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What are you Doing to Save Energy (and Money) at Home?

3/31/2009 4:23:22 PM

Tags: energy, efficiency, home heating, electricity

These days, many people are trying to use less energy at home. Not only is saving energy good for the environment, it can save you a lot of money on your electric and heating bills. So what are you doing to save energy at home? Have you turned down your thermostat this winter? Installed compact-fluorescent light bulbs? Added insulation to your attic? Tell us what you’re trying and how well you think it works by posting a comment below.

Need inspiration? Here are a few articles with some simple ideas for saving energy: How to Make Your Home Energy Efficient, Easy Projects for Instant Energy Savings, and Bright Ideas for Home Lighting.



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Katherine Tyler
2/20/2011 1:46:46 PM
My husband and I purchased a timer for our hot water heater and installed it in a convenient location. After a few weeks of setting and re-setting the times, we found that we only need to run the hot water heater about 3 1/2 hours out of every 24! This has saved a lot of money and energy. My advice. Buy a good model with a switch to turn on the heat "on demand" or turn it off for vacations or "off use" times. Also, be sure to locate it someplace convenient. Putting it in a crawlspace or other remote location means going out of your way to reset it every time you lose electricity or want extra hot water.

cappie
4/12/2009 3:40:43 PM
It all started when a piece on my dishwasher broke, started hand washing them. Next month our utility bill was $10 less. Got rid of the dishwasher. Couldn't afford to go gas, swapped the glass-top stove for a no frills coil-eyed model...no electronics. Make toast and perk coffee on top of the stove. More drop in my utilities dispite all the canning I was doing. Hang my laundry on the closeline unless raining and no choice, cold wash only. My bill is consistanly about $50 less every month, despite a cost increase and a recent purchase of a small freezer. The freezer unfortunately is not an energy star, they don't seem to make smaller ones I can afford in energy star, but we have put it on a timer and cover the top with a blanket. Use mostly florescent bulbs. Got a wood cookstove to help with heating next year. Plan on doing some more small stuff, but that's it for now.

Haynes Weatherby
4/8/2009 7:46:28 AM
I have done several things that combined have cut my energy bill drastically and most important our home is more comfortable. 1. Installed a Power-Save 1200 device ($300) 2.Added spray on foam insultation to the attic rafters ($6000. 3. Changed out single pane windows to double pane vinyl ($3000). 4. Made a home-made solar water preheater tied to the gas water heater ($100) 5.Installed propane non-vented space heaters in the basement and run the fan on the heat pump to draw the warm basement air into the upper floors of house ($500) This was the best. We are warm and the other insulating actions hold the heat in the house. I believe that the home should be comfortable without having to go around bundled up or under a blanket in the house. Sure lets save energy, but why suffer just for the glory of a lower power bill. I am also experimenting with solar panels to ventilate the house with fans tied into the home ductwork. These fans run on small solar panels and golf cart batteries. In the winter they draw the warm air from the gas space heaters and in the summmer it draws the cool basement air into the upper floors without spending any money for electricity. I have more plans for this, but so far the system is very effecient

Rita J
4/7/2009 4:51:33 PM
I do laundry in cold water, except for sheets. Allergic to dust mites so I wash them in hot water. Dry on line summer outside winter, inside. I have a solar hot water heater that works very well. I have all my electric appliances on power bars. If I am not using them the bar is off. I have kept my consumption down. Heat the house with oil and wood. CFL bulbs in most lamps. What else can be done?

Astrid_2
4/6/2009 5:57:33 AM
I have planted deciduous trees and climbing roses (lose leaves in winter) on the west side of my home which cools the patios and house so that I don't have to use the air with the help of fans. Also built the house to catch the prevailing southern winds during the summer and added a lot more insulation than was required. Also, built a metal house so that it will probably not need repainting in my lifetime. I have on demand water heaters (they are super), dry wash outside and wash in cold water. I also built a shower outside (during the summer) so the water helps the plants plus I don't have to clean the bathrooms as much, especially after working out in the garden all day and being really dirty. I don't eat any animal products so I can wash my dishes with cold water and environmentally safe(r?) dishwashing liquid = they are squeeky clean because no lard or grease is involved when eating this way - plus the kitchen stays much cleaner! I heat with a wood burning stove and I cut the wood so that I get a good workout, too. It is exciting to find ways to save while helping our environment. My electric bill is mostly in the $30's per month in the winter and $80's during the hot months. I, too, have had the electric company come out repeatedly to find out how I might be "cheating." I keep telling them they need to use their energy to get this information out to others rather than to monitor me but they just ignore this suggestion. I have stopped using chemical fertilizers and use compost and manure instead. I eat year round from my garden. All of these things give me a great sense of freedom and satisfaction that this is helping a little to reduce another footprint on Mother Earth.

