Thursday, November 13, 2014

Cold weather energy saving tips

Winter is knocking on the farm door. Since winter is a time when there isn't a lot of income coming into the farm a big priority is finding ways to stretch the budget each month. One way of doing that is consuming less energy at home.

Here are some easy tips on how to save energy and stretch the budget this winter.

1.     Turn those faucets off - A hot water faucet that leaks one drop per second can add up to 165 gallons a month. That’s more water than the average person uses in two weeks!

2.     Close the door - Every time you open the refrigerator door, up to 30%of the cold air can escape.

3.     Scrape instead of washing - Just scrape your food off the plates, don't rinse. Let the dishwasher do the work. You'll save up to 6,500 gallons of water each year. 

4.     Bulbs - If every U.S. home replaced just one light bulb with an ENERGY STAR® efficient light bulb, the amount of energy saved could light more than 3 million homes for a year and prevent 9 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year, equivalent to the emissions of about 800,000 cars.

5.     Electricity - 20% of your energy consumption is in lighting. Turn off the lights when you’re not in the room.The average home in the U.S. uses about 1,000 kilowatt-hours (kwh) of electricity per month – or the equivalent to: 79 gallons of gas, 18 trees or 29 barbecue grill propane cylinders.

6.     Microwaves aren’t all bad - The most efficient appliance in your kitchen in your microwave, which uses just 1/3 of the wattage of most ovens.

7.     CFL -A compact fluorescent bulb (CFL) used 75% less energy than a traditional incandescent bulb and they last a lot longer.

8.     Kill your television - The television sets in the U.S. collectively draw the power equivalent of a Chernobyl-sized nuclear plant when they are turned OFF! They use this power for their instant-on capacity, so we don’t have to wait a minute or two for our screens to warm up. Also called energy vampires. Any device that is on when you aren’t using it is consuming energy. In the average home, 75% of the electricity used to power home electronics is consumed while the products are turned off. The average desktop computer idles at 80 watts, while the average laptop idles at 20 watts. A Sony PlayStation 3 uses about 200 watts and nearly as much when idle. Idle power consumes more electricity than all the solar panels in America combined.

9.     Just a few degrees - Set your thermostat to 68-70 degrees during the day in the winter, and 65-68 degrees at night. This will keep your home comfortable and save on heating costs.

10. Bad little heater -Limit your use of portable heaters. Running a 1,500-watt heater can really add up on the electric bill.

11. Change the filters. Do this often and your heater will be more efficient.

12. Vents:  Don’t close off  or block your vents with furniture, drapes. Your HVAC system usually depends on the right amount of pressure to work properly. You think you're saving money by distributing the air to all the right places but it's causing your blower to work harder and not be as energy efficient.

13. Passive solar - Open your blinds during the day and close them a night to let the sun help heat your home.

14. Freezer - Keep your freezer full. It takes more energy to keep your freezer at the same temperature if it’s not full.

15. Dryer - Dry several loads one after the other. Then the dryer doesn’t completely cool down.

16. Energy saver: Set all your appliances on the energy saver mode.

17. Oven: Try to keep the door closed on the oven as much as possible. Each time you open the door the temperature can drop 25 degrees.

18. Copper pot - Use copper bottom pots and pans. They use heat more efficiently.

19. Pot size: Match pot size to the burner. Heat is lost when a small pot is used on a large burner.

20. Cold water: Use cold water to wash your clothes. You’ll save 40 cents per load!
21. Insulation: Insulate your water heater tank and the pipes leading up to it. It won’t have to work as hard to heat up.

22. Low flow: Install low-flow toilets, faucets and shower heads they use less water. Toilets use 40% of water consumed but installing a low flow toilet system you can reduce this by about 9,000 gallons.

23. Shower time: Limit your time in the shower. How fast can you take a shower? Go!

24. Weather stripping:  Reseal your doors and windows with weather stripping.

25. Insulate your attic - Your home will stay cooler in the summer and keep in your warmth in the winter.

26. Electrical sockets - Shocking but the electric outlets in the wall is where you can lose a lot of warmth. Use baby-proof plugs or a little more invasive, install pre-cut gaskets that fit behind the socket.

27. Upgrades: When upgrading do it in with energy in mind. Install energy star appliances, use solar panels, new windows, and thermostats that are more efficient. 

28. Shade: Plant shade trees next to your house. In the summer the trees block the sun from heating up your house and in the winter they let the sun in.

There are many ways to make your home more efficient. Some of these ideas are easy to implement and some will cost money to save money in the long run.   


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