Friday, February 27, 2009

Save Money on Utility Costs

On Oprah a couple of weeks ago they did a special on ways to save money on utility costs. The expert on the show said that if you unplug all appliances when not in use (ie, cell phone charger, computer, coffee maker, DVD, lamps etc) that you could reduce your electric bill by as much as 40%.

A friend of ours and her sister tried it and here's the result:

"After watching the show my sister and I decided to try it because of the $350-$400 dollar utility bill that we both have been paying each month on our respective homes. I showed my daughter the importance of unplugging everything in use and we have done that religiously for three out of the 4 weeks on this electric bill. My bill just came today and for the first time in 10 years my power bill dropped to $227. The amount of Kwatts that I used this month compared to last years' numbers dropped from 3900 kws to 1850kws!!! I could not believe that my power bill in February was lower than any bill that I have ever had in my home.

So to make a long story short, here are the other things that this guy said to do to reduce costs. I had no idea about some of these while there were a couple that I just dismissed because they seemed so little of importance. Now, plan on doing these additional things this month to see the difference as well.

  • Use microwave, toaster or stove-top instead of oven. Ovens are energy hogs!!!

  • Wash clothes on cold every load. Once a month, wash the whites on hot with some bleach to keep them bright white-Saves 40 cents per load

  • When drying clothes, place two dry hand towels in the load to speed up the drying process. Up to 20 minutes can be saved!!

  • Turn off the Heat Dry Setting on your dishwasher and just open the door for them to dry.

  • Use 11 watt CFL bulbs instead of incandescence bulbs

  • Insulate your hot water lines going from the hot water heater to showers and tubs - Buy Pipe wrap at Lowes or Home Depot.

This just makes you think what kind of impact we can make as a region on utilities by really following the McDonald's best bets that seem so simple. I think that sometimes we hear the simple things and really don't believe them until we try it for ourselves."

A tip I learned from a friend was to put Window Cling ($2 a box for 2 windows) on the windows to seal them so in the winter cold air does not creep in and heated air does not escape. Works the other way around too in the summer!

Lots of news in the blogsphere about "Hang On Outlet" designed by Paulo Oh. It's to keep your plug up against the outlet even when it’s unplugged. True that your plug-in is probably located in the hardest to reach spot. No word on that I can find on pricing or availability. If you find out, pass it on!

Anybody have other tips!!