Ted_6
4/5/2009 3:12:50 PM
I bought an Electrical Monitor. It is called a T.E.D. This has helped define areas where savings can be made. For instance I have 5 aquariums and I had no idea how many time those heaters come on. What I ended up doing there was getting rigid foam insulation and putting it around the back, and ends of each tank. I saved me up to 2 kilowatts per night. I also bought a solar cover for my spa and that has been the biggest energy saver of all.

Ted_6
4/5/2009 3:12:01 PM
I bought an Electrical Monitor. It is called a T.E.D. This has helped define areas where savings can be made. For instance I have 5 aquariums and I had no idea how many time those heaters come on. What I ended up doing there was getting rigid foam insulation and putting it around the back, and ends of each tank. I saved me up to 2 kilowatts per night. I also bought a solar cover for my spa and that has been the biggest energy saver of all.

mona_1
4/5/2009 1:49:44 PM
I've been overweight for a long time. Recently I joined T.O.P.S., a weight loss support group. Through that group I've learned not to "diet" but to eat healthy. I've lost 30 pounds and I find out that not only has my grocery bill gone down but that there is far less "trash" in my kitchen trash can. I'm shopping in the produce section and dairy section, with little packaging instead of using processed foods with lots of packaging. Walking is my new treat, I walk as much as possible, drive only when I need to. I practice some of the other energy conservation ideas mentioned here but the thing I wanted to share was the Energy Generation that has happened - I have more personal energy and don't want to use "energy saving"(lazy)devices as much. It feels great and as a side benefit I believe I am also using less produced energy. Best of luck to everyone trying to do their part.

Pat Miketinac
4/4/2009 10:30:41 PM
By far my greatest savings have come from my 21 year old mortgage- free earth shelter, built with $10,000 in purchased materials and about 3300 hours of amateur labor including logging and sawing. Heating and cooling not required due to 72 degree ground temperature here in FL.

Becka Schexnayder
4/4/2009 6:19:54 PM
We don't have A/C nor a thermostat to turn up or down. Last winter it was too much as fuel was high not only to fuel your cars and trucks, but also to heat the house. This winter was different as far as paying for high fuel. One I stated with the compact-flluoresent light bubs, then bought a woodstove that use less wood then the fireplace. I never did have a dryer and alway hang my washing to dry. Wash every thing in cold water. I stop using the diswasher except to dry the dishes in. Then came the power strips that I plug all power using items. Last year the electric bill was up to $90 something. The power company, and propain company went up in price. As fuel came down the propain company lower their price but not the electric company. In fact they sent a letter that stated they will be going up even more to pay for a new coal burning plant. My electric bill now?? Was $41.00 but gone up a bit...to $46.00. Twice this year the power company sent someone out to check my meter. The first time they change it to a new meter, but my electric use is still low. As for the power strips...nothing is on until I use it and I turn it off after use. The only appliance that stays on power is the fridge-power star. As for the propain, the kitchen stove and water heater is on propain. I am working toward the goal of buying propain once a year. During the winter I used the woodstove to reheat leftovers. I cook large meal that can be reheated in the microwave during summer. I have made a sola cooker but need to find the right lid to fit my iron pan. Three years ago I had crochet a heavy blanket for my husband. Two years ago a friend gave me her left over and I crocheted a bright wrap for myself. In winter we wear two set of clothers. Due to digging in the garden, I drop down a size or two and my old jeans are loose. I wear a sweat pant under my old jeans for warmth, and a sweat top over a warm top. Also wear two pairs of sock. Do not drive except once a week. Ha

BRUCEENE
4/4/2009 11:11:59 AM
I went to wall mart and bought lots of hangers, and empty my washing machine directly on to the hangers. When dry they go directly into the closet ''works perfect'' It takes some time but time is is money, so you really save plus get excercise too boot !! I read alot, so I went to thrify store and bought a tiny low watt reading lite, and when I can get as much free lite from windows as possible. Summer use ceiling fans, but when it get too hot, I bought thoes small portable AC on wheels, they cool just one room perfectly. Got them on QVC. I KEEP MY HOME AT 68' NO MATTER.I live where it get -40 PLENTY !!! Sometimes if I just can not stand it, then I will bake things in numbers to be microed for next meals, like potatoes and chicken and meatloaf, make my own bread too.

