January 11, 2012
Ways to Cut Down on Electricity

  1. Turn your refrigerator down. Refrigerators account for about 20% of Household electricity use. Use a thermometer to set your refrigerator temperature as close to 37 degrees and your freezer as close to 3 degrees as possible. Make sure that its energy saver switch is turned on. Also, check the gaskets around your refrigerator/freezer doors to make sure they are clean and sealed tightly.
  2. Set your clothes washer to the warm or cold water setting, not hot. Switching from hot to warm for two loads per week can save nearly 500 pounds of CO2 per year if you have an electric water heater, or 150 pounds for a gas heater.
  3. Turn down your water heater thermostat. Thermostats are often set to 140 degrees F when 120 is usually fine. Each 10 degree reduction saves 600 pounds of CO2 per year for an electric water heater, or 440 pounds for a gas heater. If every household turned its water heater thermostat down 20 degrees, we could prevent more than 45 million tons of annual CO2 emissions - the same amount emitted by the entire nations of Kuwait or Libya.
  4. Wrap your water heater in an insulating jacket, which costs just $10 to $20. It can save 1100 lbs. of CO2 per year for an electric water heater, or 220 pounds for a gas heater.
  5. A surprising 75% of the energy used by home electronics is consumed when they’re turned off. These “phantom” users include: televisions, VCRs, stereos, computers and many kitchen appliances—basically anything that holds a time or other settings. A simple solution? Plug all of these items into power strips, and then get in the habit of turning off the strips between uses.
  6. Line dry your laundry. Set up a clothesline in your back yard, and let Mother Nature dry your laundry. If this isn’t an option, consider hanging clothes on a drying rack or on the shower rod.
  7. Use small electric pans or toaster ovens for small meals. A toaster oven uses a third to half as much energy as a full-size oven. Another alternative is to use pressure cookers, turbo broilers, and microwave ovens whenever possible. They can save energy by significantly reducing cooking time.
  8. If you must use a big oven, bake more than one item at a time. If the different recipes call for varied temperatures, say 350°F, 375°F, and 400°F, pick the middle one. And remember, if heated air circulates freely, the oven doesn’t have to work as hard. So don’t let the pans touch each other, the wall, or the door, and don’t place pans directly above each other.
  9. Employ your kids as “Energy Rangers”:  Offer to pay them half of the utility-bill savings they can generate, compared to last year’s bills.  Turn them loose on this site, then sit back and watch as they frantically plug every energy leak you can imagine.
  10. Your local power company probably has a "Time of Use" program.  This means you’ll be charged more for electricity during prime times and less during off hours.  When you switch to TOU, the power company will install a new meter.  You may be able to save as much as $500 a year with this idea.  Businesses can participate too.



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