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Simple Things We Can Do To Save Energy

Category Energy
Saving energy is not only good for the planet but can also save you money each month. With a couple of simple changes you could reduce your monthly energy bill. This is a guide about simple things we can do to save energy.
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By 10 found this helpful
July 6, 2010

  1. Educate yourself to understand your utility bills and each line item and charge included in your bill. Knowledge can save you money!

  2. Review your monthly bills carefully. Look for unexpected increases in your usage. This could signal a larger problem (water leak, decaying caulk around windows, etc)
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  3. Raise your thermostat 2 degrees in the summer and lower it 2 degrees in the winter. Wear a sweater when you're cold

  4. Take advantage of ON-DEMAND conservation if your utility companies offer it. Mine credits my bill $5 during the warmest months ($20 annually) by switching on and off my units with no adverse effect to my homes cooling

  5. UNPLUG anything plugged into an electrical outlet pulls current even when it is turned off. Unplug anything you can when it is not in use!

  6. Yes, your father was right! TURN OFF THE LIGHT when you leave a room. This goes for computers too.

  7. Pay your bill automatically via your checking account. You'll save the price of a stamp each month and never make a late payment. Plus, this is a free service

  8. Take advantage of energy audits if offered by your utility company. They'll suggest ways to reduce your energy consumption. They are generally free
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  9. Use high efficiency lighting by replacing your incandescent bulbs with CFL light bulbs

  10. Close blinds and curtains during the hottest part of the day to reduce super heating your home. This works well in the winter months to keep out the cold at night!

  11. When replacing appliances, purchase the most energy efficient you can afford.

  12. Showers use less water than baths

  13. Collect water in a container to water your plants while waiting for the water to heat up for your shower.

  14. Install low flow showerheads.

  15. Employ a timer when taking a shower to reduce the amount of water that goes down the drain.

  16. Reduce the water in your washing machine to match the size of the load. Wash only full loads. Wash in cold water whenever possible.

  17. When possible, allow clothes to air or line dry.

  18. Sign up for the budget plan, if your utility company offers it. The budget plans, bills you a set amount for a set period of time (usually 6 months) calculated from your previous utilization. This helps you avoid a nasty $400 bill when you least expect it. It's easier to budget your energy costs.
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These savings tips are not painful and will help your pocketbook while helping the environment.

By skibum1910 from Prospect, KY

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By 12 found this helpful
May 13, 2010

How I save energy in my home is really easy. I start with the fridge since it is one of the items in the home that uses the most energy. My Frugal LifeWhen I take a jug of milk out, I replace it with another filled with water. A full fridge will not run as much as one that is half full to nearly empty.

I use what hot water I plan for the day such as bathing and washing dishes and then I turn the breaker for the hot water heater off, after allowing the water to reheat. Since I have it wrapped in a blanket, it will stay hot for me to use the next day. On the third day, I turn the breaker back on to heat water again.

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One day a week, I do all of my basic cooking for the week. That keeps the oven and stove from being used each day. Plus, it cuts down on heat in the house during the summer. Reheating it only takes a minute using the microwave.

By Bren from Birmingham, AL

Do you have a frugal story to share with the ThriftyFun community? Submit your essay here: http://www.thriftyfun.com/post_myfrugallife.ldml

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By 4 found this helpful
November 18, 2008

I purchased white night lights that have an on/off switch from the dollar store, for all over our house. We find they put out plenty of light. For example in the bathroom, the light is fine to use the bathroom, brush our teeth, get dressed, etc. We then switch them off and use the brighter lights as necessary for combing hair, applying makeup, etc. Another example is in larger rooms, someone reading may use a brighter light to read by, and you could use a night light on the other side of the room where someone is watching TV or just relaxing.

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By 4 found this helpful
November 14, 2010

If you seldom use your computer's peripherals, save money by plugging those devices into a separate plug-strip that you can switch 'on and off'. Even if you have your devices turned off, those little transformers are still drawing watts if plugged in. A separate plug strip (for those peripherals) turned 'off' will save you some money not a tremendous amount, but still savings. Just switch it on when you need to use one of the items.

