With the end of many states' electric rate freezes, the cost of electricity is rising at an alarming rate. Even if you're still protected under a frozen rate, it's not a bad idea to alter habits now. With a few simple changes each day, electric usage can be lowered throughout the year.
Your father told you, and your grandfather told him before that, but it's this simple - turn off the lights. When exiting a room, turn off the light. Leave one low watt bulb burning when you're not home for security, not the ceiling light. Don't forget the often ignored basement and garage lights which are left on for hours at a time while working outside. Make it a habit to turn the light off when leaving the room. When a bulb's off it's not burning energy. Contrary to the old wives tale, it does not cost more energy to turn on a bulb than to leave it burning.
Light pollution is a growing problem across the world, and decorative lights are a large part of that problem. Security measures are important, but does the entire front facade of your home need to be illuminated throughout the night? One or two walkway lights should provide enough safety. Look around at your routine lighting situation and decide what's unimportant and then flick those switches. Backyard spotlights need only to be turned on when someone is actually in the back yard. Other decorative lighting such as pond or pool lights can be saved for parties.
Similarly, reinvest in nightlights that are light-metered. It's only a watt of energy, but to leave a nightlight on during the day is wasting that watt. Allow them to turn on when needed, and leave them off otherwise.
Throughout the day, dozens of appliances spin that electric meter outside the home. Are we using all of these throughout the day? Timed coffee makers which keep the leftover pot warm for one or two hours after brewing are often left running after we've gone to work - turn them off before leaving. Likewise, baby monitors transmit throughout the day when no one is home or the baby is out of bed. Turn them on and off when needed. Are small, occasionally used items left on between uses? They all require electricity to keep the ready light lit between uses.
Do an entire property sweep with a notebook and pen in hand. Walk through each room of the house and really take the time to look around. Note items which are on and using electric. Then, move to the outside and do another sweep. Do a return sweep at another time of day to see if anything was missed. Then, with list in hand begin to highlight those items which can be shut off. In the long run you will notice a drop in your electric usage and a change in your electric habits.
About The Author: Kelly Ann Butterbaugh is a freelance writer who regularly contributes to a variety of magazines and has written a history book for middle readers. Visit her website for writing help, lesson plans, history fun, or work for hire at http://www.kellybutterbaugh.com
Here in our part of Oregon we have wonderfully cool nights and not-so-cool days. I leave windows open until about 8:00 A.M. then close them and close blinds, etc. My thermostat is set on 80 and the air hardly ever turns on because I run fans throughout the day. About 8:00 P.M. I open windows again and let the cool night air come in. We're hoping this keeps our bill down.
I bought several "power bars" to plug in things that stay "on stand-by" when they are shut off....my computer, monitor, and printers are plugged into one, my VCR, DVD player, and stereo system are plugged in to one, my toaster and coffee pot are plugged in to one...you get the idea...group like things together....when I'm not using them, I shut the power bar off....saves having to unplug everything, makes it easy to turn them back on, and saves all the energy they draw when on "standby"...which is what that little red light, that is on all the time, means....
The only problem I have with unplugging the VCR's is that you have to keep resetting the clock...and of course, if you have a program set, you have to have power for the VCR to record it. :-(
I replaced every bulb in my house with energy saving ones, and I didn't pay a fortune to do it. I checked ebay for them, and was amazed to pay only 200 dollars (including shipping) for around 50 bulbs (they were mostly flood and vanity bulbs) My electric bill used to be 300 dollars a month.. it's now 150! We also put light motion sensors in the bathrooms & kids bedrooms, since they're always leaving the lights on. This saves energy and teaches them to conserve for their future. The sensors are about 12-15 dollars each, but well worth the investment.
Well, this has turned into a personal challenge, but we live in Florida and we are not turning on our air conditioner either. Since the summer, we have only used it three days. We have ceiling fans and another portable fan that we use and for the most part it really hasn't been that bad. Now, August hasn't hit yet, but we are still trying. :)
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