Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Saving on Utilities(Electric and Natural Gas) Room By Room
Closets and Pantries:
Keep the doors shut.
Close any heating vents in closets. There is no sense in heating any of these areas.
Make sure the lights are turned off when you are done using these areas. It drives me crazy to find a light on in a closet all day long.
Most closets don't need high wattage light bulbs. You only need enough light to pick out your clothes and shoes. 40W's is all we need in our closets.
I like a warm bathroom especially for taking showers and baths. Keep the doors shut to keep the heat in.
Unplug the electric toothbrush once your brush is fully charged. Mine only needs to be charged about once a month. Some have indicator lights showing you when they need recharging.
Do the same with any electric shavers. They don't need constant charging.
Take navy showers. The less hot water used; the lower your electricity bill.
I have 4 areas with lights in my master bath. There is a light over the shower, one over the tub, one in the toilet closet and 4 over the sinks and mirror area. I only turn on what I need at the time. There is no sense in lighting the entire bathroom if I only need to take a shower.
Install a timer switch on the bathroom vent fan. It's relatively easy and cheap to do. We just push a button for 15 minutes after a shower or bath. Fifteen minutes is adequate for getting all of the moisture out. Here's a link to what I am talking about: Bathroom Fan Timer . This way you don't turn the fan on and then an hour later realize that you didn't turn it off. This is important especially when you have the heat on. You want to waste as little heat as possible going out the vent.
If you need to replace your washer and dryer, seriously consider buying an HE washer and HE dryer. They are so energy efficient. When I do dry clothes, they dry in a much shorter period of time than my old washer and dryer. The washer also uses much less water so there is a savings on your water bill also. Granted the HE washers and dryers are much more expensive but hopefully you can work a great deal on one at the February appliance sales. We figured with the savings on our utility bills vs. the extra cost we paid that our break even point is 4 years. Hopefully they will last a whole lot longer than that.
Use the settings with the least amount of energy you need to get the job done.
Wash as many items as you can in cold water. I mostly use cold water wash and rinse. I never use a second rinse.
Hang dry your laundry as much as you can instead of using the dryer. I dry in the basement year round. It's easy to install a retractable clothesline.
Clean your lint filters after every load. Clean your vent tubing every 6 months or so. This will save on energy and the latter will prevent a fire.
When you do use your dryer, hang them right away when they are done. Turning the dryer on again to get the wrinkles out because you didn't get to them right away is a total waste of money.
And my favorite: Iron as little as possible! There was a day when I even ironed sheets. Since we retired, the iron isn't used very often.
A convection oven uses 25% less power than the regular oven.
Do as many items as possible in the microwave rather than the oven or stovetop. Microwaves take very little power.
I will use a small appliance whenever possible rather than my stove or oven.
In the summer when you have the air conditioning on, cook your food on an outside grill if you have one. I use my small appliances like the crockpot and electric roaster out on the patio to keep the house heat out of the house.
I have recessed lighting over all of my counter tops, two ceiling lights, and a 3 light chandelier over my sink and breakfast bar. I also have a light over my stove. I only use the minimal amount of lighting in the areas I am working in. I never have it all turned on at once while I am in the kitchen.
Unplug appliances that you are not using. They use what is called phantom energy while they are plugged in. The only appliance on my countertop that I keep plugged in all the time is the coffeepot because we use it so frequently. However the minute the coffee is done I turn it off. DH and I pour our coffee into insulated cups that are sealed and take up to 12 ounces of liquid. They have a button to open a sip area in the top. So the coffee stays warm for hours.
When you do use your stovetop, use the appropriate pot or pan for the item you are cooking on the proper heat setting for what you are cooking. Cover your pans to keep the heat in on things that cook for a long time.
When you use your oven, bake or roast more than one item so that you use the whole shelf. Make sure your foods cook at the same temperature. Might as well take advantage of all of that heat.
When replacing a refrigerator, compare not only the best consumer rating but look at the energy star rating to see what it will cost you to operate for a year. A lower cost will benefit you over the years.
Keep that refrigerator door open only as long as it takes you to grab an item. Organize your refrigerator so that you know where everything is and can quickly lay your hand on it. Opening your refrigerator and staring into it while deciding what you want to eat is a big energy waster. Organization in your freezers is also beneficial in these areas.
