As a homeowner, you’re always looking for ways to cut energy costs. Other than a mortgage or rent, your electricity, gas, water, and trash are your most expensive house payment. Not only that, but you’ve got to content with the fact that the more energy you use, the more strain and stress your putting on the environment. So greening and making your abode more energy efficient will help your pocket book and help create a more sustainable way of life.

Clean and replace filters – This goes for clothes dryers as well as your air conditioning vents. When filters get blocked or clogged with dust and/or debris, the dryer and you’re A/C intake has to work that much harder to pull enough air through the vent. While this seems like a no-brainer, air filters for A/C and heating units are often overlooked.

Switch to cold-water detergent – This is another simple trick to help eliminate extra cash for energy consumption. Typically, your clothes aren’t that dirty when you wash them and a simple cold wash will be more that enough to get the job done. Every time you use hot water to wash a load, you spend money on heating the water. By switching to cold-water detergent and running your clothes on a cold cycle, you can eliminate 90% of the energy used in a wash cycle.

Program your thermostat – When no one is at home there’s no need to keep the A/C blasting during hot months of summer. You can save a lot of money in energy costs by programming your thermostat to about 7 degrees above your typical room temperature. You don’t want to completely shut off your thermostat as you spend more energy starting and stopping your unit. It has to work that much harder to cool down a warm house. By setting the temperature to a few degrees above your comfort zone, you’ll get cooler faster when you get home and save more money in the interim.

Switch to a low-flow toilet – Simple math. Less water used means less money spent on using water. If you’re in the Midwest, where we’ve had historic droughts as of late, a low-flow toilet is a very important energy efficient, water-saving appliance any modern homeowner should have.

Use CFLs – Filament bulbs are so 1999. By replacing your filament bulbs with compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) you’ll be saving nearly 75% more energy and getting light 10 years longer. Plus, making the switch to a CFL will save you as the homeowner about $88 over the life of the bulb. For a more specific look at what you could be saving, you can check out this bulb savings calculator.

This post was provided by Realty Austin, experts in Austin real estate for Lake Austin, Downtown, and Westlake homes.