Family-friendly tips to save energy at home

Published 7:00 pm Tuesday, June 5, 2012

(ARA) – Saving money and reducing your home’s energy usage are a priority for many homeowners these days. Some energy-saving actions such as switching off lights when leaving a room and turning off the water while brushing your teeth or washing your hands are simple and cost effective.

This summer, try a few of the following energy saving tips to save your family some money while keeping the environment in mind:

* Only run dishwashers, washing machines and clothing dryers when they are full. Running two half-loads uses double the amount of water, and only half the clothes get cleaned.

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* Wash your clothes with cold water. Washing laundry with hot water means the heater has to run, accounting for up to 80 percent of the energy used per wash load, according to the Alliance to Save Energy. If a household switched to cold-water washing for a year, enough energy would be saved to watch TV for 1,363 hours or charge an iPhone 4S 30,861 times. So by switching to cold water washing, you can cut down on household energy use and save money while doing something good for the environment. On a larger scale, if everyone in the United States switched to cold-water washing, the energy saved could power the streetlights of New York City for 71 years. Tide Coldwater detergent is specially formulated to provide a deep clean in cold water conditions while helping families save up to 50 percent of energy per wash cycle.

* Keep cool this summer by closing curtains to block out the hot sun during the day. Blocking the sun will help protect your flooring and furniture from fading due to UV rays. Also try setting your thermostat a few degrees warmer. Run ceiling and standing fans to keep the air circulating to help family members stay comfortable. If nobody is home during the day, turn your air conditioner off, and have it timed to restart when family members return.

* When shopping for new appliances like a refrigerator, stove and oven, dishwasher, washer or dryer, look for models with an ENERGY STAR label. Adding just one of these energy-efficient appliances to your home can help you live a more energy-conscious life.

* Evaluate your light bulbs. Technology has improved light bulbs so more energy is used toward making light, not heat. Finding the appropriate bulb for each socket in your home can save your family between $50 and $100 a year, according to the Alliance to Save Energy.

With just a few simple lifestyle changes, your family can make your home more energy and save you money. Get your family started today with these quick energy savings tips and watch the savings add up.