You're already in the habit of turning off lights in unused rooms, you use your programmable thermostat properly, and always unplug your coffee pot and toaster oven when they're not in use. Maybe you think you know all there is about saving energy and living green. Chances are, however, there are still ways to cut your bills even lower, making your wallet and lifestyle just that much greener. See below for Trulia tips on areas where you can be saving more money on energy.
1. In the Yard
How can you cut your power bill out in the yard? By planting trees and tall shrubs that block bright sunlight all summer and hold in warmth during the winter. Trees also block winds, further helping your home stay warm. If you're renting, you probably don't want to spend lots of money on landscaping, but there are lots of places around the country offering free shade trees.
These programs are available in California, Arizona, Colorado, and many other areas. If there isn't a regular program in your city, check around Arbor Day. Many organizations use tree giveaways to spotlight their green missions around this time.
2. In the Hallway
Hallways don't get much thought. Unless you happen to go from one room to another, the hallway is a lonely place. Leaving your doors open to the hallway is the best way to open up the air flow in the home, allowing your heating and cooling system to do its best work.
3. In the Freezer
Freezers actually work most efficiently when they're full. If you only have a couple of items in the freezer, use them up and unplug it. Or, stock up on great deals at a bulk sales store so you're getting the most out of the least power usage.
4. On the Front Porch
Many families have the habit of leaving a light on for family members coming home late, especially in the winter when it gets dark so early. Swap your porch light for a motion detection light. Then the light will be available when needed, but won't waste energy the rest of the time.
5. In the Laundry Room
Using warm or hot water to wash clothes takes about 90 percent more energy than washing in cold water. Additionally, hang drying clothes saves tons of energy each year. Some people find they prefer the fresh smell and crisp feel of line dried clothing over heat dried laundry.
6. In the Basement
Lots of cold air in the winter and hot air during the summer makes its way from the basement into your home. See if your landlord will be willing to take the price of new insulation off your rent in exchange for your labor to install it. If not, at least seal garage doors and passages in the basement and insulate the door coming from the basement into the home.
Once you learn how to spot energy wasting problems around the house, it's easy to see how much power the average family pays for needlessly each year. You'll rest well knowing your household is saving money and contributing to a better planet for us all.
This article originally appeared on Trulia.com.
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