10 money and energy saving tips

With winter approaching quickly, energy costs begin to rise. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released 10 tips on protecting health, saving money, and lowering energy consumption.

1. Lower utility bills by sustaining heating equipment

Dirt and mistreatment can have a negative impact on how well a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system works. Heating and cooling costs account for almost half of total energy bills. To make sure the system is operating at its highest performance schedule an HVAC checkup annually. An essential part of an HVAC system is its filter, and it should be checked every month and changed every 3 months, unless needed sooner. Filters that are filled with dirt will slow down air flow and make systems work harder – creating unnecessary energy use.

2. Protect health with EPA’s free apps

The EPA is offering AIRnow and Ultraviolet (UV) Index apps free of charge. By entering the zip code for more than 400 cities throughout the country, AIRnow allows users to get current particle pollution and ozone levels and forecasts. The UV Index shows hourly forecasts of UV radiation levels from the sun. Both apps are available for Apple and Android phones.

3. Use Energy Star light strings if decorating

Energy Star-qualified lights are longer-lasting, more resistant to shock, and cooler to the touch. These light strings can last 10 times longer and are more energy efficient than incandescent lights, using 65 percent less electricity, Available in many different colors, shapes, and lengths, they can make decorating for holidays easier and more affordable. Consider electrical safety if extension cords are needed.

4. Save up to 12 percent by lowering the temperature

When closing a business for the day, leaving the house or during overnight hours, take advantage of saving money. Program thermostats 8 degrees lower for 7 hours each night, and when possible, an additional 7 hours each weekday. Doing this could result in a seasonal heating savings of up to 12 percent.

5. Install WaterSense products and save

WaterSense labeled products are certified to meet EPA specifications and include bathroom sink, faucets, toilets, flushing urinals, showerheads, and irrigation controllers. Commercial water usage can vary widely between office buildings, institutional users, schools, hospitals, retail stores, and other businesses. When remodeling or building for commercial use, plumbing in WaterSense labeled products can reduce water usage and save money. An average household spends up to $500 annually on their water and sewer bill. Save about $170 by installing water-efficient fixtures and using appliances with the WaterSense label.

6. Cut down food waste

In 2010 Americans disposed of 33 million tons of food waste. When food is thrown away in waste containers and then dumped in a landfill, it decomposes and becomes a major source of methane- a potent greenhouse gas. A majority of discarded food is still good and could be eaten as leftovers the next day, and a large lunch could be split into lunch and dinner. When preparing lunches for work, eating out, and fixing family meals, consider ways to reduce waste and save money.

7. Watch for the Environment DfE label

The EPA lists more than 2,800 products that sport the Designed for the Environment (DfE) label. A DfE label identifies industrial and household cleaners, degreasers, paints, and other products that use the safest ingredients to protect people, pets, and the environment. The use of DfE products in America during 2011, reduced harmful chemicals usage by over 756 million pounds.

8. Test for radon gas

Radon is a colorless, odorless gas formed by the natural decay of uranium in soil and rock, and it is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. During colder months, levels can increase in businesses, homes, and schools. Have levels tested and address any issues immediately.

9. Burn firewood wisely

Some small businesses and many homes heat with woodstoves. Energy efficiency can be increased by as much as 50 percent, and the amount of wood used can be reduced by replacing an old woodstove with a new, more efficient one. Properly maintain the fire and burn only seasoned, dry wood to help increase efficiency. Using work gloves when handling firewood helps protect hands from bumps, scrapes, and slivers.

10. Ward off pests

During the winter months pests try to move indoors. To help reduce pest problems, remove traces of food and water, and use caulk to eliminate cracks, and repair leaks. When using a pesticide, read the label and use safety products, including respirators and protective clothing when required.

Enjoy winter and protect health, while saving money at work and at home with these tips. Conserving energy and natural resources can help make a difference.

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