up again uses more heat than only adjusting it slightly. Plus, you’ll want to make sure that the temperature in your home remains well above 55 degrees Fahrenheit, to avoid your pipes freezing.
No matter how committed you are to making these eco-friendly changes at home, switching up your routine—and getting the whole family on board—can be a challenge. We suggest that instead of trying to adjust every behavior right away, you might have more luck trying to change one behavior at a time.
When you’ve conquered the tips we’ve provided above, and if you’re feeling energized to do even more to save money and the environment, there are many other changes you can make to your home and lifestyle that could help preserve the planet and your pocketbook.
Morse, of course, can help homeowners find even more ways to save some money.
There are many perks to partnering with an independent insurance agent like Morse Insurance Agency, for all your home insurance needs. For example, we partner with many of the top insurance carriers to give you access to the best insurance options for your home and belongings, at great rates.
Plus, as your agent, we will always be on the lookout for additional discounts that can save you even more money, such as bundling your home and car insurance policies with one carrier. Contact us at 508-238-0056 if you’d like to take advantage of a complimentary homeowners policy review. We’ll be glad to help you determine if you’re missing out on ways to better protect your property and reduce your insurance premium.