Great Ways to Save Money On Electricity
Whether you live in an apartment, house, mobile home, or condo, there are several things that you can do to save money on electricity. Not every step will apply to everybody as we all have different living situations. Some have gas for heating for example. This guide is intended to be used as a "general" but not "literal" for your particular situation. This is a practical guide to live reasonably without too much discomfort or inconvenience. You could take more drastic measures if needed.
1. The simplest way to begin saving power is switching to CFL (compact fluorescent) light bulbs in EVERY room including bathroom vanities. Often they can save you $3-5 a month on every fixture that is commonly used for several hours a day (Just add them up). In our home this was 7 fixtures. It worked out for us to be a savings of $28 a month. This is especially important for outdoor lighting. Use CFL flood lights. They are incredibly bright and use a fraction of the power. LED lighting is more of a "budding" source for home lighting and still pretty expensive & somewhat "odd" looking. The savings are not worth the price difference at this time.
2. Get rid of your electric "tank" style water heater. This will instantly save money on your electric bill to the tune of $40-$50 a month. Tank style water heaters constantly draw power to keep all the water in the tank warm at all times, even when hot water is not being used. Get a tank less water heater that only consumes power when hot water is turned on. The switch is activated by the hot water flow to turn the unit on. They are also much smaller (the size of a common 1970's style lunch box) and will free up square footage in your home that would have otherwise held a hot water heater. I use a Titan SCR2 unit in my home. Use water saving shower heads with this as well. Colder climates or people with LARGE families may want to consider the Titan SCR4. Both of these units have simple temperature adjust knobs for when the ambient temperature of the water coming in to your home varies from winter to summer.
3. Central air conditioning is a tremendous waste of money. You will want to "spot cool" your home by using highly efficient energy star air conditioning units. Both portable air conditioners and window units are fine for this application. These units will allow you to target cool a room and remain comfortable, while not having to turn on a monstrous central A/C unit. There is only a slight amount of discomfort when you first walk into the room. Close the door behind you and turn the A/C on. This is especially effective at night time when bedroom doors can be shut. Consider that living rooms can be easily spot cooled by portable A/C or window units during the day when they are being used, and never really need it at night. Rooms such as bathrooms or large closets never need to be cooled.
4. Heating is much simpler for you to save money on than A/C. For most winter days in the south, you can spot heat rooms with space heaters. A simple space heater at 600w can keep a bedroom nice and warm. Electric blankets are great too if the nights are not very cold. The only element that you must watch for are during times of hard freezes. Keep your central heat on at 60F. If you have gas heat, compare using space heaters vs. your central gas heater. You may be very surprised to learn that spot heating may be much cheaper than using gas or propane.
Common sense dictates to wear warm clothes and socks.
5. The next major energy waster in your home is your clothing dryer. Many people find a solution to this simply by line drying clothes. This is fine if it is your cup of tea, but I'm a big baby and want my clothes to be a bit softer. To avoid having stiff clothes, only line dry bathroom towels and use your dryer for clothing. Towels are designed to hold water, and often take the most power to dry. The towels may be stiffer or "more scratchy", but it's only a towel that gets used quickly versus clothing which is worn all day. Consider purchasing a "spin dryer" or "spinner". These devices spin clothes at nearly 3500 rpm, rather than a common top load washer at 600rpm. This means they take an immense amount of water out of your laundry. Many say their laundry comes out "barely damp" and just simply iron and/or hang their garments up. This can also dramatically decrease line drying times and line drying is not so "stiff" this way. The point here is to avoid the heating element in your dryer that uses a massive amount of power. Also if we are using A/C or heat, a dryer actually pulls air from your home and spits it out of your dryer vent thus causing your air conditioner or heater to work harder.
6. Plug ALL electronic devices such as televisions, DVD players, computers & monitors, adapters etc. into power strips. Most of these things have power draws even when turned off. Turn off the switch of the power strip every single time you are done using the electronic device. If you want to save money on electricity, you want to unplug all power leeches.
7. Be sure that all of your appliances & most electronics are energy star. Electric dryers are never energy star, but your refrigerator, dishwasher, clothes washer, TV's, computers, laptops, DVD players... Energy Star devices are important because they simply use less power for the same task.
8. If you have an older home, be sure there is adequate insulation in your attic. This will also help you while spot cooling & heating.
9. Use solar pull down shades on your windows. They help insulate your rooms in the heat of the summer. If it's bright and sunny in the winter, open up the shades to allow a greenhouse effect in your rooms. Be sure that you use the sun to save money on electricity by using or repelling the natural heat and greenhouse effect.
10. In the summer cook with solar ovens. They work excellent for any crock pot types of foods & also cook baked goods wonderfully. Since they are outside, they will not heat up your home. In the winter, it's great to use your indoor oven as it will provide residual heat in your kitchen. Using these steps will save money on your electric bill and you'll be helping save the environment.
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