electric bill

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      To keep electric bills low, these are some of the tips we have used

      for the last nineteen years.

      Install ceiling fans!!!

       (unless you are in a rental- then just use room fans) choose fans

      with the SWITCH that reverses fan blade direction to take advantage

      of the scientific fact that heat rises, and cold sinks (whether it is

      in liquids, solids, or gasses). In the summer, just having the air

      movement feels cooler, so set the fans at their highest speed

      setting. If you have air conditioning, set the switch so that the

      blades pull the air up from the ground and into the fan. Because

      cold air sinks, this will draw the cooler air conditioned air up and

      mix it with the warmer upper air, making the entire room feel

      cooler. Fans on high speed in every large room can make the house

      feel as much as 5 to 10 degrees cooler, so you can set the thermostat

      5 degrees higher and still enjoy more comfort, with less electricity

      being used on air conditioning. The ceiling fans use much less

      electricity than either a heat pump or air conditioner

       In the winter, set fans at lower speed, and switch the fan blade

      direction so that the warm air (heat rises, cold sinks) that collects

      at the ceiling is pushed down to where you are, so you don’t have to

      turn the thermostat up as high. If you use a wood stove or wood

      stove insert in a fireplace, ceiling fans or room fans can be used to

      push the warm air throughout the house.

      Heavy insulated curtains or shutters-

       These can make a HUGE difference in your electric bill as well as

      your comfort level in the house. Keep them closed during the hottest

      part of the days in the summertime, and on cold days unless the

      windows let sunshine in to warm the house. The first time I put

      these up, I was shocked that the cold breezes that always seemed to

      blow across the floors finally stopped, and I was comfortable for the

      first time in the winter. I did not have air conditioning back then

      either, so they made a HUGE difference in keeping the indoor

      temperature cool in the summer also!

      Switch to energy efficient light bulbs-

       Compact fluorescent bulbs fit standard size light bulb sockets and

      provide more light for a fraction of the energy expended and can be

      purchased in various light colors. (make sure to read directions-

      some cannot be used in enclosed light fixtures.)

      Clean or replace your furnace or air conditioner filter every 30

      days!

       A plugged filter makes the furnace or a/c work harder and longer,

      as well as causes extra wear and tear that causes them to break down

      sooner.

      Unplug appliances when they are not in use!

       When the US was suffering from power shortages a few years ago,

      Idaho Power Company sent all subscribers a newsletter that explained

      that all appliances that are plugged in use a small amount of power

      even when they are not turned on, and recommended that they all be

      unplugged when not in use.

       Use smaller televisions, and turn them off when not in use. The

      bigger they are, the more power they use, and they heat up

      contributing to the need for the air conditioner to run more.

       Do not run the clothes dryer too long, and choose the temperature

      most appropriate for the fabrics of the clothing you are drying.

      Example: perma-press and synthetic fiber clothing need a lower

      temperature setting to appear their best. Even cotton t-shirts look

      less wrinkly when dried on a lower temperature. If you hang them up,

      you do not need them to be comletely dry, and they will look much

      smoother and neater if hung up when they are approximatley 95% dry.

       Get rid of the extra freezer or refrigerator if possible unless it

      is an energy efficient appliance. I found that as much as $25.00 a

      month in power can be drawn by these extra appliances. If you need

      to keep the extra fridge or freezer to keep your food budget down,

      remember to keep the freezer full. A full freezer retains its’

      coolness better with less energy. Even if you have to freeze milk

      jugs of water that are only ¾ full to allow for the expansion of the

      ice, it saves electricity.

      Summertime-

       To save the most money, of course you can do without air

      conditioning. Having a shady porch or screened porch can be a great

      way to escape the heat, as can deciduous shade trees which shade the

      house in the summer when they have leaves, but when they drop their

      leaves in the winter allow sunshine to warm the house. There are,

      however, many people with health problems who MUST use air

      conditioning if they want to remain alive, so – remember that many

      elderly or people with chronic health problems waves die every year

      during heat. If you fit into those categories, please do NOT stop

      using your air conditioning. For everyone else, during the daytime,

      never turn the Air Conditioning thermostat to lower than 75 degrees

      if you can help it. Only if it is physically impossible to sleep at

      75 degrees, experiment with turning the temperature down one degree a

      night below 75 until you are able to sleep well enough to work the

      next day. Obviously the higher you keep the thermostat set, the less

      money you will spend on electricity for air conditioning.

       If you live in a dry climate, install a swamp cooler which adds

      moisture to the air, cooling it down. If you live in a moist

      climate, install a dehumidifier

       Wear lighter weight clothing to sleep in, and remember that cotton

      sheets that breathe, or woven satin sheets feel cooler than flannel

      sheets and blankets in summer. The same holds true for comfortable

      sleepwear in hot weather.

       Cook dinner in the microwave instead of heating up the house with

      the big oven. Some countertop microwave/convection ovens can be

      purchased relatively inexpensively and are not only a quicker way to

      cook, but save energy, as well as not heating the house as much on

      hot days, so the A/C doesn’t have to run as much. I found a

      Tupperware Stack Cooker for $5.00 at a garage sale, and it is a great

      way to cook 3 things all at once.

       When boiling water or pasts, put a lid on the pot. It holds the

      heat in so it gets hotter faster, with less energy because the heat

      cannot escape, so it builds inside the pan quicker.

       Turn hot water heater down 10 degrees if at all possible (if you

      use a lot of hot water, this may not be okay. Also check your

      dishwasher manual to make sure it will still be able to function

      properly with cooler water. Some dishwashers heat their own water,

      others need hot water from the hot water heater.)

       Hang laundry out to dry if you have time and a place you can do

      it. If you live in a subdivision with a Homeowner’s Association and

      have rules or even city laws against hanging laundry outside, use a

      folding rack inside the house to let the clothes dry. As moisture

      evaporates out of the clothes, it can also help cool the air a

      little, just like a humidifier.

       Schedule your baking so that you only have to heat the oven once-

      if you are making muffins and cookies, fix them one right after

      another, so you don’t have to heat the oven up twice.

      Wintertime-

       Keep the thermostat set for 65 daytime and if you like it colder at

      night, set it for 60 (or what actually works for you).

       You can always wear flannel or sweat-type fabric pajamas, and/or

      use more blankets at night, and wear a sweater during the day to

      remain comfortable indoors.

       Hot chocolate and warm soups and stews also make your body

      temperature stay up, so you can actually ENJOY these foods and

      beverages without having to strip down to summer clothing after you

      eat!

       Dress in layers so that you can adjust your clothing throughout the

      day depending on your activity level, since more activity leads to

      higher body temperature.

       If using wood-burning fireplace or stove or stove insert to heat

      home, clean your chimney EVERY year to avoid house fires, or use CSL

      logs to dry out chimney-fire causing creosote and tar buildup. (the

      ad just ran on tv as I was posting regarding wood-burning home

      heating, so I was actually able to remember what it was called!)

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