- This topic has 37 replies, 1 voice, and was last updated August 13, 2003 at 10:20 am by .
- August 13, 2003 at 10:20 am #250833
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
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
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.
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.
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
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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