Monday, December 7, 2009

Energy Saving Tips-try to stay warm NW!

Due to local Northwest weather, I thought it would be good to give you energy tips again. This will not only keep you warm but it will save you a bundle of money.

The wind is picking up and running straight through my sweaters. Burrrrr! I love the cold weather but do not like being cold. I'm one of those people who are constantly cold and always wearing sweaters, thick socks, a scarf and quite possibly some gloves on a regular basis. Burrr!
Speaking of cold weather, have you started saving on your energy bill yet? What? Goodness you need to start now! Try out all or at least some of these tips so you can start saving money on your energy bill.

ENERGY SAVING TIPS

-Buy energy saving appliances if you can. A lot of stores offer rebates so look out for those. Our washer was over $700 but was actually only around $500 after rebates. It uses less water and energy. 2 ways to save money. We replace our old ones when they give out, and buy new energy ones.

-Air dry your dishes instead of heat drying.

-Clean out lint from lint trap to increase air circulation. You can throw lint in your compost as well. Or save it and make fire starters. Just pour old wax onto your lint which is inside paper egg cartons. Break them apart and light them up to use in your fireplace. Talk about recycling!

-Consider buying a laptop. Use less energy and don't take up a huge amount of space. Most will turn off to conserve energy when not in use.

-Don't over dry your clothes. Use the sensor if yours has one.

-Use power strips on appliances you don't use often. Household use 25% more power to power things not in use. So unplug when ever your not using or get a power strip so its easier and convenient.

-Invest in rechargeable batteries. If you use a lot of things that require batteries, it will save you a lot of money in the long run. Don't throw away batteries, recycle them. there are places that take them. Unplug charger when not in use. Don't forget.

-There is a myth that screen savers on your computer use less energy. This is not true. So turn your computer on sleep mode or turn it off completely at night or when your not using it.

-Clean warm air registers/baseboard heaters. Make sure no furniture is blocking air from getting in.

-Install a programmable thermostat. We have ours at 60 at night and 65 during the day. Were used to this so it doesn't bother us. I turn if off during the day when the sun is out. I open up all our drapes and blinds to let the natural sun heat our home. Then turn it on later when the sun goes down.

-Insulate your hot water heater and pipes. Cut down on heat loss.

-Maintain your heating furnace/water heater/or fireplace each year. No build up to start fires and your furnace/hot water heater will work properly saving you money.

-Install new windows. That alone will save you so much money. Make sure you seal them correctly. This is on the top of our list for 2010.

-Apply sun control or other reflective films on south facing windows to reduce solar gain.

-Close drapes, or blinds on south windows. They allow cold air to enter.

-Close drapes,blinds during the night. Open up during the day.

-Tape or frame in heavy duty plastic film on inside of your window during winter. Keeps cold air from getting in your home. This alone saved us a ton of energy and kept us from freezing our bottoms each night.

-You can save up to 30% more energy if you insulate your walls, attic, and under your home correctly. Check your home for this. Again this is on our to do list.

-Close fireplace dampers when not in use. They allow smoke out, and if your not using your fireplace then your allowing all that hot air you just paid to heat your house to escape.

-Plant trees to shade your home. They should start shading the first year but really shade after 5-10 years. Remember: your tree's have roots and take that in to account when planting. Don't want those roots to mess with your home. This will save you energy during the summer.

-Plant shrubs around your home. Plant at least 1 foot away from home. They will help insulate your home as well. Just remember to research how big these shrubs will get.

-During the winter, low lined or trees will block north or northeast wind from hitting your home.

-Use high intensity discharge (HID) or low pressure sodium lights

-Turn off any lights when your leaving the room.

-Use dimmers-less energy used is less on your bill.

-If your air conditioner is old, consider buying an new one. It will reduce your energy to 50 % and save you money. Keep an eye out for rebates too! Call your local electric company, sometimes they have incentives.

-Don't set lamps or lighting near your air conditioner. I will run longer.

-Wash only full loads of dishes or dirt clothes.

-Take short showers instead of baths. Time your showers and see how much time you can shave off with each shower.

