Tips Series: Energy Saving TipsBy Contributor • Aug 14th, 2011 • Category: Savings
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Article by Anna Stone
The average American family spends over ,600 per year on home utility bills. Energy has been “cheap” for a long time, and we haven’t given energy efficiency the attention it deserves.
But with fuel prices rising, and the value of the dollar decreasing, its about time to start looking at ways to reduce our spending by becoming more energy efficient.
There is one piece of good news: there are actually many easy ways to cut your energy usage, without having to make unwanted sacrifices.
By making some small changes you will be able to reduce your energy consumption by abut 25 percent, and thus reduce your energy bill.
Easy Energy Saving Tips
* Set your thermostat comfortably low in the winter and comfortably high in the summer. Install a programmable thermostat that is compatible with your heating and cooling system.
* Use compact fluorescent light bulbs to light your home. They use a lot less energy than incandescent light bulbs.
* Air dry dishes instead of using your dishwasher’s drying cycle. The dishes will dry just as well, and you will save energy.
* Turn off your computer and its monitor when they aren’t being used. If you feel you need to keep your computer on when you aren’t using it, at least switch off the monitor. It will keep wasting energy even when in standby.
* Plug home electronics, such as TVs and DVD players, into power strips. When you are not using the equipment turn the power strips off. Equipment in standby mode still consumes energy.
* Lower the thermostat on your hot water heater to 120? F. While saving energy, you also reduce the risk of scalding.
* Instead of baths, take short showers. This will save both water and energy needed to heat water, unless you are a fan of cold baths.
* Wash only full loads of dishes and laundry. Washing a half-load will still use a full load’s worth of water and energy.
* Drive sensibly. Aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration and braking) wastes gasoline.
* Keep your car in good working order. Change its filters regularly, and ensure the engine is running smoothly. A vehicle which is maintained properly will consume less fuel.
* Look for the ENERGY STAR(R) label on home appliances and other devices. Energy Star products meet strict efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy.
Heating and Cooling Energy Saving Tips
The following are some easy-to-follow tips on heating and cooling your home, which can save you money:
* Clean or replace filters on furnaces, ventilation and air-conditioning systems once a month or as needed.
* Keep warm-air registers, baseboard heaters, and radiators clean. It will increase their effectiveness. Also make sure they’re not blocked by furniture, carpeting, or drapes. This will prevent the heat from spreading into the room, which forces your heating system to work much harder than needed. Though this might sound like a simple point, drapes or curtains over hanging your heating system will trap the heat behind your curtains and leave the room barely heated.
* Hot-water radiators will accumulate air inside them, which reduces their effectiveness. Its therefore important to bleed them (let the air out) once or twice per season. This is a very simple procedure, but if you are in doubt about how to do this, call a professional.
* Install heat-resistant radiator reflectors between exterior walls and radiators. This will reduce heat loss and increase the speed that a room is heated.
* After you finish cooking or bathing, turn kitchen, bath, and other exhaust fans off within twenty minutes. Exhaust fans remove air, and thus hot air, from your home. So leaving an exhaust fan running when it isn’t needed will force you to keep your heating going in order to replace the lost “warm air.”
* During the cold seasons, keep the draperies and shades on your southfacing windows open during the day. This will allow sunlight to enter, and will help to heat your home. Close draperies and curtains at night, as this will act as an insulation layer, keeping the cold out.
* During the warm seasons, keep the window coverings closed to prevent the sun from heating your home.
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