Diedra Holley_2
4/3/2009 7:04:29 PM
I do a lot of things to save money in the house. I have all of my electronics that have a vampire effect on my electric bill by putting them on a power strip. My TV and all the accessories for it on one, my computer and all its accessories on another. When not in use, I flip the switch. I use the 'twisty' bulbs to lower energy usage, I have foregone the typical lawn mower for a older model that takes no gas, no oil, and no electricity, the ones with the blades in a cylinder that you push to make it cut. It is self sharpening so it's pretty nice. I compost all of my organic waste from the kitchen, I recycle everything the city will let me recycle and I use ceiling fans and open doors and windows when I can rather than using the AC when I can. The only things that stay plugged in now are my alarm clock, the fridge and my cable box for recording shows while I am gone at work. I am also growing a garden out back so I don't have to buy as much at the store. I have broccoli, tomatoes, strawberries, banana peppers, cayenne peppers, green beans, blueberries, white and green onions, chives, garlic, cucumbers, crookneck squash, Cantaloupe, okra and radishes this year. Other than going solar and wind for power, which I can't afford, I can't think of anything else to do. I tried seeing about a graywater system for use when flushing the toilets since that is most of the water bill, but found out that using graywater in this area is illegal. If you have any other ideas then I would be happy to hear them. Even my three year old can now tell you what goes in compost, what goes in recycle and what goes in the trash! I love it, but I want to do more. DD in Texas

Diedra Holley_2
4/3/2009 7:03:38 PM
I do a lot of things to save money in the house. I have all of my electronics that have a vampire effect on my electric bill by putting them on a power strip. My TV and all the accessories for it on one, my computer and all its accessories on another. When not in use, I flip the switch. I use the 'twisty' bulbs to lower energy usage, I have foregone the typical lawn mower for a older model that takes no gas, no oil, and no electricity, the ones with the blades in a cylinder that you push to make it cut. It is self sharpening so it's pretty nice. I compost all of my organic waste from the kitchen, I recycle everything the city will let me recycle and I use ceiling fans and open doors and windows when I can rather than using the AC when I can. The only things that stay plugged in now are my alarm clock, the fridge and my cable box for recording shows while I am gone at work. I am also growing a garden out back so I don't have to buy as much at the store. I have broccoli, tomatoes, strawberries, banana peppers, cayenne peppers, green beans, blueberries, white and green onions, chives, garlic, cucumbers, crookneck squash, Cantaloupe, okra and radishes this year. Other than going solar and wind for power, which I can't afford, I can't think of anything else to do. I tried seeing about a graywater system for use when flushing the toilets since that is most of the water bill, but found out that using graywater in this area is illegal. If you have any other ideas then I would be happy to hear them. Even my three year old can now tell you what goes in compost, what goes in recycle and what goes in the trash! I love it, but I want to do more.

B Knight
4/3/2009 6:23:34 PM
Lights - using CFL or LED Cooking - use microwave and toaster oven, rather than range and large oven Washing - wash everything in cold, and hang to dry Power vampires - electronics on power bars Fridge - replaced with Energy Star And here's a list of 16 "no cost" conservation ideas: http://greenterrafirma.com/wordpress/16-no-cost-ways-to-help-the-environment/ P.S. Documented country wide study of actual electrical use in 2007 has proven that switching to daylight saving time early has saved the USA 1.3 BILLION kwh of power. http://greenterrafirma.com/wordpress/daylight-saving-times-saves-you-money/