By cajun62234 from Collinsville

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Kelly Ann Butterbaugh2 found this helpful
April 30, 2012

Sometimes it's okay not to listen to your mother. You can wear white any time of the year and leaving your air conditioner running when you're not home doesn't save money. Mom doesn't always have it right. Many of the old myths about home savings had some original validity, but in today's homes the myths are just wasting your money. Mom's two favorite adages focus on heating and cooling.

Myth #1: It takes more energy to reheat/cool a house than to keep it warm/cool all day.

Mom's wrong on this one. In fact, Mom's been wrong for a long time. In 1978 L. W. Nelson and J. W. MacArthur wrote a research paper entitled "Energy Savings through Thermostat Setbacks." The paper concluded that the average home in the average climate saved 1% of its energy for every Fahrenheit degree that it lowered its heat for eight consecutive hours. People have been lowering their thermostats for more than three decades and savings hundreds of dollars as they do it, despite what Mom says.

If you have a programmable thermostat, then you know the feeling of sudden warmth when the heat "kicks on" in the morning after being lowered all evening. It feels as if the furnace is working double duty to heat the room, therefore, it must be using more fuel. This sensory logic is faulty. As the thermostat allowed the house to cool at night it did so gradually, and your body adapted to the cooler temperature. Upon reheating, it demanded a quick warming of the room which resulted in a sudden burst of heat that your body wasn't prepared for, causing a faulty belief that the temperature is higher.

The same applies to air conditioning. Air conditioners exchange warm air for cool air on a continuing basis. How long does it take for the room to warm when the air turns off? By running the air conditioning while you're away you're keeping an empty room comfortable. However, when returning to a hot home people don't feel as if they've cooled down as they wait for the gradual exchange of the air in the room. Instead of waiting for the room to cool again, they'd rather pay extra cooling costs to keep the empty room cold and to walk into a refreshing climate the moment they arrive at home.

Myth #2: Washing your clothes in hot water keeps them germ and stain free.

There's some merit to Mom's advice here. Hot water eliminates bacteria and can loosen dirt and stains. Clothes dryers, stain boosters, and bleach do the same for less. If your goal is to eliminate germs, hot water isn't the superhero of disinfectants. It works for most germs, as do the high heat settings of the clothes dryer that you're probably going to use anyway. The best way to eliminate bacteria is to add an antibacterial agent to the wash or to use liquid bleach in your white loads. Both of these cost less than the energy needed to heat hot water or to run a dryer at its highest temperature.

If stain removal is the goal, then hot water will do a better job on a soiled load than warm water. However, regain the cost of the hot water by rinsing the load in cold water. The rinse cycle temperature has nothing to do with the cleaning ability of clothes. If only a few items are stained, try applying a stain removal product to the affected area and wash in warm water instead. There's no savings if the load is broken into a smaller heavily stained load that is washed in hot water and a smaller lightly stained load that is washed in warm; you're using more water and electric to complete both loads than one hot water load. Also, when choosing your water temperature, keep in mind that water cools as it reaches the washer. The hot water that you paid to heat in your hot water heater will be somewhere between hot and warm when it reaches your clothes.

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January 14, 20052 found this helpful

I save on utility bills by air-drying virtually ALL of my laundry. In good weather, I use my backyard clothesline (my environmentally friendly solar-powered dryer).

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Kelly Ann Butterbaugh0 found this helpful
July 14, 2008

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.

Simple Tips to Save Electricity

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November 14, 20010 found this helpful

Here are some simple ideas for saving energy, from gasoline to electricity. Do you have some ideas that are not mentioned in this list. Please add them, below.

