... for Saving Electricity
Index to more 10 Commandments
- Turn off regular
light bulbs when not in use; it not only saves electricity, but also can
reduce your air conditioning bills. Leave fluorescent lights on if
you'll be coming back to the area in the next hour or so. They cost
very little to operate, and each time you turn them on and off, it wears the
switch, the ballast or starter, as well as the bulb itself. Consider
replacing incandescent light bulbs with long-life fluorescent bulbs that
screw right into the socket - they put out less heat, use less power and
last much longer.
- If you use
nightlights inside, use ones with solar detectors; this way they will turn
themselves off when as soon as it's light enough to see. If you
have outside lights for security, change them for ones that have motion
detectors and only come on when someone moves in the area. We have a
dog trained to go out and turn ours on before we go outside, to avoid falls
or stepping in something disgusting.
- Start washloads of
clothes or dishes only when the appliance is full; partial loads waste money
and water. Use warm water to wash, cold water to rinse. Set to delicate cycle for heavier rugs and blankets and
never over-load the washer - otherwise you prevent proper cleaning and
washing, wear out the washer sooner, and use more electricity. Change
the lint filter frequently in your clothes dryer, and
clean the vents
from time to time. Lint buildup is not only a fire hazard, but also wastes
power and wears out your clothes sooner. Consider air drying heavy
items on a clothesline. Air dry brassieres, nylon underwear and
spandex items to lengthen their life and save the elastic.
- When you have to
purchase an appliance, get the one with the highest energy rating and the
longest guarantee that you can afford. You'll make it up in the life
of the appliance as well as energy saved.
- If your water heater
is in a dry place, purchase an insulating blanket to keep water hot longer.
Insulate your hot water pipes throughout the home. Hardware stores
sell a foam tubing that's split on one side; just open it up and slide over
the pipe. Remember those under the sink and lavatory, and any other place
you can reach. Turn your water heater to the lowest setting that gives
you enough hot water for your purposes.
- Clean or change your
air conditioner filters often. Have the air conditioner washed or
serviced regularly, too. Same goes for furnaces; have them serviced
each year. Close the vents in rooms that are normally not in use.
If your home is empty part of the day, use a programmable thermostat that
will cool or heat a little while before the first person arrives home.
Install ceiling fans. The movement of the air will cool enough that the air
conditioner can be set warmer. Close curtains or blinds during the
hottest part of the day, especially on the sunny side of the home.
Consider heat- and sun-blocking film.
- If your home isn't
well insulated, have it done now. The cost of blowing in insulation is
surprisingly low, considering the savings, not only on the heating and
cooling bill, but on paint, flooring, etc. which will grow less mold and
mildew. Weatherstrip doors and windows.
- Turn off all fans,
TV's, radios and other appliances before leaving home. It's surprising
how many people leave things on for no good reason, especially youngsters.
Not only will this save electricity, it will lengthen the life of the
appliance, plus reduce a fire hazard.
- If your cooktop is
electric, learn to cook at a lower heat. It's healthier, and saves a lot of
electricity. Water will only reach the boiling point, usually 220
degrees, and once it's boiling, keeping it on high heat is a total waste.
In addition, this will add to the burden on an air conditioner,
dehumidifiers and filters. Frying at high heat is unhealthy, both when
the foods are eaten, and for your lungs when you breathe in vaporized fats.
- If your power goes
out, turn off everything you can remember that was on, or unplug them,
except for a light or two. First, surges can occur when the
electricity is restored, damaging your appliances. Second, the sudden
draw as everything tries to start at once is costly, as it uses more
electricity than turning them on one by one. Third, a drop in power
when everything tries to start can also damage appliances.
Print this page out, call
a family meeting and make it a project. Ask for further suggestions or
plans. Get everyone involved.
Keep a chart of electric use, compared with the
same month last year. Remember that the COST of kilowatt will go up
anyway, it's the kilowatts you need to record, to track real progress.
You may ask: Do I
know what I'm talking about? I have been fortunate to be able to
usually buy VERY well built appliances, researched as for reliability and rated
for high energy savings. I have a Sears all-house contract that they don't
even provide new anymore so I can keep them running. I recently had to
replace a 38-year-old gas dryer. My dishwasher is about 16 years old, has a
garbage disposal and heats its own water, saving the rinsing and hot water loss
in the pipes. My washer is going on for 19 years, and has an induction
motor, saving repairs and electricity. I still have one wall air
conditioner that is 24 years old and cools efficiently. I just had
to replace a 50-year-old cooktop. We insulated every wall and
ceiling some years ago, and the house is cooler in summer, warm in winter and
quiet all the time.