Criss Kraus
4/3/2009 1:44:54 PM
I have been a conservationist since the 60's. Being a lover of wildlife on top of this has had me looking for ways to reduce waste. Reducing waste led to reducing power usage or alternative power and reusing and recycling. With the changing of the social awareness, that this planet is our spaceship, these convictions have led to people in my position being called environmentalists or 'Greeners'. Whatever you call me, I am who I am - someone looking for the cheapest (while still having my TV, PC and CD's), easiest way to live with the least amount of money, time and effort into doing so. My advice would be to start simple and it will lead to other ways. Below is a list of items I have done over the years that have become second nature. As you get farther along the list you are moving thru time with some of the newer technological advancements. - Plan errands so the trip takes the least amount of mileage as possible. - Look for products with the least amount of packaging. This means a lot of my meat, poultry, sea food, fruits and vegetables are purchased from local vegetable stands and the butcher section rather than the pre-packaged sections of the supermarket. - By used instead of new where possible. You might even luck out and end up with a valuable collectible. - Try to purchase multi-functional appliances and furniture. The less clutter, the cheaper and easier it is to heat to cool your rooms. Also to someone as lazy as me, the cleaning is needed. Under bed dresser platform beds. Folding tables that can be a sofa or Huntsman table until unfolded and it stores the chairs to boot. Sofa beds, futon sofas with drawers. The drawers can hold the bedding. - Reduce clutter. Your heating/cooling systems are doing their job based on the CUBIC feet in a room. That includes cabinets, drawers, bookcases, hutches and closets. If you haven't used something in the last year or two and it is not a collectible

Wendy_24
4/3/2009 1:34:41 PM
Cold weather is our bigger issue rather than overheat in summer. I check my electric bill each month and compare it to last year same time to fulfill my status of where I am as to my goal of less kw usage each month. I use electrical appliances whenever possible during "watt watcher time frames so electric expense is MUCH less then: 1) Switched out all light bulbs (including motion sensor lights outside) to CFL. 2)Even though it had been on a thermocouple so it only turned on when low temp, I removed the water tank heater (for livestock)(huge impact on electrical bill!)and instead break ice formed every morning before heading to office and sometimes evenings. 3)Closing all window curtains at night to retain house heat is effective in winter and during day in summer to keep out heat (along with use of ceiling fans). 4)Turned down hot water heater so temperature of water used for shower doesn't need any cold water added (amazing difference) 5) "package" errands when driving into town so trips are not wasted and errands are done in a manner that eliminates driving from one end of town to the other back and forth for errands. They are done in a planned manner. 6) Turned down automatic thermostat resulting in wearing long sleeves and slippers at home and using down quilt when on couch. Also have put down quilts on bed along with flannel sheets to maintain warmth at night 6)air drying clothes whenever possible rather than using drier 7) Not using dry cycle on dishwasher (full loads only) 8)All electric small items (including cell phone chargers) are plugged into power strips that are turned off when I am not home or if appliances not in use. As a result no clock in the house is accurate so I have a battery clock that I depend on. 9) Typically I use cold water for clothes washing 10) When I am cooking a meal in oven I will prepare extra for other evenings for energy savings (mine and the oven!)

Clint_3
4/3/2009 1:32:43 PM
We covered our water bed with a memory foam pad and turned off the heater. Back feels better and sleeping better than ever! Bought a new refrigerator instead of repairing the old one. Added insulation to the water heater and hot lines. Hang drying some clothes and washing some in cold water.My electric bills are down about $30/mo.

J Foster
4/3/2009 1:22:18 PM
I have never had (never will have) dishwasher or clothes dryer. We have heated with wood for 33 years in Maine. More recently, when I cook something that takes a lot of energy (oven or a long time on the burner), I cook 2 or 3 meals worth, then reheat in the microwave. We also installed cellular shades - house is much warmer in winter and cooler in summer without that heat gain/loss through windows.

joseph russell
4/3/2009 1:13:22 PM
I'm saving energy each year by waiting a couple weeks both Spring and Fall before I change my clocks. The new time change happens too fast and wastes a lot of energy.

Todd_12
4/3/2009 12:31:18 PM
The thing I did that had the most impact was I installed reflective insulation in the attic. One day last summer it was 106 degrees outside and it didn't get above 84 degrees inside. We didn't need to turn on the AC that day. In fact, after stapling the insulation to the rafter bottoms, we turned on the AC only three times last summer for no more than 30 minutes each time.

Melissa_27
4/3/2009 10:45:07 AM
I swithced to CFLs, put up a clothes line, wash clothes in cold water, wash dishes by hand (as a side benefit this has actually helped the dishes NOT pile up in the sink, and the space that used to house the dishwasher now holds my recycling bins!), only use the heat and AC when absolutly neccessary, and use power strips for appliances that can be switched completely off when not in use. This has made a HUGE difference in my electric bill each month. I am saving an average of $75 every month. And the inital cost was less than that to replace the bulbs and buy the power strips a year ago. I haven't had to replace a bulb since. I am extremely pleased with my savings and in doing my small part for the enviornment.

