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12 Free Ways to Save Energy:
Adjust Your Thermostat: You can save a lot of energy and help lower your utility bills by simply adjusting your thermostat a few degrees. According to the Department of Energy, using ceiling fans and raising your thermostat up only 2 degrees can lower your cooling costs by as much as 14%.
Switch to a Discount Electricity Provider: Switching to a lower cost electrical service provider is the fastest way there is to lower your energy bills. Better yet, it’s free. You can save 5 to 20 percent on your electric bills.
Cutting Back On Appliances, Gizmos, and Gadgets: You can lower your energy bills simply by using fewer items in your home. Ask yourself simple questions like: Do I really need that extra TV set, extra cable box? How many clocks can I live without? Can I get by without that refrigerator in the garage?
Unplug Appliances and Electronics: You can save a lot of energy by reducing the number of things plugged into your home and unplugging devices when they are not in use: appliances, electronics, and chargers burn energy even when they are not in use and they add up to a lot of wasted energy called “phantom power”.
Power-Down Your PC or Use Sleep Mode: Powering down your PC with a power strip is the best way to kill all the power and energy loss from your PC and peripherals, including your printers, monitor, external speakers, etc… Even in the “Off” position, they still draw current.
Keep Your Refrigerator Compressor Coils Clean: Dirt and dust accumulate and can completely cover your refrigerator compressor coils. This makes your unit work harder than normal to keep your food cold and, therefore, it starts using more energy than needed.
Wash Clothes Wisely: According to energysavers.gov, 90% of the energy used to wash clothes is from the energy it takes to heat water. You can save money in 2 ways: Use less water and use cooler water. Using warm water instead of hot water can cut your energy use in half.
Clean the Clothes Dryer Lint Basket: A clogged lint dryer basket restricts air flow in your dryer which makes your dryer run longer. The longer your dryer runs, the higher your energy bills get. Set up a schedule to clean your lint basket at least once per week, or more frequently if you have a large family and run a lot of loads.
Keep Your Dryer Vent and Hose Clean: It is important to keep your dryer vent and hose free of lint and build up. Just a partially clogged hose or vent causes your dryer to work harder than it should and use excess energy due to the air that is being restricted.
- One way to cook without using your oven is the microwave. Cooking in your microwave does not generate any heat in your home. (Photo: greentexenergysavers.com)
- Another great way to cook without the oven is the Crockpot. Crockpots use very little energy to cook food and generate very little heat outside the cooking area. They are excellent for cooking roasts, vegetables, soups, etc…
- Another choice, a summertime favorite, is the outdoor grill. Whenever you can avoid turning the oven on, you save money on cooling bills during the summer.
Control Your Lighting: According to the Department of Energy, there are close to 6 billion light bulbs installed in our households throughout the USA. The number of light sockets per household has raised from 43 sockets in 2001 to 51 sockets in 2010. It doesn’t cost anything to turn off lights.
Maximize the Use of Fans In Your Home: Try to use fans as much as possible, during the spring and fall when temperatures are just moderately hot, open your windows and run fans instead of the AC. Air conditioners use 100 times more energy than an average fan.
Smart Grid is Looming Closer
In the near future, the smart grid will will enable you to control the energy use in your home or office over the internet. You will be able to adjust your thermostat, turn on an appliance, adjust your lighting from anywhere via a smart phone or laptop. The "Smart Grid" will connect two-way technology, information, and controls over our electrical grid. Progress is coming along slowly.
Here's how it will work: You will be charged extra for energy used to run your air conditioner, clothes dryer, oven, and other appliances during peak hours (8 am to 7 pm). During peak hours the electric grid is under high demand from heating and cooling systems in homes and businesses. You will be rewarded for running your clothes dryer and other electrical devices during off-peak hours. It will be in everyone's best interest to use appliances and electronics as much as possible during off-peak hours (evening-night-morning).
Currently: Smart meter deployment is the first step and it is being rolled out, slowly. Smart meters communicate electric usage information back to local utility companies for tracking and billing purposes. Also, our appliances will have to be upgraded to be energy smart. Here again, energy smart appliances are being rolled out by several major manufacturers. Finally, we will all need an energy smart thermostat. Smart thermostats are being used and tested throughout the USA which track usage and enable internet controls.