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... for Saving Electricity

  1. 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, LED or other new bulbs that screw right into the socket - they put out less heat, use less power and last much longer.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.  
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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 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 a front loader, saving water and electricity. 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.

The Sneaky Kitchen
Fuller Brush & Stanley Home Products
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Web Site by Bess W. Metcalf   Copyrightę April 1999 - 201
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