Saturday’s Saving Tips: Electricity

There is something about summer that makes me more aware of how much power we use.  Maybe because every time the air conditioning kicks on, I hear money flying out the window.  But when it’s 100 degrees outside you have no choice if you want it to be bearable in your house!

Here are ways I’ve used less electricity:

  •  Turn the lights off when we’re not using them.  This is common sense but something I used to not be as conscious about.  For example, our bedroom is off of the kitchen.  We have a two part master bath, the area with the vanity and closet and then a separate room with the toilet and shower.  So if I’m going to take a shower, I turn on the lights in every room I walk through – kitchen, bedroom, over the vanity and in the bathroom.  Well, for the duration of my shower, there is a 2ft fluorescent burning in the kitchen, three lightbulbs burning in the bedroom fixture and SIX over the vanity.  Not to mention the two lights in the bathroom.  Do I really need that many lights on while I’m in the shower???  NO!  But that didn’t occur to me until recently.So now, if I am just walking through the room to get to another one, I don’t turn the light on.  Also, porch/outside lights are the most forgotten about lights.  I’ll turn one on so Hubs can see when he gets home at night and the next day when I get home from work, it’ll still be on!  OOPS!  If you have kids, a great responsibility for them would be to check the switches to the outside lights before bed or before leaving the house in the morning.
  • Don’t use more light than you need.  If I’m using my laptop in the living room, I don’t need the overhead lights on.  I’m just fine with the lamp next too me.  It uses less wattage and doesn’t heat up the room like the overhead lights do (which saves on running the AC)
  • Evaluate your wattage.  I recently went through the house and decided that 75 watt bulbs were sufficient in the living room instead of 100s and 60 watts worked in the bedroom instead of the 75s.  This cut down on our wattage use as well as the amount of heat these wattages put out (again, saving on AC)
  • Use CFLs.  I do not particularly like CFLs for aesthetic reasons.  And most of our light fixtures are open glass.  So the light bulbs are seen.  Which is why I will never be fully CFL.  But I was able to get a few packs of CFL bulbs on clearance.  I replaced the bulbs in the stairwell light, the three rooms that have covered fixtures and a couple in the basement with the CFLs.  I feel that this contributed (and will continue to contribute) to our reduced bill.
  • Run your ceiling fans 24/7/365.  Ok, stay with me here.  In the summer, obviously they help.  They can make a room feel 3 degrees cooler than it actually is.  We only have two and I keep them running even when I’m at work because I can tell a difference when I get home and I don’t have to run to the thermostat and turn it down 3 degrees because it’s stifling in my house!  Now, in the winter, flip that little switch on your fan.  It reverses the blades (speaking from experience, DUST the blades before reversing them!).  Heat rises, so when you run your heat in the winter, you are spending a lot of money heating the ceiling.  Running your fans in reverse pushes the hot air down.  Keeping the room warm.  I was a skeptic but I’ve done it the last two winters and it works!
  • Adjust your thermostat.  During the winter, I learned to cope with the thermostat at 68 degrees (versus 70-72 in winters past).  If it meant I had to wear a long sleeved shirt in the house, I did it.  Running the ceiling fans in reverse helped too.  Now that it’s summer, I try to keep the air set at 74.  I will occasionally turn it down to 73 for an hour or so if we’ve been outside or just got home until we cool off.  But I really try to keep it on 74.  (versus keeping it at 68-70  in summers past).  Again, the ceiling fans run all the time and during the day, we turn on very few lights.  I feel that this has made the most difference in our electric bill.
  • Modify your cooking habits.  Use your slow cooker more – it uses less electricity and doesn’t heat up the house like the oven does.  Grill outside more too.  Add a few “cold supper” recipes to your menu.  Sub sandwiches, pasta salads, club salads, etc.
  • Run your dryer and dishwasher in the evenings.  The last thing you want to do when it’s 94 degrees outside is run your dryer or dishwasher.  This only creates more heat.
  • Adjust your dishwasher settings.  Some people don’t use heat dry.  I like my heat dry, but the “high temp rinse” really isn’t necessary.  It costs money to heat that water to “high temp”.
  • “Unplug” sometimes. Is the TV on when no one is watching it?  Does the computer always stay on?  These are little things that are using up electricity!

Do you have anymore tips?  I’d love to hear them!

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