We moved to a new home last year that had an older air conditioner. Now we live in Ontario and so it doesn’t get used at all in the winter but is on, full-time in the summer.
My first summer in the new home and my first summer power bill almost sent me to the grave. It was ridiculously high and I was tempted to turn the air conditioner off completely and force my family to endure the heat of the summer. Luckily cooler heads prevailed (no pun intended) and my family wasn’t subjected to sweltering heat.
Still, I looked around for some ideas to cut my energy bill and came across a website by a fellow from Austin Texas named Michael Bluejay. Michael operated a number of websites but one that intrigued me the most was a series of articles he has on saving electricity. Michael’s site may be overly technical for most of us, but he offers some insights into what you can save on and what you shouldn’t bother with. I’m going to share Michael’s thoughts.
Using less energy means a cleaner environment. Nowadays the economics of cutting out excess is translating into a cleaner environment.
TACKLE THE BIG ROCKS FIRST
No this isn’t a lesson from Jim Collins but rather a lesson that we should focus on the things that consume the most electricity before taking on smaller projects. It’s useless to debate whether it is better to boil water on the stove or in the microwave because the differences are meaningless. The large energy consuming items need to be addressed if you want to impact your consumption.
TIPS TO REDUCE ENERGY CONSUMPTION
1> Use space heaters to heat only the rooms you are in and turn off the heat in the rooms you are not in. Turn the heat off when you are away from home. Obviously in the colder climates we need to ensure there is enough heat in the house to keep the pipes from freezing. But installing a programmable thermostat to lower the heat during the day when you are out and at night is probably a good investment. This tip saves over $1,000 per year.
2> Ceiling fans and tabletop fans use far less energy than the air conditioner. You will save about $600 per year switching to ceiling fans.
3> Lower the temperature on your laundry. Use warm water instead of hot and cold water whenever possible. New detergents are on the market that work great in cold water. The savings are about $150 per year.
4> Use the clothesline instead of the dryer. You’ll save $150 per year.
5> Use a front loader washing machine. These machines are far more efficient and remove far more water from your clothes than the conventional top loading washing machine. The result is that if you do need to use the dryer, it takes a lot less time to dry your clothes (and less energy). You’ll save $100 a year.
6> Change to compact fluorescent bulbs. The savings are less at about $60, but still is money saved.
7> Put your computer in sleep mode when its not in use. You will save $about 70 per year.