(PIX11)-- Save money on your home energy bill as heating takes the biggest bite out of your monthly utilities. However, there are several other culprits contributing to your overall energy expense, and just as many opportunities for money savings.
Consumer Savings Expert Andrea Woroch stopped by with the top five home energy hogs wasting your power and your money --and of course a few simple tips to tame the beasts
1. Heating System
Accounting for approximately 43 percent of your energy bill, the HVAC system us your home's biggest home energy hog. While most homeowners can't afford a complete overhaul of the HVAC system, low-cost maintenance like changing air filters and sealing ducts can reduce energy use by 20 percent. The biggest payoff comes with installing a programmable thermostat, which lets you program your cooling system based on when you're actually around. To save on this expense, look for sales during the holidays and upcoming Black Friday or check for coupons using sites like CouponSherpa.com where I found deals at Home Depot.
2. Clothes Dryer
According to a new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council, an electric dryer consumes as much energy per year as an efficient refrigerator, dishwasher and clothes washer combined. To limit power use, hang-dry dressy garments, dry loads consecutively to reduce warm-up and drying time, and mind those minutes. Mindlessly setting your dryer to the max time when 30 or 40 minutes will do is a costly habit!
3. Water Heater
Many water heater manufacturers set temperatures at 140 degrees even though most households only require 120 degrees. Considering you can save $12 to $30 per year in energy costs for every 10-degree reduction, turning down the water heater temperature is a quick fix. Don't forget to turn it down to its lowest setting -- or completely off -- during weekend getaways this summer.
4. Energy Vampires
Set-top cable boxes consume nearly the same amount of electricity in the off mode as they do while in use. Further, 66 percent of power is wasted when no one is watching, or when a show is being recorded. Since unplugging these devices throughout the day would be tedious, installing a lamp timer is the best solution. This will allow you to pre-program when to cut power to the cable box, like when your family is at school and work for the day. Also, make sure you're actually watching recorded shows and aren't letting them clutter up your queue and your energy bill out of complacence. ***Also get in the habit of unplugging other gadgets that suck energy in the off mode like cellphone chargers, laptop chargers, coffee maker and your printer. You can use a power strip and ultimately save 5% on your bill.
Though lighting doesn't take up as much energy as other hogs on this list, it's one of the easiest and cheapest fixes. Swapping out incandescent bulbs for compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) can save you a bundle and start paying you back after six months. Plus, they consume 75-percent less energy than incandescent bulbs and typically last nine years longer. CFLs are available for all your lighting needs including ceiling fixtures, outdoor flood lights and even night lights for your kiddo's peace of mind.