Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Tip-- Lower energy costs

Yesterday was my day to begin covering windows with that clear shrink plastic.  So instead of posting my usual cleaning tip, I thought I would repost an oldie but goodie... tips to help lower your energy costs.

I think I've posted this one almost every year I've kept this particular journal.  However, this information is worth repeating.

1.  Reduce Air Leaks
You can save at least 10 percent on your energy bill by simply reducing air leaks in your home. Air can seep through door and window frames, electrical outlets, and water and furnace flues. The question is, how can you find these invisible leaks? The U.S. Department of Energy recommends this trick: Light a stick of incense next to common sources of air leaks. (Make sure it's a windy day.) If the smoke travels horizontally, you have a leak. You can seal the leak with caulking or weather stripping. Another inexpensive option that will trap air and save energy is a clear film window kit.

Be sure to check for air leaks around electrical outlets and light switches.  You might be surprised by the drafts making their way into your home through these places.

2.  Save Heating Costs in Unused Rooms
Shut out winter by simply closing the unused doors in your house and shutting the vents in unusedrooms, so that you limit the amount of space that requires heating.

3.  Put a Lid on Energy Loss
Your attic is to your house as your head is to your body — a significant amount of heat escapes through it. Having the proper amount of insulation in your attic is crucial in cold-weather months. If there is less than 6 to 7 inches of insulation, then you probably need more, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

4.  Enjoy the Sun Indoors
Even during winter months, the sun is still shining. Take advantage of the natural warmth of the sun's rays by leaving the curtains open or shades up during the day. Trap some of that heat and enjoy the natural sunlight indoors.

5.  Turn Down the Heat
If the heat is on but nobody's home, it's a waste of energy. Reducing the temperaturefrom 72 to 56 degrees for eight hours a day, while you're at work or even while you sleep, can help you save up to 10 percent on your heating bill, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. You can even invest in a programmable thermostat that automatically lowers and raises the temperature for you during programmed hours. These can be found at local home improvement stores with prices ranging from approximately $35 to $100.

6.  Warm Thyself
If you're not one to turn the thermostat up past 65 degrees in winter — or maybe your spouse isn't — there are certainly plenty of ways to keep warm besides traditional heat:

Indulge in flannel pajamas and sheets. They'll trap heat better than summer cotton.

Warm your blanket before sleeping by wrapping it around a hot water bottle or thowing it in the dryer for a few minutes.

Place a hot water bottle beneath your pillow. By the time you go to bed, the pillow will be warmed for you.

 Exercise is not only great for shedding that winter weight, but it also increases blood flow and releases your natural body heat.

I remember my mom used to hang a sheet between in the doorway, between the small room where the front door was located and the living room.  That helped keep the drafts, from the opening of the front door, from making their way into the house.

We have a back door and hallway.  I used to hang a sheet up in the hallway to help cut down on the drafts.  You could really feel the difference in the temperature on either side of that sheet.  This past year we put a bi-fold door up in that hallway which really helped alot and looks much nicer than the sheet.

Lighting

  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. On average, they use 66% less energy.  (Even if you just replace your six most used lights, you will save money)
  • Keep bulbs clean. Dust can cut light output by as much as 25%.

We began using those compact fluorescent bulbs this past year and we were amazed by the difference it made in our electric bill.  We also put our water heater on a timer and lowered the temperature setting, it's electric (you can't put atimer on a gas water heater).  So it comes on in the early morning then goes off after a few hours, and comes back on in the evening for Rylies bathtime.  There really is no need to be heating all that water all day long.

After doing these two things to save money our electric bill went down by about $100.  Yeah, Toledo Edison is one of the highest electric companies around.  I think we were paying almost $240 a month for electric and we are now down to about $130 a month.

