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Unplug and Save

Recently, my husband and I bought our first home. Fortunatly for us, we were able to find exactly what we wanted: a house with character. Unfortunately, houses with character usually tend to be a little older, and such is the case with our house. Due to the fact that it’s a little older, our home was built before the local gas company had run pipes to this part of the city. That means that we are stuck with a home entirely powered by electricity. Don’t get me wrong, I love electricity. I’m much happier in a world with it than without it. I’m definitely an Edison fan. It’s just that natural gas is so much cheaper, thus only subsisting on electricity scares me. (I’m also scared of the electric chair, so there’s that too.)

We have previously lived in two electricity-only apartments. Lucky for us, they were small and our power bill rarely went above $100 per month. So, with an older (ie. drafter and more poorly insulated), bigger home, we are a little apprehensive to see our first power bill. Instead of sitting around fearing the inevitable faint-worthy bill with our names on it, we have decided to take action and figure out ways to lower our power usage without sacrificing too much comfort or convenience. Here are the tips we have found which seem to work the best.

I said it before in my previously-published article “Cozy Cost Savers for Fall” and it bears repeating, perhaps the number one thing you can do to save electricity is install and use a programable thermostat. Winter or Summer, heating or cooling pulls the greatest percentage of the total power you will use per month. With some smart programing you can significantly reduce how much you spend. Some people have reported savings of up to $100 per month by simply installing a programable thermostat.

Use energy efficient light bulbs. New CFL bulbs draw less power and produce the same amount of light as their incandescent counterparts. Luckily, as technology has gotten better, the prices of these more energy-efficient bulbs have lowered. Shop around and you should be able to get these bulbs for around $1 per bulb. Check with your local power company first and you may find they have partnered with local retailers to lower the cost of CFL bulbs even more. One quick word of warning, CFLs are more limited in their all-around use than incandescent bulbs, so do your research when using one with a dimmer switch or wall-mounted timer.

Water heaters can be big wasters of electricity, but nobody likes a cold shower so what is one to do? Simply turning down the temperature on your water heater to around 120 degrees can save you big bucks come the end of the month. Also, wrapping your water heater with an insulating blanket can keep the hot in and the keep the dollars in your wallet.

Battery chargers of all sorts constantly draw power, even when they are not actively charging their corresponding device. Unplug cell phone, Gameboy, computer, and other chargers when not in use and save some cash.

Most appliances do not draw lots of power so you probably won’t save much money tampering with them. There are certain exceptions to this rule. One such exception are video game systems. By unplugging your XBox 360 and Playstation 3s when not in use, you can save more money for the next Call of Duty game. Desktop computers also waste tons of electricity so shut them off when not in use.

Another easy way to save electricity is to turn off the hot air dry cycle on your dishwasher. It takes a lot of power to dry those dishes and by simply using a rinsing agent you can get the effects of a heated dry cycle without the cost.

By doing some simple fine-tuning to your electricity use you can stop fearing the monthly power bill. What about you fine reader — do you have some power-saving tips I missed? Please share below.

Article publié pour la première fois le 11/01/2013