One of the nice things about being kind to Mother Earth is that our kindnesses usually save us money. Even though the concept of going green is catching on, some energy-saving tips remain overlooked by many of us. These tips may seem simple, but the energy we can save by following will really add up over time.
1. Skip the Bath and Shower Instead
A shower typically uses less water than it takes to fill up the bathtub for a soak. Reserve the tub for when you really need a long, hot bath as a reward after a stressful day. When you simply need to wash, use your shower. Reducing water use is good for the planet, and reducing hot water use saves energy. When you spend less time in the bathroom, you’ll cut down on heat and electricity as well.
2. Turn Your Hot Water Heater Thermostat Down
You can control the temperature of the water in your hot water heater by changing the maximum temperature on the heater’s thermostat. The water heater will maintain the maximum heat level you desire so the hot water is available at all times. Most water heaters are kept at temperatures high enough for the water to scald you if you used hot water alone. There is no reason to make your water heater work that hard. Chances are, when you use the hot water you will mix it with cold water to reach a temperature that’s comfortable and safe to use. Turning the thermostat down a few degrees will save a lot of energy over time.
3. Wash Laundry in Cold Water
Unless you are trying to remove a stubborn stain, there’s no need to use hot or warm water to wash your clothes. Think of how many loads of laundry you wash during a typical week and the amount of water used to fill your washing machine for each load. If you're using hot or warm water, it is heated by your water heater first. Imagine how much energy you will save by washing in cold water instead.
4. Let Dishes Air Dry
A modern kitchen is not complete without an electric dishwasher. These modern wonders save water and manpower by cleaning a large load of dishes in less than an hour. You can save on your energy bill by turning off the dishwasher's heated drying setting. When the load is washed and rinsed, all you have to do is crack the door open and allow the dishes to air dry. The dishes will be just as clean, and the machine will have used a fraction of the energy it would have used to dry your dishes with heat.
5. Use Natural Light as Often as Possible
Maximize daylight hours all year long to light your house. Open curtains and blinds so you don't need to turn on an electric light until sunset. Mirrors placed across from an open window can lighten your home even more on sunny days. If possible, organize your time at home so that during each part of the day, you are in the room that receives the most light at that time. The fewer lights you turn on, the less energy you will use.
6. Do Your Own Energy Audit
Many electric companies offer free energy audits for homeowners. However, you don't need an expert to tell you where the major energy losses in your home are. All you need to do is to feel around each door and window to determine if any air is moving into the house from the outside. Seal leaks and your furnace or air conditioner will not need to work as hard to heat and cool your rooms. A hardware store will have everything you need to create better seals around any door or window.
7. Use a Power Strip to Turn Appliances on and Off
A common silent energy loss is the energy that seeps away while an appliance is plugged in but not in use. A quick and easy way to eliminate these energy vampires is to plug several appliances into a single power strip. When you finish using an appliance, turn off the power strip to avoid energy drain. Position the strip so it is easy to access. That way you will get into the habit of using the strip each time you use an appliance.
Jessica Bosari is a freelance writer and blogger for various publications and her own blog. You can read more of Jessica's work here. If you have any comments or questions about SavingTools or about saving money, leave your comments in the form below or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!