-Drain a quart of water from your hot water heater to remove any sediment from it.

-Lower temp on hot water heater, do you really need it that hot?

-Repair anything leaky. Just last month a renter of ours didn't tell us about the leaky toilet. Well our $600 water bill told us. EEK! Repair them immediately. And if your renting, tell your owners fast.One tiny leak can cost then big time and might even trickle down to you.

-If heating a swimming pool, invest in a cover. Evaporation is the largest source of energy loss. Make sure to check for leaks each year too, this will cost you a bundle if you have a leak so always check.

-Use a crock pot instead of your stove.

-Microwave

-Keep all lights off during the day until you absolutely have to use them.

-Switch out your old bulbs when they are done with energy efficient new ones. They can last up to 10 years.

-Hang dry your clothes if you can. I have 2 of these fold able racks that I use on a regular basis in our home.

-Use blanket warmers. We use them during the winter, why heat your home up when all you need warm is yourself. This is especially good when you have a larger home. You can get them after winter for pretty cheap. Mine was only $20 for a queen one. Get them for all your beds in use. Saves you a lot.

-Invest in flannel sheets for each bed. I have one flannel and one cotton set for each bed in use. Cotton ones keep heat off you during the summer. They stay nice and cold. During the winter use flannel ones. they keep you pretty warm. Again, you can get these after the winter for pretty cheap. I found my girls for only $12 a set.

-Slippers-I get cold during the day sometimes and I find that if I just put my slippers on , I feel a lot warmer. So invest in these for everyone. Again you can get them for pretty cheap after winter. Buy and save them.

-Don't let the water run when brushing your teeth.

-Put a container full of water in your tank of the toilet. Saves on water for you.

-Cover a fireplace-we found that cold air leaked from our gas fireplace during the really cold nights. We covered it with just a quilt and it kept cold air out. Wasn't the prettiest but it worked. But I like quilts so it didn't bother me.

-Keep lap blankets near. We have a few around our living room for when we get a little cold. Saves you energy. So instead of turning up the heat, grab a blanket and your slippers. Give you an excuse to cuddle as well.

-Take a shower/bath every other day. Cuts your water bill in half. I used to take one everyday but now its every other day. Our bill went down pretty good after that. My husband and I take a shower one day. The next our 2 older girls take a shower and I give my twins a bath together.Sometimes they can go 3 days without a shower/bath. Depends on if they played hard.

-Have friends and family over-sounds weird but the more people in your home, the less energy you use to heat your home. So rotate having dinner at friends/family. They come to your home, you use less energy. You go to their home, turn off your heat. Use no energy that way. Win win situation. Plus saves you money on food as well.

-Got quilts? I find them at thrift stores. We use them at the foot of our beds to keep our feet warmer. Then we don't get cold at night. They are pretty cheap at thrift stores and most the time they are crazy quilts. Cool colors and patterns hand made which you cannot find in a store. They are super expensive in stores anyways.

-Have your kids run around playing before they go to bed. They will be hot and tired. They will be less likely to be fussy going to bed, and they will be plenty warm.

-Wash your clothes in cold water. This alone will save you a ton of money especially if you have a big family like mine.

-Drink warm drinks before bedtime. I like a nice hot cup of cocoa or apple cider. My girls love a warm cup of tea so they usually have a night time tea. It calms them and keeps them warm. I usually do not have a hard time putting them to bed either.

-Turn off or block heat registers that are in rooms you do not use on a regular basis. Master bath and bedroom are blocked because we have a plug in blanket. We can suffer but my children will not. Our laundry room and laundry room bathroom are shut too. Why waste your energy and heat on rooms that no one is in?

-Keep doors closed during the day. My oldest daughters rooms are closed while they are at school. This keeps our living room much warmer. We have a old draft home so it helps us.

-Keep your fridge closed. Sounds easy but when you have small children its not. Your fridge will have to run on over time to keep it cold if it keeps getting opened.

-Dress warm. We wear a sweatshirt and slippers constantly at home. Were never cold, its just normal to us now. Saves us energy and in return saves us money.

