HOW ELSE CAN I SAVE ENERGY USE AND REDUCE MY ELECTRIC BILLS?
Solar water heating systems save electricity - and money!. How about trying to save energy and electric costs on other energy usages around the home. Let's look at some of these ways.
Although lighting does not account for the most electricity used in a home, less lighting also decreases heat build up in the house.
- Turn off the lights when they are not needed.
- Use "Watt miser" incandescent bulbs and those of lower wattage when possible.
- Use fluorescent lamps instead of regular incandescent bulbs, particularly for kitchen lighting.
- Use 25 or 40 watt bulbs for lamps which are not used for reading or working.
Refrigerators and freezers use a lot of electrical energy. Anything done to reduce the electricity use by these appliances will save on electric bills. Here are some suggestions:
- If you have a second refrigerator or freezer that is hardly used, turn it off; a second refrigerator costs $15 a month to operate.
- When buying a new refrigerator, buy an energy efficient model
- Set the refrigerator to 40 F and the freezer to 5 F. Use a thermometer to set the temperatures. (Keep in mind that it takes 12 hours for the temperature to stabilize after setting.)
- Let warm food return to room temperature before putting it in the refrigerator or freezer.
- Make sure there is enough room behind and under the refrigerator to allow hot air from the compressor and coils to escape and circulate.
- Keep the refrigerator condenser coils that are behind or under the refrigerator clean.
- Try not to open the refrigerator or freezer doors too long or too often.
- If your refrigerator has a power miser switch, keep it in the off position unless water condenses around the door seals.
- Use tight-fitting covers on pots and pans to shorten cooking time.
- Thaw frozen foods before cooking them.
- Match the pan size to the burner element size.
- If available, use microwave or toaster ovens for cooking or warming leftovers. They can save up to 30% of the energy required to cook or reheat food in a regular oven.
- User the regular oven as little as possible in the summer.
- Every time you look inside a working oven, the temperature drops 25 F. Try not to look too often!
- If your dishwasher has one, use the no-heat, air-dry feature on your dishwasher. With older dishwashers, open and air-dry after the final rinse.
- If your dishwasher has a booster heater, turn down the hot water thermostat to 120 F.
- Use the power miser and water miser cycle if available.
- Run the dishwasher only when you have a full load.
- Use cold water for most clothes and rinsing.
- Use hot water only for stains or diapers.
- Use the short wash cycle for lightly soiled garments.
- Wash full loads. If washing small loads, adjust the water level.
- Since you no have a solar water heating system, why not also use a solar clothes dryer. Your outdoor clothesline!
- Avoid over drying if you have a regular dryer. It wastes energy and wrinkles clothes.
- Dry several loads one after the other. The dryer will already be warm and use less energy.
- Separate loads into light and heavy fabrics for shortest drying times.
- Dry only full loads.
- Make sure the dryer is vented to the outside.
- Clean the lint filter after each load.
COOLING DURING HOT WEATHER (WITHOUT AIR CONDITIONING)
- Open windows as wide as possible.
- Use ceiling fans to increase breezes and comfort.
- Minimize cooking and the use of lights and appliances.
- Shade windows exposed to sun.
- Eat outside of the hot kitchen.
- Plant shade trees near windows and on east, southeast, west and southwest faces of the house. This will create shade from the hot summer sun.
- Keep the humidity low by reducing the amount of cooking that is done and using the bathroom exhaust fans when showering.
- Make sure the clothes dryer is vented to the outside.
EFFICIENT AIR CONDITIONING
- If buying a new air conditioner, select a model with a SEER number greater than 11.0 for central units and greater than 9.0 for window units.
- Check your duct air distribution system for air leaks. Repair leaks with mastic sealant.
- Set the thermostat no lower than 78 F. Try 80 F or 81 F while using ceiling fans in occupied rooms. Each degree lower you set the temperature, AC use goes up by 12%!
- Change the filter regularly.
- Turn off the air conditioner when you will be away from your house for an hour or more.
- Use room air conditioners for one or two occupied rooms in place of a central air conditioning system.
- Do not use ceiling fans with the air conditioner unless you set the air conditioner thermostat higher than you would otherwise.
- Because ceiling fans use electricity, run them only in rooms that are occupied.
- Add weather stripping to doors if you see daylight around the doors.
- Make sure all windows are properly sealed.
- Fireplaces should have tight-fitting dampers that can be closed.
- Do not close off air flow from room air vents unless they are in an unoccupied room.
- Set your thermostat to AUTO. The FAN ON setting will increase energy use as well as interior humidity.
- Check the air conditioner air handler and clean the coils and drain lines.
- Install awnings to shade windows that are in direct summer sun, or draw light-colored drapes across sunlit windows.
- Keep doors to unconditioned rooms closed.
- Add insulation above your ceiling if you don't have any insulation there.
- Set the thermostat lower at bedtime and add more covers.
- Don't heat unoccupied rooms.
- Turn down the thermostat when you are away.
- Replace furnace filters and have your system serviced periodically.
- On cold, sunny winter days, open drapes on south-facing windows to help heat the interior.
- Wear more clothing on cold days.
Above all, think of what you are doing when you are using electricity and use common sense to see if there is a way that you could reduce electrical usage and save yourself some money.