Want to reduce your energy bills? Replace your light bulbs!

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Want to reduce your energy bills? Change your light bulbs.

According to a Bloomberg report, citing new information from the Energy Department, the best way to improve energy efficiency — and reduce your utility bill — is by replacing old light bulbs with LEDs. 

Americans’ energy-conservation efforts, from switching bulbs to upgrading washing machines and air conditioners, have done more to reduce carbon emissions than the increased use of solar, wind and natural gas,’ a consultant at Wood Mackenzie Ltd. told Bloomberg. 

How LED bulbs can save you big bucks

LED light bulbs use between 80% and 85% less energy than the incandescent bulbs (the ones you use in lamps) they replace, according to Consumer Reports. And while LEDs used to take a long time to make up for the money you spent on them, prices have dropped, making them a much better deal. And on top of being more energy efficient, LEDs also last longer — an estimated 23 years — so switching over will save you a lot of money over time.

For more details, check out Consumer Reports’ lightbulb ratings.

Read more: 6 ways to cut your home energy costs

Other ways to reduce your utility bills

Washers & Dryers

According to Consumer Reports, new washing machines use less than half the water of those made 20 years ago. So upgrading to a machine that uses less water can save you a lot of money over time. Plus, lowering the water temperature can also be a big money-saver.

But make sure you’re getting the right one and paying the right price. Washers and dryers fail more than other common electronics purchases. About 1 in 8 washers will fail over the first few years of ownership. With dryers, you get more reliability on average, with only 1 in 16 failing during that same time period.

When you’re ready to upgrade, Clark suggests looking for reliability stats from Consumer Reports or elsewhere, and then shop at a scratch and dent store. You can get even more bang for your buck by purchasing mismatching colors of dryers and washers at the scratch and dent. More details here.

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Air Conditioners

Replacing an old AC may be more cost-effective than repairing the one you have.

The AC industry is making far more efficient units than even just several years ago. Efficiency is measured by the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). A unit with today’s standard is much cheaper to run than an older one. Clark says you can estimate that your power bill will be reduced by roughly a third with the new units. Check out Consumer Reports’ guide to air conditioners for more details on ratings and prices.

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