Oil and gas have been a mixed blessing for people in the regions. These are limited resources, let us use them wisely. Here are some tips to save energy:
One of the easiest and cheapest places to start saving energy is with lighting.
Tip #1 — Replace your most frequently used regular bulbs with compact fluorescent lights.
Compact fluorescent light bulbs use only about a third as much electricity as standard incandescents. And though the bulbs are slightly more expensive to buy, a compact-fluorescent will easily pay for itself by lasting up to ten times longer than regular bulbs. According to some experts, if you substitute compact fluorescent bulbs for a quarter of the incandescents used in high-use areas, you can cut the amount of electricity you use on lighting by half — saving money and our environment.
Tip #2 — Replace outdoor lighting with a motion-detector equipped bulb or fixture.
Now that your interior is lighting is more efficient, its time to look outside. Outdoor lights that are left on all night can add unnecessary costs to your power bill. Using a bulb or fixture with a motion detector solves the problem. Though installing a new fixture may require some professional assistance, it’s probably worth the cost.
Hot Air, Hot Water
Tip #3 — Lower your hot water heater and drain any sediment.
Though changing light bulbs is easy, heating cold water is much more energy intensive — and also a great place to save energy. Though you need to keep your water heater above 120 degrees to prevent bacteria from building up, many hot water heaters are set too high. Experts also recommend draining a pint or so of water from your water heater a few times a year to reduce sediment and increase efficiency.
Tip #4 — Add insulation to your hot-water heater.
As long as you’re dealing with your water heater, you might as well add some insulation. Since the standard hot water heater is on all the time, adding extra insulation will save more energy than you think. Most hardware stores sell pre-made insulator “jackets” that can be easily wrapped around one’s water heater. Experts estimate that adding insulation to your water heater and any exposed pipes can knock up to 15 percent off the costs of heating water.
Tip #5 — Install a low-flow shower head.
Low-flow shower heads are also a worthwhile investment (especially for renters, because you can take them with you) that will reduce the amount of hot water you use and hence the energy needed to heat it.
Tip #6 — Check for and seal any cracks or gaps.
Heating one’s home is the single largest use of energy for the average customer. And since experts estimate that all of the tiny gaps and cracks in an older home are roughly equivalent to a one-foot square hole punched in your wall, sealing any cracks or gaps with caulking and weather stripping can greatly improve energy efficiency. Advances in adhesives and stripping make this more efficient and easier than it used to be too.
After you’ve sealed the gaps, think about adding some insulation to your floor, ceiling or walls — a bit of modern insulation can often work wonders for older houses.
Appliances and Electronics
Tip #7 — Set your computer to go into “sleep” mode when not in use.
People who use computers at home or at work may have a “screensaver” program that floats animated toasters or whatnot across the screen when the computer is idle. And though these programs do prevent images from being burned into the tube, they also waste power by keeping your monitor on — even when the computer is not in use. Instead of using a screensaver, program your computer to go into “sleep” mode when not in use. And be sure to turn off televisions, computers, stereos and the like when not in use.
Tip #8 — Replace old appliances with more efficient models.
Though buying a new appliance isn’t cheap, replacing an old dishwasher — or an old refrigerator, washing machine, or furnace — with a new, energy-efficient model can really save some energy and money.