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pjtm
03-15-2008, 04:41 PM
What small, easy things are you doing to cut down on use? I know, besides the obvious of turning off the lights when you leave the room?

My kids have ceiling fans w/ lights in their rooms. Each light kit is four bulbs - I turned the lights off so that only two come on at a time. Can't even tell the difference.

So I am looking for some other, easy ideas to help brainstorm.

thanks.

happygirl
03-15-2008, 04:44 PM
we changed to lower watt bulbs

chisnpeke
03-15-2008, 06:43 PM
I definitely second the low wattage light bulbs.

Also, turn off computers when not in use as well as televisions. Get a power strip and just turn the whole thing off when you are not using things.

delmar411
03-15-2008, 06:51 PM
unplug all appliances when not in use. Plug whatever you can into those and then unplug the powerstrip when not in use. Turn off the computer when not in use. Change to those energy saver bulbs.

We did all that and our energy bill is now less than $100/mth.

Bibbidi
03-15-2008, 07:23 PM
Silly question, but how much power do newer computers consumer? We recently got a new computer after retiring our 9 year old "Beast". That one had to be left on continuously because it took forever to turn on. I'm secretly hoping for a noticeable difference in our electric bill with the new computer, but not sure how much to expect--at least we can turn this one off!

JB2K
03-15-2008, 07:24 PM
I use timers on certain stand-alone lamps -- that, and the new CFL bulbs keep my electric bills in check...

juliana_sd
03-15-2008, 08:33 PM
We have all CFL's (except for one lamp that they don't fit in)

Make an effort to only turn lights on if/when we need them

We have electric heat, so I close all the blinds when it's not sunny out to keep the heat in. Haven't had the heat run in several weeks actually! (Yes I know I'm in San Diego, but for instance right now it's 54 out and 69 inside.)

We only have laptop computers. I'm bad about leaving them plugged in, though.

Just got my bill and we used 262 kwh for the Feb 10-March 11 period :thumbsup2 My record was 182 but I think we were gone for a week that month...

mrsbornkuntry
03-15-2008, 08:41 PM
After our showers in the morning I turn off the breaker switch for our hot water heater and turn it back on in the evenings when I need it again. I just started doing it so I don't know how much it helps.

I open my oven door when I'm done cooking something and turn it off to let the heat out into the house (don't do with little ones of course).

Let the dishes in the dishwasher air dry.

Dry laundry on a drying rack,then just fluff it in the dryer.

Wash most of our laundry in cold water.

Unplug things like cell phone chargers, DS chargers, etc. when not in use.

of the seas
03-15-2008, 08:52 PM
I have a question about using the power strip and turn off the button when you are not using the items. Do you do this with your tv power strip also?

I want to turn off the power switch for the tv at night, but I am worried about Directv and the guide not working correctly. Does anyone turn theirs off????

disneychrista
03-15-2008, 09:16 PM
I know our guide has to reset (comcast cable) when every the power is turn off.

LanaJae
03-15-2008, 09:45 PM
I bought a cool gadget called Kill-A-Watt for $22. It shows how much power each item is using. The results are shocking on many items, and contrary to rumor, the blue or green lights on the microwave are not costing more than 2 cents a year, nor are the cell phone chargers that don't have a phone plugged into them. Every single charger here registered as no power used.

Many of our high-costing items were things we couldn't afford to change yet, but at least we are working off a list.

I'd like to be able to answer about the computer, but they are all so different.

minnie1928
03-15-2008, 10:08 PM
I have a question about using the power strip and turn off the button when you are not using the items. Do you do this with your tv power strip also?

I want to turn off the power switch for the tv at night, but I am worried about Directv and the guide not working correctly. Does anyone turn theirs off????

I plug my entertainment center stuff into a "Smart Strip" which allows you to isolate which ones stay hot and which ones have their power cut. So, when my tv is turned off the power to my dvd, vcr, & stereo gets cut. However, my DISH satellite and Tivo must stay hot so they are plugged into hot outlets on the strip. The whole thing makes it effortless!

runwad
03-15-2008, 10:20 PM
I definitely second the low wattage light bulbs.

Also, turn off computers when not in use as well as televisions. Get a power strip and just turn the whole thing off when you are not using things.

