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Checklist on Saving Electricity
Here's some more ideas on cutting your electric bill, resulting in 100's of dollars a year in savings.
Dishwasher: Only run the dishwasher when it's full. Don't rinse by hand; scrape. Most dishwashers don't need a pre-rinse, and if they do, use the rinse cycle on the dishwasher; it uses less hot water. Set the washer to cool-dry; it saves a lot of power and your plastic items won't melt.
Washer: Try to wash only full loads; if you must do a partial load, adjust the water level. Use the coolest water that will do the job. Use a lower-sudsing detergent; excess foam makes the washer work harder. Use a shorter cycle for items like towels or sheets that are lightly soiled. Most important, when you replace your washer, get a front loader; it can save very significant amounts in water, electricity and detergent costs.
Dryer: Be sure the spin cycle of your washer is functioning properly. Make sure the dryer vent isn't clogged with lint. Clean your lint filter if needed before each session. If you must use softener sheets, wash your lint filter weekly with a brush, to remove waxy build-up which can cause the dryer to run longer. If your dryer has an auto sensor function, use it to conserve energy by not over-drying your clothes. Drying on a clothesline saves a LOT of electricity. If this isn't a practical option, at least hang to dry those heavy items such as rugs or thick overalls. Don't run the dryer longer to dry one to two heavy items that didn't get dry; hang them up!
Chargers: As more and more items become portable, it's important to realize that these chargers must be kept unplugged. They use power even when not in use.
Freezer: Keep your freezer as full as possible. Not necessarily with food - if you have a lot of space, fill milk or juice bottles 3/4 or more full, cap and place in the freezer. In addition to using less power to maintain its cool, during power outages your freezer will stay cold longer (especially important in hurricane-prone areas!). Use the frozen bottles in picnic coolers instead of messy, expensive bags of ice. Keep the freezer defrosted; every time ice and frost builds up, bite the bullet, store your food in picnic chests or blanket-covered boxes, and thaw out the freezer, dry it well, turn back on and refill.
Cooktop: Use the microwave for small amounts. Steam veggies instead of boiling in a quantity of water; it uses less energy and saves nutrition. Use small burners for small pans. Cover pans and simmer; long hard boiling doesn't accomplish anything except using electricity. Use an extractor in warm weather to keep heat and humidity from running up your air conditioning bill. Try a crockpot for long, slow cooking.
Oven: For smaller amounts, a microwave or toaster oven uses much less power. Try to schedule oven baking so you can make more than one dish. Preheat when necessary, as for cakes, bread and short-cooking items, but some foods that take long slow cooking don't need much or any preheating. Use a timer to end baking promptly; also a meat thermometer to cook sufficiently and safely, but no longer than needed. With some foods, you can even turn the oven off a little ahead of time. If you use the self cleaning feature, try to use it immediately after baking while the oven is still hot.
Roofs: Especially in warmer climates, consider the color of your roof. When putting on a new roof, a light colored one can save bundles in air conditioning costs, regardless of your insulation. On existing asphalt, tar or gravel roofs, consider a roof coating such as Somay.
On Call: Many appliances such as TVs, DVD's, computer systems, microwaves, newer air conditioners and more, are always "on", waiting for a signal. Consider putting small items such as televisions and microwaves on a power strip so you can keep them turned off between uses. Note that you may lose programming or the clock time on some items if you do this. Use a surge protector on computer systems, and turn everything off when done.
Replacement: When you need to replace an electric item, check the Energy Star rating. Buying an efficient appliance can save hundreds of dollars during its lifetime. When an older appliance breaks down, think twice before calling the repairman. You may be throwing money down the drain, as newer appliances are almost always cost less to run and have interesting new features.
Some of these hints are expensive, but many cost little or nothing. With a little effort, anyone can reduce their electric bill and save hundreds or several thousand dollars a year.