Make your extra freezers chest freezers. They are cheaper to operate because cold air falls. So when you open them, you don't lose as much of the cold air as you do when you open an upright. But you have to keep them organized into baskets or paper bags so that you can lay your hands on what you need quickly.
Move your food for the week from your extra freezer to your refrigerator freezer. That way you are only opening the extra freezer once. This is where a menu plan comes in handy so that you know what to take out.
If you have a computer in the kitchen like I do, either turn it off or put it on power save when you are not using it.
When you are replacing your dishwasher, look at the energy star rating also. Also when I purchased mine it was important for me to have a half load cycle since there are only two of us and it saves energy. Most times I wash on the regular cycle because the dishwasher is full. But I like the option of washing on the half load when there is something in there that I need right away.
When you are washing dishes or pots and pans in the sink, fill up a dishpan to wash and to rinse. Don't keep the hot water constantly running.
We like to sleep in a cooler bedroom so the heat is turned down to 60 while we are sleeping. We use an electric blanket to keep warm. We turn it on when we first go to bed and then turn it off after it heats up. This seems to keep us warm all night.
I have a 4 bulb chandelier in the master bedroom and three other lamps. I use the chandelier very rarely. We use a lamp in whatever area we need it in depending on what we are doing. if we are reading in the sitting area, that lamp goes on. If we are reading in bed, that one goes on. If I need light to get clothes out of dressers, I pick the lamp which is needed. If we watch TV when go to bed, only the TV is on.
The guest bedroom has two lamps and an alarm clock. When we have no company, the clock is unplugged. I actually close the heat vent in that room and close the door when no one is staying in it. I also use a cloth snake up against the crack at the bottom of the door to keep the cold air from coming out into the other areas. The energy saving shade is kept down on that window all of the time except when we have company.
We use a laser printer and a photo printer. At night, the laser printer is unplugged. The photo printer is always off when we are not using it. The computer is shut off or in power saving mode when it is not being used. While we sleep it is always turned off. We also have a chandelier and other lighting in that room. We use only the lighting necessary for the task.
Our shredder is always turned off except when we are using it.
We keep this room cold in the winter also. The door shut at all times. When you are exercising, you generate enough heat.
We keep the treadmill turned off and unplugged when it is not in use.
The TV only gets used in that room when we use the exercise equipment. It is unplugged otherwise.
The Morning Room and Great Room:
The TV is turned off when we are not sitting in front of it. We don't keep it on just for noise.
We have a chandelier in the morning room which is only turned on while we are eating.
We have two chandeliers and two table lamps in our great room. Each is used depending on what we are doing in each area of the room. When watching TV at night, we only have a table lamp on.
The chandelier and recessed lighting is only used when needed.
General Power saving:
Lights are only used at night and in the rooms that we are in.
Heat is kept at 60 while we sleep and 66-68 during the daytime.
Air conditioning is kept at 78 in the summer. We use ceiling fans to extend the time before we have to turn the air conditioning on. We also use them in the rooms we are in when the air conditioning is on so that we can keep the thermostat higher.
We have energy saving pleated shades installed on all windows except the morning room, office and exercise room. They have regular wooden blinds which we keep shut except when the sun is coming in in the winter or when we need light during the daytime. The shades are kept down in the winter except when the sun is on those windows or we need the light in a particular room we are working in.
This house is well insulated. DH keeps up with weather stripping leaks and caulking when necessary. We just installed electric outlet insulation in all of the outlets on outside walls.
Our lighting in the garage is on a sensor so it only turns on when we enter it and is timed to turn off shortly after. If we need light to do something in the garage, we can override the sensor by just turning the light switch on and off.
Our outside porch light and outside garage lights are on timers. They come on at dark at night and go off at 10:30PM.
When we decorate outside for Christmas we use LED lights and put them on timers.
We have fluorescent ceiling lights in all areas of the basement. My pantry down there is on a sensor so turns on when I come into it and turns off when I leave.
Lastly, we heat our hot water with a Rinnai tankless water heater. This has saved us hundreds of dollars over using a 30-40 gallon hot water tank. I would never go back to using a tank again.
Please feel free to leave a comment and share with all of us what you do to save money on your utility bills.