Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Tuesday: 10 Ways to Save on Your Electric Bill

I have recently moved from a small apartment where my utility bill was combined with my rent payment to a large home where my husband and I are fully responsible for every drop of water every degree on the thermostat. While our home isn't terribly expensive to live in, our utilities are almost a quarter of what we pay in rent. That said, it is well worth my while to do things to cut back on my electric bill. And if you, like me, are looking for ways to cut down on what you spend each month, try out a few of these VERY easy methods. (I'm not going to ask you replace all of your appliances or paint your roof white)

1. Re-chargeable Flashlights Buy a few hand-crank, battery-free flashlights. Place them in dark closets or pantries where you may seldom go but each time you go into them, you'll need light. Rather than turning on the light bulb, hang one of these flashlights by the light switch and use it for those few moments when you're in the closet. You only need to wind them a few times by hand and you'll not only not have to pay for electricity to turn on the light, but you'll never have to pay for batteries, either. Added bonus: In case of emergency, you are good to go!

2. Run Your Washer at Full Capacity Your washing machine and dryer are both huge suckers of electricity. Get the most use possible when running it and always run full loads. Half and small loads, while using less water, will often use the same amount of electricity to run them. Just wait until you have a full load.

3. Find Your Dryer's Exact Drying Timing Again, dryers take a LOT of electricity to run. Save money by finding out exactly how long it takes your dryer to dry a full load of laundry. Many times, your clothes will dry completely in 40 minutes, but since your dryer is set to 60, it will wastefully keep running an extra twenty minutes. To find your dryer's exact drying time, put a full load in the dryer and check it every 5 minutes. (annoying to do once, yes- but you only need do it once!) Figure that out and then set your dryer to the time/setting that will get your clothes dry without having to pay for the additional fluffing.

4. Install a Motion Detector Light in Kids Rooms/Playrooms You are responsible and turn off the lights when you leave the room. Children either cannot because they are small or will not because, well, they're kids! Put a motion detector light in the rooms your kids play in and soon after they leave the room, the light will turn off all by itself without you having to continually watch it. The lights themselves are quite affordable and you can switch it to manual and turn it off altogether when you put your kids to bed.

5. Unplug the Microwave Between Uses Unless you absolutely NEED the microwave clock, unplug your microwave as soon as you finish popping your popcorn. Leaving it plugged in sucks energy without giving you hardly anything in return.

6. Unplug Phone and Computer Chargers As soon as you finish charging your phone/tablet/computer, unplug your device and then unplug the charger itself. Just having it sit in the plug will cost you energy (and, in turn, dineros...)

7. Unplug TiVo/DirecTV at Night While it is inconvenient to turn off your TV recording device when not using it in the day (as TVs often are turned on and off dozens of times a day), at night, there is no need to keep them on. As soon as you go to bed, go ahead and turn off your DVR altogether and save a few bucks.

8. Do a Night-Time Sweep You may have kids. A husband. Or just be forgetful yourself... which means that almost every day, there will be a light left on somewhere. Before you go to bed (when you're turning off your DVR), check the hallways, closets, basement rooms, etc., and make sure that the lights are all out. Try this for a few days and you may be surprised how often a light (or lights) would have been left on all night if not for your vigilance!

9. Set Your Water Heater to 120 Degrees At 120 degrees, you get a double benefit. One, your water, while hot enough, is not so hot that you create a danger of having your children accidentally scald themselves when they turn on the water. Two, (of course!) you save on your energy bill! According to the EPA, you can lose anywhere from $400-$461 dollars a year by having a water heater set at 140 degrees or higher because of having to keep water at such a high temperature or by having to bring fresh water up to that high of a temperature. WOW!

10. Move Fridge Away from Microwave and Oven Your fridge works very, very hard to stay cold. Keep your fridge in an area away from your microwave and oven (which work very, very hard to heat things up) and it will take less energy to keep your fridge and freezer at their cold states.

Hardly a bonus- because it seems so common sense- but open your blinds and pull back the curtains! Let in as much natural light during the day as possible and you'll find that you need to use your light bulbs less.

Do YOU have any other (EASY) tips? Leave them as a comment for other readers to benefit from!

Mothering Joys
The other day, my newborn son of three weeks was crying and very upset. I was in the other room and as I came into the room where he was crying, I softly shushed him, saying, "Hey, sweetie, it's mama, don't worry, mama's here,". As soon as he heard my voice, he stopped crying. I couldn't believe that at such a young age the sound of my voice would soothe him before I could even pick him up. It made me feel like my little boy loved me already.

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