The simplest, fastest, and most effective way to save on your power bill is to turn electronics off — and if it has a plug, consider un-plugging it as well. (First of all, you won't be so fast to turn it back on if you have to plug it back in first, and second, your gadget won't use any power while it is in standby mode.)
This tip applies equally well to the TV, DVD player, XBox, Playstation, Wii, computer, coffee maker, electric blanket, bathroom exhaust fan, or any other gadget that is typically left on after you're done with it.
Turn it off!
After cooking a Thanksgiving dinner, the odds are that your oven needs cleaning anyway, right? Since we are trying to save money (remember?), let's find a way to get the most for your money. Since you have everyone over for dinner and the oven is already hot, why not turn down the thermostat and set the oven to clean itself while everyone eats?
Tip: If the spills are too awful, cleaning the oven may generate some smoke or a bad smell. If you are worried about this, turn down your thermostat anyway — having lots of people over will generate heat up your home nicely — and run the self-cleaning cycle overnight after the guests leave.
(You may forget to turn the thermostat back up in the morning ... and that's OK too.)
Who here has scars on your wrist or arm because you burned it on the oven rack? (I do!) Always think ahead and rearrange the shelves in your oven before you turn it on. Arranging the shelves after the oven has been pre-heated lets a lot of the heat escape — and as a bonus you won't burn yourself while you're adjusting the oven racks.
Speaking of pre-heating the oven — don't! Modern ovens heat up much more quickly than older ovens, and need no more than five or at most ten minutes to heat up fully. Ovens use a lot of elelectricity and that extra ten minutes of pre-heating does you no good at all.
Once the oven gets hot — use it! Always try to plan your menu so that you can maximize the value you get from your energy consumption. If you can cook two casseroles at the same time, and freeze one for later, you spend the same amount heating the oven but get twice as much in return.
But only if you program it!
Too many people fail to take advantage of what their programmable thermostats can do for them. We have ours set to 65°F during the day and 60°F at night when we are snug in our beds with electric blankets — it is far cheaper to run an electric blanket or three than to heat the entire house overnight.
If your schedule dictates that your house will be empty during certain times or even days, you can set your programmable thermostat to turn off the heat until an hour before you return and then warm everything back up so your house is cozy when you walk in the door. Each hour your heat is turned off is money in your pocket.
But only if you program it!
October was rainy and cool but not cold in Atlanta. We used a little more natural gas because it was about 15% cooler than October, 2008. The big news is that we used about half as much electricity as we did this month last year, continuing the saving from September and hopefully establishing a welcome pattern.
Saving energy at home is really starting to pay off! Our savings from last October to this October is $50 — with the air conditioner turned off.
October 2009 Data
|Electricity, in kWh||Cost / Unit||Gas, in Therms||Cost / Unit||Water, in CCF||Cost / Unit||BTUs / Ft2|
It's winter, so it's time once again to change your car's motor oil! Do yourself a favor and get the expensive synthetic oil. It lasts longer and does wonderful things for your engine.
While you're at it, you should probably also have your tires rotated and get your air filter changed.
You will never change your life until you change something you do daily.- Mike Murdock