Ramping up energy saving efforts to stave off the higher costs of energy can be simple and easy. "Good Morning America" contributor Wendy Bounds gives you tips on how to cut costs and energy below.
Get a Chest FreezerIf you have a standup freezer, you may want to consider swapping it for a chest freezer because a chest freezer generally consumes 10 to 25 percent less energy.
And it saves you money, because, when you open it, the cold air doesn't just spill out like it would in a standup freezer. It stays in the bottom.
Find out how much you'd save by trading in your old model at recyclemyoldfridge.com. In my case, I'd be able to cut between $30 and $77.
If you have a new appliance that's working well, though, don't just dump it. Look at making a switch at the end of its life cycle. That's when it's most cost effective.
Use Energy Star Appliances
The second thing you need to know about saving energy is that, no matter what appliance you're considering buying -- a freezer or anything else -- always look for the energy star symbol on it.
Energy Star appliances use between 10 and 50 percent less energy and water, and that can save you a lot of money.
Dial Back on Dryer Use & Hot Water Washing
Most people don't realize that the average electric dryer is an energy hog. It is by far one of the biggest energy consumers in the house.
A way to get around that is to dry your things on a clothes line. I know that sounds pretty depression-era, but you really can dry your clothes easily.
If you want to do it inside, you can use a drying rack that easily folds up and goes into storage when you're done with it. They're only around $30.
If you want to dry your clothes outside, you can use a retractable line, which goes from around $100. I use an indoor rack and it will probably save me around $50 this year.
Another way to cut back on energy spending is to make sure you dial back the washing temperature. Most clothes can be washed on cold or at least on warm. That will also help you make some real savings.
This is a big thing that you want to do. Figure out which of your many appliances are hogs, and then make smart decisions about when they are plugged in.
You can buy a kilowatt meter for about $30, and it will tell you how much energy each appliance uses. That's important because people don't realize that their TVs, computers and fully charged cell phones still suck up energy, even when they're turned off. That costs the average household $100 a year.
So, start unplugging, but be smart about it. The easiest thing to do is to keep everything plugged into a power cord -- all your computer things on one, all your TV things on another -- and shut things down when you're not using them.
Be careful, though. Don't turn off your television or your TIVO if you're recording your favorite show. Think about what needs to stay on and what can be unplugged.
Cut Incandescent Dependency
Almost everyone has heard that you should replace incandescent light bulbs, the old round ones, with compact fluorescent bulbs. And you should. The good news is that now, many come in much warmer lighting, so the light is more comfortable.
They also come as three-way and dimmable forms. Use them. They require 75 percent less energy. And there's another new light out there, LEDs, which are the wave of the future. They use 90 percent less energy.
They may not be cost effective for your entire house right now, but they are great for things like under-cabinet lighting in your kitchen. Using the alternative lighting should save you between $50 and $150 dollars a year.