Dan_26
4/3/2009 10:15:36 AM
After the energy audit of our home in late 2007 we started to collect suggestions from hundreds of individuals across North America on ways they use in their own households to reduce the consumption of non-renewable energy resources. To date we have collected more than 240 home energy conservation tips and provide this free here on our home blog to share with others: http://dailyhomerenotips.com/energy-conservation/ Of all these suggestions, more than 100 cost absolutely nothing to do and a further 75 cost next to nothing. And, most of the entire collection are simple and easy for any household to do. Of course, reducing electricity, home heating, home cooling and water heating energy consumption at home directly and immediately reduces it's utilty bills month after month after month ... in after tax dollars. Dan

Ben Haldeman_1
4/3/2009 9:43:26 AM
We use old aluminum pie plates as reflectors for our compact-fluorescent light bulbs in the basement and garage. The reflectors greatly increase the light from the bulb in the place where it is needed.

Shirley Billingsley
4/3/2009 9:33:52 AM
On conserving energy, i recently bought my land, and moved a travel trailer on it. We recently installed the shed, or at least we are still working on it, and have it sloped to one side, and adding another section that will have a down slope. These run offs will be used to collect rain water, which in turn can be used in my poultry houses and gardens. At night time, i use a control switch that turns off any un-used appliances such as the t.v., eliminating that extra bill on my lights.

George Works
4/3/2009 8:22:44 AM
We live on an island at 17 degrees N latitude with sunny weather. We installed a 3.5KW solar panel array on our barn and a 2.5KW array on our house. All our lamps are CFL, LED or fluorescent. We replaced the swimming pool pump with a high-efficiency DC motor model. Our hot water is from a solar water heater. We installed a high-efficiency front-loader washer, and we dry our laundry on a clothesline. In March we averaged 4KWH/day purchased from the grid but hope to break even by summer.

JohnieB
4/2/2009 6:49:27 PM
I've installed some of the compact fluorescent lights, and had more wood fires this past winter. I like the idea of the clothes drying on the line, and will set up a clothes line for this summer to do just that. We don't use an air conditioner in the summer, there are only a few days where it's too hot, and we just turn on the ceiling fans and bare it out. I have no plans on installing AC in the house...

Ralph Hall
4/2/2009 6:37:53 PM
I installed an Air Tap heat pump on an existing electric hot water heater in Nov 08. Saves 2/3 the electric for $650-1300 (depends on plumbing cost and current Air Tap price) vs. $7600 for solar. Installed radiant barrier material in garage attic and about 1/3 the attic of the house. Bought Energy Star front loading washing machine and drier. Contracted to replace our 14 year old 10.8 SEER 5 ton heat pump with a 19 SEER 4 ton unit, using new R-410a refrigerant. Cost for geothermal (not much higher SEER) was $26,000 vs. $10,500 ($1500 federal rebate and $1000 back from Carrier apply to this) Use programmable thermostats: 58 F in winter and 78 F in summer when we're in the rooms. Got a bit lower in winter and to 84 F in summer when we're out.

Gini
4/1/2009 2:31:32 PM
Like Jeanna, I also line dry my clothes to save money and energy. I've unplugged my dryer as well as all other electronic devices not in use. I'm washing clothes in cold water only and using the light china setting on my dishwasher. I put roll up blinds on the outside of my windows to keep the house cool in summer and use ceiling fans instead of A/C. I grow alot of my own vegetables and I make my own household cleansers. I have a convection microwave, so that cuts down on my oven use and I use an outdoor grill alot during summer to keep the interior of the house cool. I'm always looking for more ways to cut energy use and am looking forward to seeing how everyone else lives!

GinaMO
4/1/2009 11:08:37 AM
I work a 40 hour week 30 minutes from home, but have recently started hanging out every speck of laundry - not using my dryer at all. I even hang the private clothes on hangers above my washer. I have saved OVER HALF on my electricity bill! I was thrilled and surprised that it actually made that much difference. Every day that it is over 35 degrees I'm out there before bed in my gloves and coat filling the lines with laundry. Then when I come home the next day from work, I'm out there taking them in and starting the process over. I have to hang them the night before because its takes all day to dry clothes when its not very warm. A little bit of work for a working mom but definitely worth saving the $$$.







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