Living Inexpensively

This post on smarter homes and related social media discussions are sponsored by Direct Energy.

I’m always looking for ways to improve our home’s efficiency and lower our monthly bills. At first it was about living a greener life. I like the idea of leaving our children’s world a little better than we found it. Then it was about indulging the tween’s (mildly insane) ideas of saving the earth.

At this point, I think we cover that pretty well. We recycle everything — yes, even the food, courtesy of her composting plan in kindergarten. I have dozens of reusable grocery bags. We haven’t used paper products in years. (Well, okay, I still use toilet paper.) And, we have worked hard to create a more eco-friendly home.

We long ago replaced every bulb in the house with CFLs. We very carefully selected all our appliances with energy efficiency in mind. My morning routine includes shutting down all the lights the kdis left on when they left for the bus. And, our thermostat is programmed for the most efficient use of energy.

You even get three Honeywell Smart Thermostats when you sign up for the Direct Energy Meridian Savings Plan. The plan includes a fixed rate, competitively-priced energy plan, the Honeywell Smart Thermostats, and a smartphone app to control your home’s temperature away from home. It’s a great way to reduce energy consumption when you’re away from home.

The next thing for us to attack in our plan for a smarter home was the water supply. The HE washing machine was our first effort there. I honestly have no idea if it’s made an impact because we added children to our family around the same time we bought it. But this week I stumbled on a water saving tip that took less than 5 minutes.
5-Minute Tip to Lower Water Bills
We had a leaky faucet or two. (Did I mention we’ve been here for 10 years?) I ran to the hardware store for new washers, because it didn’t seem like a major issue, and I had hoped a quick washer switch would stop the leaks.

Instead, I ended up buying new, water efficient aerators for every faucet in the house.

For $5, they claim to reduce water usage by up to 55%. I brought them home, unscrewed the original aerators, and screwed in my new water-reduction plan. The whole process took 5 minutes, and I’m already seeing a difference in water flow. There is still plenty of water coming out of each faucet, but there is a visible difference in the amount.

How much water have we wasted in the last 10 years? Plus, it’s shiny and clean again without 10 years of lime buildup! Now, I want to know what other simple tricks I can try to reduce our consumption and lower our bills.

What simple tricks do you use around the house?

Thanks to Direct Energy for sponsoring this conversation. I have been compensated for my work, but all opinions (and planet-saving efforts) are 100% mine..

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