I know a lot of this is pretty basic, but hey, some of it is stuff I picked up and maybe someone out there would like to know. Here are the utility saving methods I use around our house, we have effectively knocked down our utilities by about 30% from what they used to be in comparative months. Keep in mind that every little bit stacks up, don’t discount a minute savings, those all add up.
1. You refrigerator is a huge energy hog. If you have an old fridge in the basement for keeping the beer cold, chances are you could save a bunch of money by unplugging it and just putting a 6 pack at a time in your fridge in the kitchen. Since you are in the kitchen, open your fridge door and see how the temperature is… if you were like me, you kept it necessarily cold. Most fridges have dials you can adjust to be optimal. We used to keep it so cold the milk would sometimes ice up, this is definetly an indicator that its working too hard. The same thing with the freezer, your left overs don’t care if they are frozen at 5 below zero or 30 below zero so why make your freezer work so hard. Wasted energy.
2. Since you are reading this post on your PC, click start, settings, control panel and look for the power options icon, it should be the one that looks like a battery with a cord around it. Adjust your settings so the computer hibernates or sleeps when you aren’t using it. I still mean shut it down at night or when you are going out, but why have it sit idle for 3-4 hours at a time unused when it can hibernate and save you money. We have ours shut off the monitor after 10 mins of not being used so it doesn’t get annoying and it hibernates after 1 hour of not being used. I didn’t think much of it, but its amazing how often it shuts itself off. Wasted energy.
3. Seal your house and insulate. I cannot stress this enough. The majority of your utility probably comes from heating and cooling. Wether you have a new system or a 30 year old system it comes down to how well sealed and insulate your house is. Not only will you be more comfortable but your HVAC system will work less and save you money. We blew in cellulose insulation in our walls and ceiling last spring, not only did we feel a lot more comfortable, but the furnace didn’t run but about 1/4 as often. When we got our utility bills, they were about 25-30% less every month. I spent some time caulking all the windows, cracks and spots and helped even more.
4. In the summer time we like to BBQ outdoors and use our microwave when possible, this avoids heating up the house by using the stove and oven and making the a/c work harder. In the winter time, we load up the crock pot, use the stove and oven and feel free to cook and give off some extra heat.
5. Switch all of your bulbs over to compact florescents. This seriously saves money. Normally an incandescent at 60 watts, using a CF, only 13 watts, thats almost an 80% difference. CF’s have come down so much in price and are really affordable, plus they last darn near forever. We did our entire house, one room every now and then, not all at once. There is a difference. In the future there will be LED options available which will be even more efficient. I work in the LED business and have seen them. Go ahead and buy the CF’s, it will still be a decade before the LED replacements are made affordable and available enough.
6. Replace your night lites with LED photocell night lights. We used to have incandescent night lights around the house so we wouldn’t trip on baby gates, dogs, toys, etc. I replaced all 4 of them with LED photocell types that look about the same from wall mart. A 4 pack was about 5.XX dollars. The light is brighter and crisper, plus it shuts itself off in the day time. The best part, instead of the traditional nightlight using 4watts of power, the LED ones only use 0.3 watts. So all four used to use 16 watts, now only 1.2watts.
More to come, enjoy !