My list of simple home improvements that will save you money in the long term, without breaking the bank in the short term:
- Water Sense Toilets – If your home has older toilets they can use anywhere from 3 ½ gallons – 7 gallons per flush. Water saving toilets use no more than 1.6 gallons of water per flush and some less than 1.28 gallons. Replacing all of those toilets will quickly pay for themselves. I have a family of five and I recently replaced 3 older toilets with water saving models. My water bill went down by $70 in the following quarter.
- Touchless Faucets – Some of us have a tendency to let the water run when we are brushing our teeth, shaving or washing dishes. Touchless faucets allow us to conserve water and save money. They are also sanitary, if you don’t have to touch the faucet it is easier to keep clean.
- LED light bulbs – LED lights have come a long way and are now available in shapes and sizes to fit almost all residential light fixtures. LED bulbs do cost a bit more than incandescent or compact florescent, but they last much longer and consume much less energy. A 60 watt equivalent LED bulb only uses 7 watts to give the same illumination and also gives off less heat. You can actually touch a LED bulb that has been lit for an hour and it is just warm to the touch, where an incandescent or halogen bulb may leave you with a nasty blister.
- Refrigerators – Recent improvements in insulation and compressors make new refrigerators much more energy efficient than older models. If your refrigerator is 10+ years old, you can save on your electric bill by purchasing a new one. Just remember that in order to save money you must recycle the old one. Keeping the old one as a second refrigerator will defeat the benefit of getting the new one. Many utility companies have rebate programs for recycling your old one.