How Much Are You Really Saving When You Wash in Cold Water? Or Power Down Your Laptop?

published Sep 27, 2017
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(Image credit: Bethany Nauert)

Decreasing the amount of energy you expend at home isn’t just good for the environment—it can be good for your bank account, too. According to a study from SaveOnEnergy, the average American spends a whopping $1,460 a year on electricity and $421 on natural gas; numbers that are expected to rise by 2 percent in 2018.

Luckily, there are plenty of simple ways to reduce your daily energy use. SaveOnEnergy assessed several energy saving hacks to see just how much you really can save every year—and the likelihood that you will actually take advantage of them—and the results might surprise you.

Washing in cold water:

$60 per year

Turns out washing your clothes in cold water can do more than extend the life of some your clothes, it can save you some moolah too! SaveOnEnergy’s study estimates that hot water washes can cost you up to $60 a year—that’s an extra 5 bucks a month you’re wasting unnecessarily on energy.

(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

Replacing light bulbs:

$180 per year

According to SaveOnEnergy’s research, simply replacing all of the incandescent light bulbs in your home with energy-saving ones (like LED bulbs) can save you an astonishing $180 a year. Even more shocking to learn is that despite this statistic, only 50.2% of Americans will actually switch their bulbs (mostly 25-34 year old females living in the northeast and western parts of the U.S.).

(Image credit: Ellie Arciaga Lillstrom)

Shutting down the computer:

$75 per year

Believe it or not, your home computers—no matter how small—are still a major energy drain. SaveOnEnergy estimates that you can save about $75 a year by turning off your desktop computers at night, instead of leaving it only idle. What’s more, one laptop left on sleep mode can cost you $15 a year. No wonder one in every three people makes a point to shut off their computers when they’re not in use.

(Image credit: Hayley Kessner)

Unplugging the printer:

$131 per year

Who knew keeping your printer plugged in at night could be so expensive? Per SaveOnEnergy’s stats, even when not in use, the standby energy drawn from the average laser printer costs you an astounding $131 a year. That number gets even crazier when you consider all the other energy-sucking electronics you keep plugged in all day night. Even worse, research shows over 85% of Americans still don’t plan on unplugging—especially 45-54 year-olds.

(Image credit: Sherrie and Oliver)

Sealing and insulating windows:

$200 per year

Of all the energy-saving measures you can incorporate into your home, it seems sealing and insulating your windows (with caulk or window film) to prevent outside air from coming in—and air conditioned air from going out—is the most cost-effective home improvement you can make. According to SaveOnEnergy’s study, you can save up to $200 annually by closing off the seams inside your house. Too bad only 32.5% of Americans will make the effort to reap these rewards.