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By 0 found this helpful
September 21, 2006

Energy Saving Window Covers. To save on high gas bills, I replaced the curtains on the Northwest side of my home with black 3 mil paper. The paper absorbs the heat from the sun and prevents the leaking of warm air inside to the outside. . .

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By 3 found this helpful
October 12, 2011

Video game consoles use a lot of energy, and they waste a lot of energy when not being used. You will save 75% of that energy, if you turn them off when they're not being used.

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August 25, 20080 found this helpful

Even though fuel prices have dropped a bit, I still save as much as I can. I live in a hilly area. Whenever I can, I put my car in neutral and coast. I seem to be saving a few gallons every mont, it adds up!

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By 1 found this helpful
April 11, 2013

Saving money from your electrical bills by simply unplugging your appliances or turning off your surgers, especially if you have a digital TV. Turning off your surger that the digital TV is plugged into will save your TV life too.

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By 0 found this helpful
April 18, 2007

I just read this on "Earth Easy", great tips:

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November 24, 20050 found this helpful

To help keep gas and electricity bills down, slow down your water when you take a shower. For some reason we think we need it on all the way.

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September 23, 20050 found this helpful

In your office, while not using your equipment, keep these items turned off or in "sleep" mode, until ready to use and turn off immediately after each use.

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By 0 found this helpful
May 28, 2008

The best thing you can do to reduce your cooling costs and protect your HVAC system is change your filter monthly. A dirty filter increases the energy needed to cool air, and it can damage equipment. Make it a point to change the filter when the month changes.

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April 5, 20050 found this helpful

Turn off the TV, computer and Xbox and pull out the board games for entertainment at least 2 times a week. Not only saves electricity but creates memorable experiences.

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April 22, 20050 found this helpful

I got tired of finding unneeded lights on so we developed a penalty piggy bank for offenders in the family. Every time someone leaves a light on (that they no longer need,) and another family member notices, they have to put a nickel in the piggy bank (I have young children, you could use a dime, a quarter or whatever penalty you want.)

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February 21, 20020 found this helpful

Fluorescent tubes use as little as one fifth the energy of incandescent bulbs. This can add up to big energy savings over the course of a year.

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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
August 28, 2008

Keeping our electric bill down is continually a challenge. We have had over 30 days over 100 this year. I keep a folder to store any tips I find in magazines. While cleaning the folder out last week, I came across a great article I would like to share about high tech's hidden cost. This is average annual energy cost for each item.

These are just a select few of the items listed and the amount it costs to keep them plugged into your home outlet for a year. They noted electronic devices account for 10 to 15 percent of all electricity used in American homes. You can lower your energy consumption by plugging most of your electronics into a power strip and turning off when they're not in use. I found this article very helpful. I now turn my computer off when it is not in use. I also do not keep my cell phone charger plugged into the bathroom outlet when not charging my cell phone. I unplug my TV when we are not watching it. All of my appliances which do not have a clock, I unplug when not in use. All the little things can add up to wasted energy and higher utility bills.

Source: This article I clipped was in Real Simple Magazine the April 2008 issue.

By Bobbie from Rockwall, TX

Answers

August 28, 20080 found this helpful

This works with a lot of things.

BUT FOR THOSE OF YOU WITH TIVO OR DVR'S, don't do, or you'll be mighty upset when you miss your newest episode of Shear Genius, Big Brother or gasp, the morning news!

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August 28, 20080 found this helpful

Also unplug your toaster and stuff too. If you have the money try buying those energy saving bulbs. They are a bit more but you can save money on your light bill. I just wish they made them in yellow (bug lights) cause I have 3 in my house.

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September 3, 20080 found this helpful

Didn't realize we were burning electricity when these items are not in use. Thanks for the tips.

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September 8, 20080 found this helpful

I have replaced about 90% of my homes light bulbs with the more energy efficient ones.I could not believe the difference in my energy usage on my bill.It really makes a big difference.The new energy efficient bulbs are even brighter than the old ones,go figure.

