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Frugal Family: Saving Energy and Money

Turn Out the Lights!

After losing power for one day after Hurricane Irene (we were one of the lucky ones) it made me realize how much our lives depend on electricity; keeping our food cold or frozen, running the water, flushing the toilets and giving us light to see. Although the kids thought it was fun to not have electricity during the storm and light every single candle we owned along with eating all the melting ice cream. But for times when the power is on, which luckily is the majority of time, here are some helpful tips to lower your electric bill.

Shut the lights off when you leave the room, and are not coming back right away. This one was drilled into my head as a kid and I need to drill it into my kids’ heads!

Make the switch to energy-efficient compact florescent light bulbs which use 75 percent less energy and last 10 times as long as regular incandescent light bulbs. Even the Federal Government is phasing out the old incandescent lights that will not meet the new energy efficiency standards.

Turn off the ceiling fan when you leave the room. A fan that runs all the time costs up to $7 per month. Although, running the ceiling fan is cheaper than leaving the A/C on, saving up to $438 a year.

Get a programmable thermostat to lower your energy costs by up to 10 percent when you’re not at home – it will increase the temperature to warmer in the summer and cooler in the winter, and will adjust accordingly when you get home.

Sleep your computer after 15 minutes of not using it. Also unplug equipment that you are no longer using, since it still uses some electricity when the power is turned off.

Make use of the daylight hours and open all of your blinds during the day, and not use lights. This will also heat up your home during the winter.

Dry clothes on a line outside or drying rack instead of using the dryer. I always do this for my delicate clothing. Clean your dryer filter after each use, and run full loads in your washer and dryer. Wash in cold water versus hot or warm to save money. Turn your hot water heater down to 120 degrees.

Cook several food dishes in the oven at the same time, and don’t waste the heat waiting for the oven to preheat – just put the food in right away on the higher racks so you get cooking right away.

Buy a meter ($27 at www.newegg.com or www.amozon.com) that measures how many watts a device is using; you’ll then see how much each appliance is using over the course of the day. From this you can decide to replace any energy “hogs."

These are just a few ideas that I use or culled from the Internet. Just type in “saving energy” and dozens pop up. Remember, if we all do our part to save those kilowatts, we save the environment and money to boot!

Sources: www.thinkquest.org and http://michaelbluejay.com/electricity  

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