These five unexpected items will help you save energy at home without breaking the bank…

Want to live in a more energy efficient home? Contrary to what you may have read elsewhere, you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars buying new appliances or completely renovating your home to live a greener lifestyle. These five unexpected items will help you save energy at home without breaking the bank:

Rugs

You can improve heat retention in your home by laying down rugs on bare floors instead of adding floor insulation, which could be pricey and time consuming. In addition to keeping heat inside the home during cold winter months, rugs also make your home more comfortable by providing a barrier between your bare feet and icy cold floors.

Laundry Racks

Many people assume air drying their laundry means hanging clothes on a clothesline in the backyard, but that’s not always the case. Invest in an inexpensive laundry drying rack that allows you to hang wet clothes to dry inside the home without making a mess. Let’s say you do eight loads of laundry a week, which is the average number of loads done by families today. If you chose to dry half of these loads using a laundry drying rack as opposed to your dryer, you would save around $50 a year on your energy bills!

Light Bulbs

If you’re still using incandescent bulbs anywhere in your home, the quickest way to become more energy efficient is to switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). These energy efficient lights use around 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs, plus about ten times longer, so you won’t have to go through the hassle of changing light bulbs as often. Each CFL bulb will save you about $35 over the course of its lifetime, so they will pay for themselves and more over time. If you don’t want to commit to changing every bulb in your house, pick a few of the most frequently used light fixtures and switch those out to start.

Power Outlets

Unplugging devices when they’re not in use is a great way to save energy, but it can also be a pain to remember to do it. If you have a bad habit of forgetting to unplug, then look for power outlets that will do it for you. This Belkin Conserve Socket Power Timer will power down connected devices after a certain period of time so you don’t have to remember to unplug. Just select a time interval, either 30 minutes, 3 hours or 6 hours, and then go about your day. After the time that you selected has passed, the socket will automatically shut off whatever device is connected.

Laptops

Do you have both a desktop and laptop computer at home? If so, use the laptop instead of the desktop to save energy. Laptop computers can function on about one-fifth of the energy that desktop computers use. Even when both devices are plugged into an electrical socket, laptops are more energy efficient than desktops. Many laptops are also designed with energy efficient features, such as the graphics processing unit, to extend the life of the battery.

With so many easy ways to become more energy efficient at home, there’s no excuse to not go green!