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September 17, 20080 found this helpful

I put everything on Switched Power strips. when I am not using it I turn it off. Its called Vampire Gazdgets all those little wal warts consume just a wee bit of power even when they are not doing anything. combined it can add up.

Also CFL is a MUST DO. they are NOT expensive any longer. I only buy GE and Sylvania since they are two brands that stand behind there 5 year claim with a 5 year warranty :-) Sam;s club has an 8 pack of CFL's for $6.63

NOT bad. Personally I am already CFL both at home and at work.

At home I am going even further. I am about 50% LED now. all the bathrooms are LED. My bedroom and my sisters and brothers bedroom are LED.

I am working on the rest of the rooms. My big bathroom is light bright as DAY (almost blinding some say but I like it bright) total power consumption? 18watts 12 bulbs 1.5 watts each.

I got this 6 bulb vanity fixtures at stockblowout.com or something like that for $8 a pop free shipping (over $30) the bulbs I got at sams club $15 for a 3 pack. They consumer ZERO electricity as far as I am concerned. Seeing a how bathrooms are lit MAYBE 2 hours per day more likel it average to 1 hours per day over the whole year but lets use 2 hours. $1.78 a year in electricity.

My dads bathroom 5 bulbs 7.5 watts 75 cents a year. Theoretically at this usage level the bulbs should outlive the building. :-) and us :-)

Each of these bulbs put out around the equivalent of 35-40 watts of light as if from an incandescent bulb but only consume 1.5 watts of electricity. I love them and its a nice warm pure white light not that stinking blue light.

LED's are the future STAY away from the PAR spot light style LED bulbs I have never had one last they just use too much power and burn themselves up. (LED's do not like heat)

Within a year I should have my house 100% led and then all the lights running all at once should consume less than 200 watts of power TOTAL with every single bulb on. :-) thats gonna be fun. at that power level it suddenly becomes affordable to consume ZERO power for lights by moving to a small solar battery array (just for lights)

I Love LED;s :-)

for now go with CFL they are VERY cheap and save there cost in e savings very quickly. in a business environment a CFL pays for itself in less than 20 days of usage at 18 hours a day. at work we may 16.2 cent a KW so our math factor is .000162 (watts used times hours times days times that factor is how much it will cost us a month)

so we replaced a 75 watt bulb with a 13watt CFL. 18 hours a day usage for our business.

75watt $6.51 a month in electricity
13watt $1.14 a month in electricity
Savings in power $4.37 Cost of Bulb 89 cents.

pays for itself in less than 1 week JUST in electricity savings. we are so far getting LONGER than a year out of them (which is over there rated life span) Even if the bulb ONLY lasted 1 year they save us over $51 a year in electricity savings EACH.

At home it takes a little longer. average 4 hours a day equals $1.46 a month for the 75 watt and 26 cetns a month so the difference is $1.20 so in 3 weeks the bulb PAYS for itself in Electricity savings. Not freaking bad ehh? at $4 a pop it would take almost 4 months to break even but you can get good CFL's so cheap now its silly not to switch.

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September 17, 20080 found this helpful

Duh forgot to compare the LED bulbs :-) In the bathroom we replaced 8 123 watt CFL's 8*13watts is 104 watts or $12.29 in E per year. Previously we had 8 60watt bulbs in there or $56.76 per year in E (again 2 hours a day)

The led bulbs consume 18 watts (and I have it BRIGHTER than the CFL made it) so $2.12 per year. Saving over Incans is just shy of $55

Cost to install the LED bulbs? 12 bulbs $15 per 3 pack 4 packs that's $60 in bulbs. so they pay for themselves in just over a year and the will last DECADES easily. If they die before I die they were just incorrectly built :-) and that's in a bathroom at 2 hours a day usage! even faster in normal 4 hours day average rooms and even faster in say kitchens etc..

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September 29, 20090 found this helpful

Bobbie,

How much would you say you've saved in electric since unplugging?

Thanks!
Michelle

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