I see people say this all the time but doesn't it wipe out all the things in your tv memory like the clock and then if you have like "old fashioned me" a vcr it would wipe out that clock and I"d have to reprogram it ever time I wanted to tape something. That keeps me from turning off the power strip to my tv. Just wondered....

minnie1928
03-15-2008, 10:23 PM
I see people say this all the time but doesn't it wipe out all the things in your tv memory like the clock and then if you have like "old fashioned me" a vcr it would wipe out that clock and I"d have to reprogram it ever time I wanted to tape something. That keeps me from turning off the power strip to my tv. Just wondered....
As long as your vcr has the power to maintain the memory, you can cut the tv power.

actionvaughn
03-15-2008, 11:17 PM
My mom's asked me to pay the electricity bill a few times, so I know the pain too... Here's how I saved electricity this month: I hid my brother's computer keyboard. :rotfl: Maybe next month, I'll hide his satellite receiver... :rolleyes1

(I'm kidding! My mom and I did take away his internet when we found him online at 3am too many times... That helps a LOT)

of the seas
03-16-2008, 05:04 PM
I bought a cool gadget called Kill-A-Watt for $22. It shows how much power each item is using. The results are shocking on many items, and contrary to rumor, the blue or green lights on the microwave are not costing more than 2 cents a year, nor are the cell phone chargers that don't have a phone plugged into them. Every single charger here registered as no power used.

Many of our high-costing items were things we couldn't afford to change yet, but at least we are working off a list.

I'd like to be able to answer about the computer, but they are all so different.

What items that you have used this gadget on uses the most power?

LanaJae
03-17-2008, 04:09 AM
What items that you have used this gadget on uses the most power?

Lights and lamps, they're terrible, and you can't even go by the wattage on the the bulb because I checked 10 different lamps with the same bulb and one was drawing three times the amount of power as another. Another shocker was the old-style computer monitors, I'm betting that a flat-panel would pay for itself in a hurry.

My worst thing in the house was an oil-filled space heater that looks like a radiator. I loved it too because it was so quiet. Another big hog was an air cleaning machine. Toaster, but it's short use, and same with a clothes iron.

We knew our ceiling fans were costing us, but I couldn't measure them with the gadget.

belle09
03-17-2008, 05:37 AM
Most of the big things have been mentioned already...

CFLs are a really easy way... the new ones are great -- if you get the "warm tone" ones, lighting is very similar to traditional bulbs. When you buy new appliances, look for the EnergyStar label. In the summer, close the blinds in rooms you're not using natural light in to keep the heat out. In winter, there's not as clear of an answer... how much sunlight you get determines whether you're going to get more heat from the light than you lose through the glass. A programmable thermostat is a great investment... set it lower at night and when the house is empty in winter, higher in summer, and only turn on heat/ac if you really need it. I live in DC and we made it well into October before we had to turn on the heat, and even then we had days where we turned it off. Also, depending on what temp you currently keep your house at, try setting it a degree or two cooler/warmer every week based on season -- 58-60 can be comfortable in the winter with a sweater, and if you do it slowly, you won't notice the change as much. In the summer, I think we go up to 75-78. Take advantage of nice weather and open your windows if no one in your house has allergy issues -- just make sure the heat/ac is off before doing this!

I hibernate my computer when I'm not using it -- takes less time to restart than turning it all the way off, and all of my windows/programs stay up, but it doesn't use any energy! On a laptop, it's usually Fn+ one of the keys on the top row of the keyboard (F1 on my Dell). Or, in Windows XP, hit shift when the "Standby - Restart - Turn Off" options come up and Standby will turn into Hibernate. Vista doesn't have this option... but you should turn off at least the monitor when you're not using the computer (if it's a desktop).

Only leave your cellphone, etc plugged in for as long as it needs to charge. This means paying a little more attention, but it uses less power, and according to someone at a phone store (not sure I believe this) will lengthen your battery life. Note: This "rule" isn't true for laptops, since they have a dual system -- when plugged in, they're not using power from the battery, if that makes sense.

Also, if you have rooms that are always dark, even in the middle of the day, solar tubes might be worth considering. They're kind of pricey, but provide natural light even on pretty cloudy days. The only "disadvantage" is that you can't turn off the light if you want it dark.

There's several books out there with tips on "living green" and a lot of them will help you save $$ because they teach you how to consume less without really changing your lifestyle. I'd say they're worth either buying or getting from the library, although I can't think of a specific one at the moment.

LuckyMamaInDE
03-17-2008, 08:02 AM
*CFL bulbs

*power strips for computer equipment and TV equipment

*unplug/turn off items not on power strips, like dsl thingie

*bought only appliances with good Energy Star labels, including my lovely front-loading washing machine

*use clothesline when weather is appropriate

*lights are off during sunny days

*adjust blinds and curtains as sun requires

*use crockpot

*plan "baking days" for oven use

*cover pans with lids when using the stovetop

Earstou
03-17-2008, 11:02 AM
Check your power company to see if Time of Use applies.
With some companies, the price varies with when you use electricity. Power use during business hours can cost more than during other hours. So, using your dryer anytime from 8am to 5 pm might cost more than using it in the evening.
I always try to run my washer, dryer, and dishwasher as late as possible.