August 25, 2009

Conserve Energy at Home

Rob & I had a big shock yesterday when we opened up our gas and electric bill yesterday and saw how crazy high it was.  The electric portion was insane due to all of the air conditioning use.  While I like enjoying the summer warmth, Rob does not and likes the house too chilly for my taste.  We can't cut the A/C usage while he's home, but I did come up with some other ideas to cut our energy bill.  These are super easy to do since most of them involve simply shutting things off when you're not using them.  How easy!

 Your couch doesn't need the AC: Turn off, or lower, the air conditioning while no one is home. No need to pay to chill the house when no one's there to enjoy to coolness (or suffer and freeze in my situation!). This may seem like an obvious solution, but we need to be better about it. Our house retains heat/cold well, so it's not an issue to shut off the air conditioning while we're gone. If you leave/come home at the same time each day, you can even program your A/C to do this for you.

Don't get scorched:  Water heaters have a thermostat that sets the maximum water temperature.  If you can make the shower water scorching hot and much hotter than you need it, then you have some room to dial down the maximum water temperature.  Around 120 degrees F is a good maximum temp.  This will prevent energy from being wasted as the water heats to temperatures higher than you'll ever need.  Plus every 10 degrees you lower the temperature, saves 600 pounds of CO2 a year (440 pounds for gas heaters).

Your clothes don't mind cold showers: Laundry uses lots of power between heating the water, running the washing machine, then running the dryer.  Wash as much as you can in cold water so you can conserve some power heating the water. Try to cut down on dryer usage also by line drying or flat drying clothing.  You can also partially dry things in the dryer and then line/flat dry until completely dry (works well for things like blankets and towels) 

Water heaters like to be cozy too:  A special "blanket" can be purchased and wrapped around your water heater to insulate it better.  This will reduce it's standby heat loss and lower your water heating costs by 4%-9%.  The blankets are only $10-20, so this is a quick and inexpensive improvement.

    There are about 20 vampires in your house:  Many electronics are energy "phantoms" or "vampires", they use electricity even when turned on.   If your device has a digital clock, remote, or little red light signaling it's off then it's still using electricity.  Unplug things like tvs, microwaves, radios, video game systems, chargers, dvrs, and vcrs (seriously you're not using that vcr, you can unplug it) when not in use.  Things that are a pain to unplug can be plugged into a power strip with an off switch.  Turn the power strip off easily and cut off electricity to your vampire electronics.  Computers too!  Unused monitors shouldn't stay on for longer than 20 mins and computers for more than 2 hours. 

For more ways to save money, check out my home improvement money saving tips or read more about conserving energy from these resources I researched: Energy Savers, Household Electricity Report, Energy Vampires .

Shared on Frugal Friday


- Sarah :-) said...

Depending on wher eyou live, a lot of times the Energy companies offer alternatives that you don't even have to pay for. For us - BGE offers, for free, a programmable thermostat that is installed with NO fees whatsoever, and will even insulate your attic for you for free as well... we LOVE it and it's definitely helped with our costs!

Anonymous said...

Dear Author !
Bravo, brilliant idea