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What Do You DO to Save on Utilites?    

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      Heat on 60 at night and 68 when we are home.

      Wash clothes in cold, towels and undies in warm/cold rinse.

      When clothes are done, toss in dryer to get the wrinkles out, then hang them up.

      In the summer, a/c on 78 in the day and 76 when we are home.

      Only run dishwasher when it is full.

      Wash my car at the carwash, they recycle water.

      Before we replaced our windows, in the winter, we coverd the inside with plastic, the stuff that you use the hairdryer to shrink it air tight.

      I combine trips on the weekend so that we go out only once, do the errands all in one shot, saves gas.


        I am interested in more opinions regarding putting major appliances such as the hot water heater and refrigerator on a timer. Is there any indications that this may be harmful to the appliances themselves, or that the appliances use more energy re-heating or re-cooling?


          Water is expensive where we live because we're on a private system.  So, we have landscaped with native plants so we don't have to waste a lot of water in the yard. 

          That means getting rid of all that grass and adding deciduous bushes and trees that the birds like and that will shade the house for less energy use in summer and winter.

          I like this conversation between God and St. Francis:

          Here's a link to ways to water lawn more efficiently:

          Another thing we do is not to let the water run (like while brushing teeth or washing vegetables – we soak them in a bowl of water with Sunshine Concentrate to get the chemicals off).  We also don't turn it on full force.  This can cut your water bill greatly along with not taking “forever” showers that last 20 minutes.

          Cutting the power bill just takes setting up new habits.  When we were raising our son it we taught him to turn off the lights and ceiling fans any time he left a room that had nobody left in it.  We still do that.  Don't tell yourself you'll be right back – you'll get distracted and come back hours later.  We also do this on the thermostat when we leave the house and go to bed.  We don't need a programmable one when our minds are already programmed.

          Matter of fact, it's a family funny about it since he lived with his grandparents while taking a new job in their city.  They might all be sitting in the family room talking and Ben would get up to leave and turn the lights off.  Don't you wish all the things you taught your children were so ingrained?  :D

          Pulling the plug on all those appliances and electronics that use power even when they're off can make a dent also.  They're said to be 5% of your bill.


            To save time and space here, please allow me to direct you to Energy Savings page at my website. It includes tips on energy savings of all sorts, and it links to specific energy saving ideas that apply to the kitchen and laundry.


            The idea is relatively simple. You can keep the money in your pocket or give it to the power company. Trust me, if you save 25% on your energy bill, the power company won't even notice, but you'll notice.

            We heat with wood mostly, and even if we just supplement our heat with wood, we save at least $100 a month, and sometimes more like $200 a month. Our savings all depends on rates, how warm we keep the home, and how much we push around the heat from the wood stoves with electric fans (that add to the utility bill).



              To save money on utilities, I leave my heat and air turned off.  Besides, it's broken anyway.  If I had it repaired, I would just have to pay to run it.  I live in a condo on the second floor, and for the most part, the inside temp doesn't drop below 50 in the winter.  It rarely tops 78 in the summer (but it's a humid 78).  When the temperature is uncomfortable, I just leave and go find something to do.  My power bill runs about $25 a month.


                To save on utilities….

                I installed foam insulators behind all switches & outlets on outside walls & put a strip of latex foam insulation under the window frames & around the doors.

                I made draft stoppers for the entrance doors using old jeans… I inserted one leg into the other, stuffed them with plastic grocery bags, and used a safety pin at the bottom of the legs & the top of the waist to keep the bags from falling out.  We also hang a coat on the door handles when home to insulate the handle & block any draft not stopped by the foam strip.

                I cut thick, solid foam that is used in construction (pink, 1 1/4″ thick) in 2 sections to fit the bedroom windows.  Although not air tight they still provide extra insulation & it is balanced by the convenience of easy removal to open on nice days & being able to replace them at night in the winter or the reverse in the summer.  (An added bonus is in the winter & once nights get hot in the summer it keeps the bedroom dark for sleeping.) On windows in other parts of the house I put plastic over them during the winter.

                We use heavy blankets on the beds but also use mattress heaters to preheat the beds while brushing teeth & then turn the mattress heater off for the night.  We keep our thermostat on 68 while home but turn down to 55 in the late evening.

                When letting pets out we try to take them all out at once to minimize time the door is open.

                We keep spare blankets/afghans in the family room & living room. 

                In the winter we use a dryer vent sold at hardware stores that can vent inside the house. 

                I dust mop the non-carpeted areas regularly to keep pet hair down & reduce the amount of vacuuming needed.


                  Here is how we capped our heating bills:

                  Woodstove– We have a fireplace inset that very efficiently heats the house.  We use seasoned firewood and a cleaned chimney.  Fires are run from about 4:00 PM until about midnight and then the embers continue to throw off heat for another two hours (here are my posts,

                  62 and dressed– Our thermostat is set for 62 degrees and we don't run around in shorts and t-shirts.  You may think 62 is low, but with the fires the house, when we are home, is in the high 60s or low 70s.  The oil burner only kicks on around three times per day: around 4:00 AM, 10:00 AM, and 2:30 PM (when we sleep and when we aren't home)

                  Space heaters– We don't have zone heating, so we sometimes use space heaters to warm targeted areas in early and late winter season or on exceptionally cold days

                  Doors closed– We are hawks about the front and back doors, and most importantly, the garage doors



                    I have a friend who washes her dishes by hand and then puts them in the diswasher, leaves the door open and air dries them. That way she doesn't need a dish rack and drainer  and she can save on the electric bill.  It's such a simple idea but it never occurred to me.  If you don't want to hand wash, run your dishwasher when its full and not during peak hours.


                      Dishwashers actually use less energy than doing them by hand according to Consumer Reports.  Here's an article with the info:


                        This year I took the “foam layer behind the switchplate covers” to a whole new level and it has made a big difference.  I bought a can of the foam insulation with the extended nozzle and sprayed foam inside the back of the electric boxes where the electric line comes through the box.  This really reduces the amount of air infiltrating through the boxes.  It takes pulling the electrical plug out in order to get access so I would recommend switching off the power at the main box (usually a breaker in the basement).

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