Appliances

  • Don't let a preheated oven sit empty for longer than necessary. And don't open the door to check on food. You lose 25% of the heat each time you do so.
  • Use a microwave oven instead of a regular oven. You'll burn about 40% less energy.
  • Keep the inside of your microwave clean. It will cook your food more efficiently.
  • Use the smallest pans possible. It takes energy to heat them.
  • Use lids, which help food cook faster by keeping steam inside.
  • Use glass or ceramic pans in ovens. They heat faster than metal pans.

Washing Machine and Dryer

  • Wash and dry full loads. And don't over-dry clothes.
  • Keep the dryer's lint filter clean.
  • Wash laundry in cold water, unless you have very dirty loads.
  • Don't add wet items when a drying cycle already has been started.

Dishwasher

  • Wash only full loads. It costs exactly the same to wash one dish as a whole load.
  • Use the air-dry feature.
  • If washing dishes by hand, rinse them in groups rather than one at a time. Don't leave water running.

Refrigerator

  • Check temperatures by putting one thermometer in a glass of water in the center of the fridge and another between packages in the freezer. You're losing money if temperatures are below 37-40 degrees Fahrenheit for the main compartment and 0-5 degrees in the freezer.
  • Cover and wrap food. Uncovered food and liquids release moisture and drive up electricity costs.
  • Let hot food cool before putting it in the fridge. This way the fridge will use less energy to cool it down.
  • A full freezer runs more efficiently than an empty one. If necessary, fill up the space with plastic containers filled with water.
  • Unplug a second fridge that's not being used. That move can save about $130 a year.

Water Heater

  • Lower your temperature to 120 degrees and you'll cut your water-heating costs by 10% to 15%. But if you have an older-model dishwasher that doesn't have a booster heater (a device that heats up the water to the temperature the dishwasher needs to clean the dishes), you need to leave the water heater set to 140 degrees to make sure bacteria on dishes are removed.
  • Insulate your storage water-heater tank. You'll save 4% to 9% on water-heating costs.
  • Drain the sediment from the bottom of the water-heater tank every one to three years.
  • Install low-flow shower heads and faucets, which use one-third to half less water. That can cut your water use and water-heating costs by an average 15% to 30%.
  • Take showers. They use less hot water than baths.

For more tips you should check out the tips provided online by the Department of Energy.  They have a wide variety of tips posted on their web site.

Have a great day & hugs to all my friends!
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2 comments:

batticdoor said...

How To Reduce Your Heating Bills This Winter

Imagine leaving a window open all winter long -- the heat loss, cold drafts and wasted energy! If your home has a folding attic stair, a whole house fan or AC Return, a fireplace or a clothes dryer, that may be just what is occurring in your home every day.

These often overlooked sources of heat loss and air leakage can cause heat to pour out and the cold outside air to rush in - costing you higher heating bills.
But what can you do about the four largest “holes” in your home?

When attic stairs are installed, a large hole (approximately 10 square feet) is created in your ceiling. The ceiling and insulation that were there have to be removed, leaving only a thin, unsealed, sheet of plywood.

An easy, low-cost solution to this problem is to add an attic stair cover. An attic stair cover provides an air seal, reducing the air leaks. Add the desired amount of insulation over the cover to restore the insulation removed from the ceiling.

Much like attic stairs above, when whole house fans are installed, a large hole (up to 16 square feet or larger) is created in your ceiling. The ceiling and insulation that were there have to be removed, leaving only leaky ceiling shutter between the house and the outdoors. An easy, low-cost solution to this problem is to add a whole house fan cover.

Approximately 100 million homes in North America are constructed with wood or gas burning fireplaces. Unfortunately fireplaces are energy losers.

An easy, low-cost solution to this problem is to add a fireplace draftstopper. Available from Battic Door, a company known for their energy conservation products, a fireplace draftstopper is an inflatable pillow that seals the damper, eliminating any air leaks. The pillow is removed whenever the fireplace is used, then reinserted after.

For more information on Battic Door’s energy conservation solutions and products, visit www.batticdoor.co

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