-Wood stove or insert. We have a very large fireplace that takes up a whole wall in our living room. Wood stove would ruin the whole experience of having a fireplace so we decided to get an insert. Our fireplace really does not heat or home, only those who are standing by it. So the insert will have a grate that is hollow and a fan. Once it gets hot enough, the fan will kick on and blow the hot air into our home. Wood stoves are great too so look into those as well. My husband grew up in a 2 story home and 1 wood stove. No electric heating at all. If you wanted to get warm, you started a fire. Slippers were a must. lol

-Warm food. Sounds silly but it works. During the Fall I make lots of soups. This heats up our kitchen and heats up our bellies. To save on energy I pull out the crock pot. Fill it in the morning and enjoy it later for dinner. Crock pot uses way less energy than a standard burner. Same goes for bread machines. I like to bake instead of frying so when I'm done doing my baking, I simply leave my oven open for a few minutes to let the hot air escape into our home.

-Have a fire place? Save money on fire wood a few ways. Work somewhere that uses wood crates? Or maybe wood pallets? Take them home and break them down. These can be used for starter wood. Have a wood cabinet business nearby? Most will leave their scraps in a bin for anyone who wants them. Take home the bare wood. Do not burn wood with any varnish or finishes on them. Have a chainsaw? A friend who needs a tree taken down? You take down the tree for free and they let you have the wood. Win win! Get creative and never turn down wood.
You can use your fireplace instead of your central heating. Fun to sit and cozy up by the fire with the family.

1 comment:

batticdoor said...

How To Reduce Your Energy Bills / Energy Conservation Begins at Home

Imagine leaving a window open all winter long -- the heat loss, cold drafts and wasted energy! If your home has a folding attic stair, a whole house fan or AC Return, a fireplace or a clothes dryer, that may be just what is occurring in your home every day.

These often overlooked sources of heat loss and air leakage can cause heat to pour out and the cold outside air to rush in -- costing you higher heating bills.

Air leaks are the largest source of heating and cooling loss in the home. Air leaks occur through the small cracks around doors, windows, pipes, etc. Most homeowners are well aware of the benefits caulk and weatherstripping provide to minimize heat loss and cold drafts.

But what can you do about the four largest “holes” in your home -- the folding attic stair, the whole house fan or AC return, the fireplace, and the clothes dryer? Here are some tips and techniques that can easily, quickly and inexpensively seal and insulate these holes.

Attic Stairs

An easy, low-cost solution to this problem is to add an attic stair cover. An attic stair cover provides an air seal, reducing the air leaks. Add the desired amount of insulation over the cover to restore the insulation removed from the ceiling.

Whole House Fans and AC Returns

An easy, low-cost solution to this problem is to add a whole house fan cover. Installed from the attic side, the whole house fan cover is invisible. Cover the fan to reduce heating and air-conditioning loss, remove it when use of the fan is desired.

Fireplaces

A recent study showed that for many consumers, their heating bills may be more than $500 higher per winter due to the air leakage and wasted energy caused by fireplaces.

An easy, low-cost solution to this problem is to add a fireplace draftstopper. Available from Battic Door, a company known for their energy conservation products, a fireplace draftstopper is an inflatable pillow that seals the damper, eliminating any air leaks. The pillow is removed whenever the fireplace is used, then reinserted after.

Clothes Dryer Exhaust Ducts

An easy, low-cost solution to this problem is to add a dryer vent seal. This will reduce unwanted air infiltration, and keep out pests, bees and rodents as well. The vent will remain closed unless the dryer is in use. When the dryer is in use, a floating shuttle rises to allow warm air, lint and moisture to escape.

If your home has a folding attic stair, a whole house fan, an AC return, a fireplace, and/or a clothes dryer, you can easily, quickly and inexpensively seal and insulate these holes.

Mark D. Tyrol is a Professional Engineer specializing in cause and origin of construction defects. He developed several residential energy conservation products including an attic stair cover, an attic access door, and is the U.S. distributor of the fireplace draftstopper. To learn more visit www.batticdoor.com