Once again, the economy has been to blame for the rising cost of energy and heating. Here are some of my personal tips and tricks to help people save money this winter, and year round.
1. Turn off your computers, DVD players, and other appliances when not in use. Some people may not realize just how much energy these minor appliances use until they’re not using them anymore.
2. You may not think about that clock on the microwave or coffee pot, but those use energy too, even when you’re not using the appliance. If you don’t mind having to reset the clock on them, and you don’t use these appliances all the time, unplug them until you do need them.
3. When doing laundry, wash in cold water whenever possible. When drying laundry, put fewer items in the dryer if using the dryer is absolutely necessary and they will take less time to dry. If at all possible, line dry your clothes outdoors. It is more work but most people need the exercise anyway and sunlight is free. The money you save will buy your detergent, clothespins and fabric softener for years to come.
4. This may sound weird but make some of your appliances do double duty. When I lived in a different house, we had a gas heating stove as the source of heat for the house. In the winter time, when the stove was in operation, we used the stove top for the heating stove as a cook stove too! Why use electricity on the one in the kitchen when we had a hot enough source of heat to cook a pot of beans in the dining room? Unconventional, but it works. This house has a wood stove and we do the same thing here instead of using the microwave, hot plate, or electric skillet.
5. If you have gas or propane heaters or furnaces, have the gas leading to the appliance shut off in the hot months when they are no longer needed. If you get cold, put on a sweater or light jacket. You would be surprised how much energy one little pilot light can use.
6. Look for sources of leaks around windows, baseboards, floors, doors, etc. and seal them accordingly.
7. This may sound like I’m whipping a dead horse here but try to keep your thermostat set at about 70*, and don’t leave every light in the house on all the time. If you must use a light, put in those lower wattage spiral fluorescent bulbs that last seven years on average. They may cost more initially, but they save energy and you’re not running to the store to purchase light bulbs once a week.
8. Set your hot water heater thermostat to about 120*.
9. Your rechargeable appliance chargers use energy when not in use and leaving them plugged into the appliance when it’s fully charged can ruin the appliance’s battery and shorten the battery’s life. Disconnect both the appliance and the charger when you’re done charging that iPod, phone, or laptop computer.
10. Insulate your doors, windows, and home wherever possible.
11. Find curtains and drapes that allow natural light to filter into the home but are backed with a material that will also insulate and hold in the heat or cooling.
12. It is not necessary to run a humidifier 24/7, but if you need higher humidity in your home, place a pan of water on top of your heating stove….and make sure it does not boil dry. If you are a green thumb, furnish your home with plenty of house plants. They will filter the air. Just make sure you keep any that could be harmful to small children or pets out of their reach.