33 ways to lower your electric bill this winter
1. Set the thermostat to the lowest comfortable temperature. Moving the thermostat down one degree means as much as a three-percent reduction in your electric bill.
2. Keep heating system filters clean. Aluminum mesh filters may be washed. Fiberglass filters should be replaced.
3. Keep air vents clear of obstructions.
4. Open the drapes on the sunny side of the house during the day, but close them at night.
5. Leave storm windows and doors in place when the heat is on.
6. If you're gone for an extended period, leave your heat down to 55 degrees.
7. Clear vents of obstructions, shut doors to unused rooms, and close floor or wall registers used for heating.
8. Be sure you have an energy-efficient electric water heater. To check, just read the label or call your local power company.
9. Set the water heater thermostat at 140 degrees if you have an electric dishwasher or 120 degrees if you do not. Always turn off the circuit breaker before you adjust the thermostat on an electric water heater.
10. Insulate the pipes going into and out of the water heater tank. Add an insulated blanket around your water heater if it's an older model.
11. Turn the water heater off when you're gone longer than a weekend.
12. Wash full loads of clothes in the coolest water possible. Rinse clothes in cold water.
13. A low-flow showerhead can reduce water use by 50-70 percent.
14. Run the dishwasher only when it's full.
15. Compact fluorescent lamps can replace bulbs in most table lamps and will save up to 75 percent in lighting energy, produce more light and last up to 10 times longer.
16. For more light, use one large bulb rather than several small ones. A 100-watt bulb produces more light with less energy than two 60-watt bulbs.
17. Tungsten-halogen incandescent bulbs cut lighting costs by 15 percent.
18. Use low-watt bulbs where lighting is not critical.
19. Dimmer switches are actually smarter.
20. Place floor lamps and hanging lamps in corners. The reflection off the walls will give you more light.
21. Turn off all lights, TV's, stereos and radios if no one will be in the room.
22. Keep the temperature between 36 degrees and 40 degrees in the refrigerator and 0 degrees and 5 degrees in the freezer. Use a refrigerator/freezer thermometer to check the settings.
23. Cool foods to room temperature before placing them in the refrigerator unless the recipe specifies otherwise.
24. Place the refrigerator away from the stove, dishwasher, heat vents and direct sunlight. Follow the manufacturer's instructions on the amount of air space needed around the refrigerator.
25. Keep the freezer full. The fuller the freezer, the less cold air you lose when opening the door.
26. Defrost manual-defrost refrigerators or freezers when the frost becomes 1/4" thick.
27. Plan meals so several things can cook at the same time in the oven. Avoid opening the door until the food is done, unless the suspense is too much for you.
28. While the microwave is great for re-heating leftovers, takeout foods or cooking a single dish, a conventional oven may be more economical if you're cooking several items.
29. Baking or microwaving defrosted food uses one-third less energy than starting with frozen food.
30. If you're going to clean your oven, use the self-cleaning cycle right after you finish baking. That will give the self-cleaning cycle a head start in heating the oven.
31. Besides cleaning your lint filter after every load, make sure you dry full loads of clothes without overloading.
32. Stop the dryer as soon as clothes are dry, or use the moisture sensor control to automatically shut off the dryer. Overdrying wastes energy and sets in wrinkles.
33. Dry loads one right after another. You'll use less energy because the dryer is already heated.
Posted on October 30, 2006.