7 Surprising Ways to Save Energy

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Are you kidding me? This electric bill can’t be right! Don’t let electric (bill) shock get the best of you. Here are some bright tips for turning down those light bills. Switching to fluorescent lighting and turning the thermostat down are great energy saving starters, but if you’re looking to go the extra mile to save energy in your home, try these tips from Earth911.com.

1. Get a home energy audit.

This is the No. 1 way to increase your home’s energy efficiency. Have an energy auditor come into your home and take a look around. He or she will point out the biggest problem-areas and suggest affordable ways to repair them. An energy auditor also help you get tax breaks and incentives to help pay for the weatherization of your home.
You can find an energy auditor near you through RESNET, or try searching all Energy Star-qualified auditors.

2. Pack Smarter.

Improperly packed freezers or refrigerators can cause a huge energy drain. When you open the door to your fridge or freezer, warm air from your kitchen comes in and replaces the cool air inside. Your fridge now needs to use more energy to maintain temperature. So, the more empty space you have, the more warm air will enter your fridge, and the more energy your fridge will use. Don’t want to stock up on food? Containers filled with water will serve the same purpose in both the fridge and freezer.

3. Redecorate with the planet in mind.

Scope out all the heating and cooling vents in your home, and make sure there is no furniture, drapery or other obstructions blocking the airflow. Having a ton of stuff in front of your vents slows or stops the flow of air into your rooms, tempting you to needlessly crank up the thermostat. The same is true for baseboard heating.

4. Don’t let vampire power suck you dry.

Vampire power is the power your electrical devices use when they are plugged in but turned off or in standby mode. Major vampire power culprits are computers, chargers for cell phones or other electronics and television sets, and these power-suckers can account for a huge portion of your energy bill. Unplug chargers and other electronics when not in use. Put larger items such as televisions and computers on power-strips, and flip the switch to off when the items are not being used.

5. Get smart in the kitchen.

When you use the stove, match the size of the pot to the size of the burner, and try to avoid using a small pot on a large burner. Only boil as much water as you need, and remember to use a lid so your water will boil faster. Use a microwave or toaster oven whenever you can. They use much less energy than a standard oven, and your microwave’s defrost setting is a great alternative to running water.

6. Fix up your furnace.

Make sure all the ducts connecting your furnace to the wall are tightly sealed. In many cases, you can cover small holes with non-toxic tape, but if ducts appear loose, you may want to have a professional take a look. The easiest and most commonly forgotten step to an efficient furnace is a clean filter. Dirty filters can restrict airflow and increase energy use.

7. Drop those dishes.

Using the dishwasher actually wastes much less heated water than washing dishes in your sink. To make sure you are saving the maximum amount of energy, only run the dishwasher with a full load, and skip the pre-rinsing. Many of us pre-rinse our dishes in the sink with the idea that the dishwasher won’t have to work as hard, but a study conducted by Consumer Reports found that this added step can waste up to 20 gallons of heated water per day.

Even trying just one or two of these methods will show dramatic adjustments in your monthly energy bill. Finding out what works best for you is what it is all about.

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