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The Boyer Blog: Penny Pinchers

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Penny Pinchers

Brrr... it's cold! And if your electric bill was anything like mine last month, you're looking for ways to cut it in the future! The following list of penny-pinching ideas is adapted from Richard Paul Evans' book "The 5 Lessons A Millionaire Taught Me." I have personally used some of these tips, plan to implement more, and included others that you might find helpful as well. Contact your energy supplier. Your local electric and gas companies may have carious reduced-rate plans depending on your age, income level, or dwelling.
Check windows and doors for air leaks. Use caulk to seal them. A package of caulk will cost less than $5. Check your local home-improvement stores for more ideas.
Insulate your water heater. Although your water heater and pipes may be insulated on the inside, they can lose heat and energy through the outside casing. Insulating blankets are available at most home-improvement stores. They are easy to install and can save you up to 3 percent on monthly heating bills.
Turn down your heat by five degrees and wear a sweater. This could save 15 percent on your heating bills.
Replace 100-watt bulbs with 60-watt bulbs.
Unplug appliances.
Install dimmers in living areas such as dining rooms and bedrooms. Lights dimmed 15 percent reduce energy consumption by 15 percent.
Lower your heat when you're not home.
Use high-energy appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines on off-peak hours. (Call your utility company to find out about different rates for on-and off-peak times.)
Close heat vents in any room that odes not need to be heated.
Turn off lights, television, and other appliances when leaving a room.
Check your utility bill. One study showed that four out of five companies overcharged on their utilities. Utilities' auditing companies report that on average most homeowners are overcharged by 20 percent.

~Kate Boyer Brown



Blogger Sweetpeas said...

I don't know if this is always the case, but when I found "torchiere" type CFL bulbs I was excited and, when a bulb burned out in our dining room chandelier I replaced it w/ a CFL. Which is great, and I plan to continue replacing them as they burn out, BUT at least in this case, the dimmer switch doesn't work on the CFL. So . . . given that replacing as many lights as possible w/ CFLs is a great energy saver, and while I haven't looked into it in detail, I've heard they're talking about requiring the switch to CFLs at some point, I wouldn't recommend installing a dimmer at this time.

January 8, 2009 at 11:05 PM  
Blogger momof2 said...

A couple of other things you can do is get a programmable thermostat for your furnace (we got one years ago and it cut our bills alot) why heat/cool when you are not home? We have ours turned down durign the day (it warms up in the morning when we are waking up and getting dressed/showered and in the evening when we are lazying around watching movies witht he kids or playing games) but we drop the temps (steeply) during the day and at night (You will sleep better at 65 to 60 degrees than at warmer temps anyway) I am going to adjust mine further (dropping at 9pm when the kids go to sleep instead of 11pm when I generally go to sleep) because I can use a thorw if I need to.
Also unplug coffee pots, cell phone chargers, etc when not in use they use lots of electricity doing nothing. Also do not use standby mode for computers, turn them OFF when you are not using them...saves lots of $$$.
We have been using cfl's since they came out (early 90's) and have just had to start replacing bulbs last year (yes, they really do last that long!) and those are in lamps and things that get used all the time! One thing we have noticed is that they do not tend to last as long outside in Ohio in the winter (the cold somehow zaps them)
Dimmer switches are not recommended with cfls, one thing we do (not recommending it since I am not an expert in it) is to not use all the bulbs in lights (we leave some of ours not completely tightened, so they are not completing the circuit, most of the time they have like 5 bulbs and that is WAY too much light for me)
We also recently had to purchase a new dishwasher and freezer (my 40 yr old dishwasher died and parts for it this time were more than a new dishwasher! Same thing with the freezer that I bought from an estate sale) we bought new ones (after checking where they were made ;) ) that are lots more efficient our water and electricity bills dropped significantly! I am not saying to buy new ones (unless necessary) but if you are check those yellow tags and compare the efficiency/cost of running of all the brands (along with the cost of them) I also looked at the size because I needed the largest capacity for my dishwasher.
One last thing only run full dishwasher loads and full washing amchines loads! I also wash all clothes in cold water (unless I am washing whites with bleach then I use hot water) and rinse with cold water. Saved me a lot on our gas bill not using the hot water.

January 12, 2009 at 9:02 AM  

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