Saving money starts at home

Published 3:49 pm Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Consider those who are on a budget and need a new refrigerator. The best buy is the fridge with the lowest price, right?

Not necessarily.

How much an appliance costs depends on three things: purchase price, repair and maintenance costs and energy costs.

Energy efficiency is an important part of any decision. All new major home appliances must meet government energy conservation standards. Many appliances exceed these standards and save even more. What makes one appliance more efficient than another? Most of the differences are on the inside.

Whether in the market for purchasing a refrigerator, thinking about ways to reduce a home’s bills or trying to save money on gas, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has important information that can save money in every room of the home.

Kitchen Energy Savings

-Move the refrigerator away from the stove, dishwasher or heat vents. Make sure the door seals are airtight.

-Wait until the dishwasher is full before running it.

-Use pots that fit the size of the burners on the stove. By using lids, foods cook at a lower temperature.

-Always clean the dryer lint filter before putting in a new load of clothes.

-Set the thermostat on the water heater to 120 degrees.

Heating and Cooling Systems

-Schedule an annual tune-up for the central air conditioner, heat pump or furnace.

-Hire a professional to seal and insulate leaky ducts and to make sure the airflow distribution system serving the heating equipment is operating efficiently.

-Clean or replace filters on forced-air furnaces. Seal flues in the fireplace that are not used. Install coverings on windows and seal holes around the plumbing and heating pipes.

-Check caulking and weather stripping, and repair if necessary.

Look for more savings at home articles coming soon.


Ruth Brock, a regional extension agent, can be reached by e-mail at or at 612-4066.