(BPT) - With the demand for electricity and natural gas rising, right along with energy costs, American homeowners can easily spend hundreds of dollars a month on utility bills.
'From air conditioning larger homes to powering today's high-tech electronics, we are using more energy than ever and that is certainly hitting many homeowners in their pocketbooks,' says Bobby DiFulgentiz, an energy efficiency expert with Lennox Industries, a leading manufacturer of home heating and cooling equipment. 'But there are ways to stretch your dollar further by evaluating how you spend money on energy and making a few simple, smart, energy-efficient home improvements.'
DiFulgentiz explains that there are some practical tips and advice that can help the average homeowner find $500 in energy savings in five different rooms of the house.
* $215 in the living room. Replace your five most frequently used incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs for a savings of $65 each year. These bulbs use less energy and can last up to 10 times longer. In addition, install an ENERGY STAR qualified programmable thermostat, such as the Lennox iComfort Wi-Fi thermostat, which can help control the temperature while you're away from home or at night when you're sleeping. When used properly, these thermostats can save as much as $150 per year in energy costs.
* $145 in the bathroom. Replace your existing shower head with a new 2.5-gallon-per-minute (low-flow) shower head. The new water efficient shower head coupled with a 10-minute shower will save five gallons of water over a typical bath and up to $145 each year on electricity used to heat the water.
* $74 in the laundry room. To save hot water, and the $24 to $40 in fuel that it takes to heat that water each year, wash your clothes in cold water. Be sure to choose a laundry detergent that is formulated for use in cold temperatures. Save another $34 each year by cleaning the lint trap in your clothes dryer before every load of laundry, which will help increase the drying efficiency of the machine.
* $36 in the basement or utility room. Lower the temperature on your hot water heater from 145 degrees to 120 degrees - the only place you'll notice the difference is on your utility bill. In fact, this slight reduction in temperature can save the average homeowner between $36 and $61 each year.
* $35 in the kitchen. To keep your hard-earned money from literally going down the drain, be sure to repair faucet leaks at the kitchen sink. Hot water leaking at a rate of one drip per second can waste up to 1,661 gallons of water annually and up to $35 in electricity or natural gas.
Total savings: $505 (or more in some cases)
In addition, since heating and cooling accounts for nearly 50 percent of the average home's utility bill - or up to 50 cents of every dollar - and is typically the largest energy expense - it's important to be sure to schedule annual routine maintenance on your heating and cooling system to ensure it's running as efficiently as possible.
If the air conditioning system is more than 10 years old or the furnace is more than 15 years old - the average life spans of cooling and heating units - consider replacing them with a new, ENERGY STAR-qualified system that will be more energy efficient and can help lower utility bills. For example, by replacing an old 10 SEER (seasonal energy efficiency rating) cooling system with a 26 SEER system, which is more than twice as efficient, homeowners can save more than $2,700 over a five-year period.
For more information about how to stretch your energy dollar further, visit www.lennox.com.