Electric And Gas Companies Informative - How To Save Hundreds Of Dollars At Home...

Review by D. on 2008-10-05
This year the average family is expected to shell out $2,350 for electricity and natural gas.

Here are some ways to cut that amount and save:

Save In The Kitchen
Clean the coils behind or underneath the refrigerator every three months to keep it running efficiently. The average refrigerator costs anywhere from $60 to $120 a year to operate depending on the size and model. Cleaning the coils can save you 10 percent of that cost.

Consider energy-efficient appliances -- Energy Star-certified products are guaranteed to be more efficient than older models and some utility companies and local governments offer rebates on such purchases. You may want to rethink the spare refrigerator in the garage or basement, as well. Getting one that is big enough to hold all your food may actually be more efficient.

Wash only full loads of dishes in the dishwasher. Unlike the clothes washer, there is no water level option on the dishwasher. Therefore a small load and large load cost the same. And use the air-dry feature instead of the heated option for more energy savings.

Dust off the slow cooker. Consumers can use a lot less energy than cooking a meal across several burners in the oven. Some ovens run at 120 volts, and if you're using a stove with 220 volts at 10 amps, that calculates to 2,200 watts an hour. Compare that to a crockpot that runs at 120 volts at 1.5 amps which equals 180 watts an hour. Even at eight hours cooking time, the wattage equals 1,080 -- half the wattage used to power an oven for an hour.

Cook smart -- there is no need to preheat the oven for broiling or roasting and don’t open the oven door to check on food. Every time you do that, you lose 25 percent of the heat.

Use a microwave oven instead of the oven. You'll burn about 40 percent less energy. Keeping the inside of your microwave oven clean also increases efficiency.

Use lids -- they help the food cook more quickly by keeping steam inside.

Save In The Bathroom
Opt for the cold water option on your washing machine and save about $60 a year. Installing a high-efficiency showerhead could save you up to $100 a year because it uses one-third to half the water used by regular shower heads. And upgrading to a low-flow toilet can save 4,000 gallons a year.

Save In Your Computer Room
Put the PC to sleep. -- using the standby or hibernating feature can save $75 a year. While you're at it plug all your electronics into a power strip so they can all be turned off at once. Electronics account for 15 percent of the average household's annual energy bill and standby power, which is energy consumed when devices are plugged in but not in use represents as much as 75 percent. For some households that means $250.

Save Throughout The House
Arrange for an inspection -- a worn-out filter or unsealed duct could reduce the unit's energy efficiency by as much as 20 percent. An inspection can cost up to $100, but that could easily be offset by energy savings that will benefit you for years to come. Plus, if you schedule your appointment before contractors are swamped with repair requests, you might be able to get a 10 percent early-bird discount.

Add insulation -- an estimated 10 percent of older homes are under-insulated. Properly insulating and sealing the home can cut heating and cooling bills by 10 percent.

Program your thermostat, which will give your furnace a break and save you as much as $60 a year.

Seal up your home: Air leaks through cracks along windows and door frames can cost you as much $225 a year. But for as little as $10 you can buy some caulk and weather-stripping to plug up the drafts.

Change your light bulbs: A compact fluorescent bulb is about four times more efficient than ordinary light bulbs adding up to $50 a year in energy savings.
Comments:20 Replies - Latest reply on 2008-11-21
Posted by D. on 2008-10-05:
Sweep The Coils! ! !
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-10-05:
Turn off the AC and sweat like a pig. That's the sure fire method! I'm probably about $800 above average. That sucks! The Steelers just won, and now this...
Posted by D. on 2008-10-05:
I am guilty of having my heat on AND my window open at home.

The last three days, I've been driving my car with the heat on and the windows open too...I guess I should just take a handful of money and let it blow in the wind...I would NEVER have gotten away with that when I lived at home!
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-10-05:
Heat?! I'll be surprised if I have a reason to turn on a heater within the next 6 weeks. I'll be happy when it's cool enough to open the windows. Of course, about the time that happens it will be 3 days later when I'll have to close them and fire up the heater. lol!
Posted by D. on 2008-10-05:
I have to have air...but we had frost advisory from 2am until 9am this morning...so it was a bit chilly...had to put the heat on to get the chill out, but I didn't want the heat, so I still had my windows open.

It's perfect right now, 54 degrees.
Posted by BobJohn on 2008-10-06:
We didn't put in our windown a/c's this year (central PA). Had to sleep in the basement twice but other than that, fans did the trick. It wasn't the most comfortable sometimes but our electric usage did not spike up during the summer so saved $100s.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-10-06:
Heat and windows open? Yeah, I have cats, so I do that, spank me. I never heard of cleaning coils. I am doing that tonight. All great advice, DB! Thanks!
Posted by V on 2008-10-06:
Thanks for the info ^_^

Also, a woodstove is wonderful for winter. We only need to turn on our heater on the coldest of days ^_^

We also have a small energy saver mini-safe heater that we use if we are going to be in only one room of the house.
Posted by D. on 2008-10-06:
I just bought some adjustable reflectors for my heat vents...my vents are up on the wall towards my ceilings and these reflectors force the heat down into the room instead of up in the air.
Posted by D. on 2008-10-06:
Ejack saves hundreds of dollars by using his own "Natual Gas" to keep him warm at night.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-10-06:
sweep the coils! LOL!

I had a customer tell me that her refrigerator was costing her $500.00 a month to run(it was new).Her electric company couldn't figure out what was eating up all that electricity,so they blamed it on the refrigerator.We sent two tech's out..all normal.I had Maytag(before they were Comcast err I mean A&E service),and they found the same...normal.

Still don't know what was causing all that power usage.
Posted by D. on 2008-10-06:
I've been here for 6-7 years and never cleaned the dust bunnies from mine...I guess I should sweep my coils as well.
Posted by DigitalCommando on 2008-10-06:
She probably forgot to turn off her 220 volt plug-in vibrator, you know, the one's for a back massage that constanly keeps slipping down with gravity.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-10-06:
thats probably it DC.
Posted by DigitalCommando on 2008-10-06:
My (real) guess would be that the thermostat on the hot water heater may be stuck allowing that 4000 watt power hog to be on 24/7 and that could easily generate that kind of bill. It's easy to find though. One person stands at the meter outside watching it spin wildly and another stands inside flipping on and off 1 breaker at a time until the spinning stops. Blamo, there's the culprit.
Posted by D. on 2008-10-06:
I felt guilty that I've never "Swept" my coils...so, I just pulled out my fridge only to find out the back is covered with a solid sheet of steel that states, "Do not remove unless..." and there isn't anything on the front bottom to clean either...so, now what?

Anyway, I ended up sweeping the floor under the fridge after I moved it out and found dust under there...Then, of course I had to mop that space since I had the fridge moved out...no point in just mopping that part, I ended up sweeping and moping the entire kitchen...but, no coils.
Posted by D. on 2008-10-06:
Steve....I don't know how you stay in business!
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-10-06:
I don't know either,but business is good.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-10-06:
Great tips!
Posted by voiceoff on 2008-11-21:
I read that keeping appliances unplugged when not in use is also another way to reduce teh bill. Just having the toaster or washer /dryer plugged in requires electricity to be spent ( not sure how but what the electric company states), so consider unplugging teh microwave when you are at work...wake up about an hour in advance to do all this I guess..

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