Save money on your electric bill, reduce energy waste to save the planet

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Ten inexpensive ways to save money on your electric bill
3 years ago
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For a few months of the year electric bills are as extreme as the temperatures outside. The rest of the year an electric bill is simply painful to open. If you are like most people, you want to save money on your electric bill, reduce energy waste to save the planet, and feel comfortable at the same time. However, making major investments in your home to save energy costs may not be feasible for you right now. Can you still save money on your electric bill? Certainly. Follow the tips below to cut your energy bill with little to no investment.

1. Adjust your climate, not the thermostat
-Keep your thermostat set to 78 degrees Fahrenheit in summer and 68 degrees Fahrenheit in winter.
-During cold weather, set the thermostat to 65 degree Fahrenheit at night when everyone is tucked into bed.
-If you feel a little chilly, wear a sweater. In summer wear cool, breathable fabrics.
-If you are going to use only one room in the house for several hours, modify the climate in that room only.
-Install a ceiling fan in your bedroom to stay cool at night, or use a ceramic heater in your office to keep warm while you work.
-Close off the vents to rooms you seldom use.
-In winter bump down the thermostat a few degrees before hosting a large group of people in your home. All of that body heat will warm up the house quickly.

2. Use humidifiers
Our bodies feel colder in dry air, and warmer in humid air. Cold temperatures in winter are notoriously dry. Bumping up the thermostat not only increases your electricity bill, it also decreases the humidity level. You may feel warm, but your skin feels dry, your hair and clothing have static, and you are more susceptible to germs that love dry conditions. A humidifier will answer all of these issues with less impact on your energy bills.

3. Insulate!
-One way to check for air leaks is to hold a candle on a cold day next to windows, doors, electrical outlets, light fixtures, and mail chutes. If the candle flickers from a draft, you have an air leak.
-Use weather stripping or caulking to seal leaks. You can also pull off the molding and pack more insulation around the window or door frame.
-Look for gaps or cracks on the exterior walls of your house, and use caulking to seal them.
-Attic access panels should have insulation over them as well.
-Use a water heater insulation kit if the water heater is located in the basement or garage.

4. Regulate opening doors
-When using items from a freezer or refrigerator, know what needs to be taken out and get it all at once. Every time the door is opened, the internal temperature goes up 10 to 20 degrees.
-Use the oven window to check the progress of your meal in progress. Opening the door makes the temperature drop about 50 to 100 degrees.
-Do not leave entryway doors open, especially in extreme temperatures, including attached garage doors.

5. Use less resistant heat
Examples of resistant heat are ovens, stoves, water heaters, irons, hair dryers, toasters, electric skillets, or any other electrical device designed to warm something up. All of these devices are notorious energy drainers. Use the following tips to use them less.
-Schedule your laundry to take the load out immediately after a cycle in the clothes dryer, eliminating the need for fluffing or ironing to get rid of wrinkles.
-When you bake, plan to fill your oven with more than one dish to make full use of the energy.
-Water heating accounts for about 15-25 percent of your energy bill, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Using cold or warm water, instead of hot water, is often better for your clothing and skin. Short showers require less water than baths. Repair water leaks as soon as possible; a leak can waste gallons of water very quickly, and if the leak is from a hot water pipe you lose two forms of energy.

6. Harness natural sources of energy
While not everyone can take advantage of environmentally-conscious systems such as solar panels or windmills, you can capture nature?s free sources of energy, or use what you already have to fight the elements.
-In the cold winter weather, open draperies and blinds to allow the sun to warm your home. At night close draperies to trap cold air out.
-In hot weather draw the drapes or close the blinds on the south and west facing windows.

7. Don?t spend money on energy you do not use
-When leaving the house for work, or for a weekend trip, turn the heat down to a minimum and the A/C up to a maximum.
-Turn off the water heater when gone for a weekend or more.
-Set the thermostat on the water heater to 120 degrees F. Your household may be able to tolerate a setting of 115 degrees F.

8. Maintain your appliances
-Change the filter on your central air system and furnace as required by the manufacturer to help them run more efficiently. Service both systems once a year.
-Vacuum the condenser coils behind the refrigerator every few months, and do not let frost build up in a freezer more than a quarter of an inch.
-Replace loose or sagging gaskets around the refrigerator or freezer door.
-Drain about a gallon of water from your water heater twice a year to get rid of sediment (and be sure to follow the manufacturer?s instructions for your water heater).

9. Search and turn off small energy drainers
In some cases leaving something on is worth the extra energy, like leaving a radio playing for security reasons when you are away from home. However, you probably have one or two electronics in your home that you leave running all the time, whether anyone is using them or not.
-When you are not using them, turn off computers, printers, scanners, DSL/Cable modems, USB hubs, televisions, DVD and VHS players, stereos, nightlights,
-If you must leave your computer on while you are not using it, set it to switch to sleep mode after a certain period of time.

10. Prevent leakage currents.

Microwaves, battery chargers, and other plug-ins drain energy from the outlet, even when these devices are not turned on. Rather than unplugging each device when you are finished using them, control the current by using a power strip with an on/off switch. Use them for your computer equipment and stereo systems. Flipping off the switch when you are not using electronics will prevent leakage currents. Large appliances should always be plugged directly into the wall in an outlet that can handle the unit.

Most electric companies give you a comparison of how much energy you used from month to month and year to year. If you use most of these tips in your home, you should see a difference in your electric bill in the next few months, and certainly within a year.
By E. E. Kane
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