December 17, 2016
Little Tricks to Save Energy
We all know the common tips and hints that float around that will help you save energy…things like keeping your thermostat set at a consistent temperature rather than turning it down at night and then back up in the morning. You’ve invested in Energy Star appliances, installed the right windows and have put heavier draperies on your windows to keep out the cold or prevent the sun from bumping up the temperature indoors in the summer. If you’re like most people, you’re already taking advantage of these common suggestions, as well as many more. However, there are some little known ways that you can conserve energy and stretch your budget as well. Are you using any of these strategies? Choose the right ring… If you’re making soup in a large pot, choose the biggest ring on your stove – one that comes as close as possible to covering the entire area of the bottom of the pot. A small ring needs to work harder to generate the heat needed to cover the extra area. On the flip side, using a large ring to scald a small amount of milk in a tiny saucepan lets wasted energy escape around the edges. Also, your food will cook more quickly if you cover it with a lid, saving energy and money! Fill up that fridge! Believe it or not, most refrigerators and freezers work more efficiently when they are well stocked - but NOT overfull! Cooling large areas of unused space in these appliances saps energy. And don’t put hot foods directly into the refrigerator or freezer – your unit needs to work much harder to bring the temperature down quickly. If at all possible, let your warm food cool a bit on the counter before transferring it to the chiller. Resist the rinse… While you may be tempted to run all of your dishes under hot water before putting them in the dishwasher, most of today’s dishwashers are designed to handle small bits of food debris. Scrape dishes well and pop them in – there’s no need to waste hot water with a double wash for each dish. Save on showers Consider replacing your standard shower heads with water-saving, lower-powered energy efficient shower heads. Many homeowners don’t realize these items exist…or that they provide you with an invigorating experience every bit as wonderful as the one that costs you more! Keep the heat in… By using kitchen and bathroom fans as little as possible. These money-grubbers suck the heat out of rooms along with odors. A squirt or two of air freshener usually does the job just as well. Use the oven as a space heater After using your oven to cook a meal or bake a pie, leave the door open during cool weather. You can keep your kitchen thermostat a few degrees lower if the oven is often in use when the family is at home. Extra warmth may drift out into other rooms as well! Say yes to service Servicing your appliances and heating and air-conditioning units on a regular basis helps them run more efficiently and saves you money. It may seem foolish at first to pay a technician to come in and tend to your systems when nothing is wrong, but in the long run, a schedule of preventive house calls is less expensive than an unexpected big issue. Bring out the thermos! Most people leave the warmer on after making a pot of coffee, which can not only draw electricity, but can also scorch your brew. Instead, opt for an insulated carafe, coffee pot or thermos. Put the hot coffee into your insulated container, turn off the coffee maker and enjoy tastier coffee as you trim your energy bill. It helps to vent every now and then… Make sure that your heating and cooling vents aren’t obstructed in any way. Keep throw rugs and mats away from vents and see that furniture, stored items or decorative touches such as artwork and plants are out of the flow of warm or cool air. By allowing the air to move freely, you’ll reduce your energy costs.