Home Energy Savings For Energy Watchers: August 2007 Archive

Tip: Use Compact Fluorescent Bulbs

The simplest, easiest, cheapest, and most effective way you can save money on your lighting bill is to change out your incandescent light bulbs for compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). CFLs do cost about five times more than incandescents — however, they last 10 times as long, use 1/4 of the electricity, and provide the same amount of light.

Tip: Unplug Everything When You Go On Vacation

When you go on vacation, turn off and unplug everything you can. (We typically leave the refrigerator plugged in — although one year we ate all of the food in the frig and unplugged it, too.)

This tip prevents stand-by power from draining your wallet and also protects you against power surges while you're away.

Tip: Air Dry Your Dishes

Air dry dishes instead of using your dishwasher's heated drying cycle. This doesn't have to be complicated — just open the dishwasher door and let the dishes sit for a couple of hours. (Be sure not to bang your shin into the open dishwasher door — that hurts!)

Tip: Let Your Dishwasher Do the Hard Work

According to scientists who are paid to study such things, washing a load of dishes in the dishwasher uses 30% less hot water than washing those same dishes by hand, so let your dishwasher do the cleanup work. Also, the hot water you use rinsing dishes is wasted because the dishwasher is fully capable of cleaning the dishes whether you do that or not. You do have to scrape off the big chunks, however.

July 2007 Utility Bill

For no apparent reason that I can see, our cost per therm for natural gas doubled last month, from $1.58 to $3.36. Did we have another hurricane and I missed it? I guess I should be glad we only used four therms — I still don't understand how we managed to use 32 therms of natural gass last month.

Electricity and water usage are about on track, so last month's utility bill was a fairly normal $293.

July 2007 Data

Electricity, in kWh Cost / Unit Gas, in Therms Cost / Unit Water, in CCF Cost / Unit
1,982 $.103 4 $3.36 54 $1.43

Tip: Avoid Stop-and-Go Traffic

If you have to drive to work at the office, try to schedule your travel times before or after rush hour. (Or maybe you could ask your boss if you can work from home?)