How to Slash Your Energy Bill — The Ultimate Resource
Use Your Washer and Dryer More Effectively
Your laundry room presents the most opportunities in helping to save water and energy. Do you think you’re using your washer and dryer right? These simple steps should help you in using your washer and dryer more efficiently.
Your Washing Machine
- Always wash full loads. Even though most washing machines have a setting for how large a load of laundry is, it will still use close to the same amount of energy as it would with a larger load. By only running your washing machine when it’s full, you will save energy and water.
Select the proper temperature. With today’s conventional detergents, we do not have to wash our colors in cold water and our whites in hot water. Studies have now shown that by washing your clothes in cold water, it gets them just as clean as it does in hot water. The difference in the cost between washing your clothes in hot and cold water is very substantial. On average when using hot water to wash your clothes, it costs about $2.00 per load. But when washing your clothes with cold water, it costs about $0.10 per load. Not only do you save money by washing your clothes with cold water, but you also save energy.
If your washing machine has the setting, instead of using the extra rinse cycle, use the eco-boost setting. With the extra rinse, you aren’t getting your clothes any cleaner than they would be with just the one rinse. By turning on the eco-boost feature, you are ensuring that your washing machine is running more efficiently.
Clean the lint screen between uses. By cleaning out the lint screen in the dryer, you can make your dryer 15% more efficient. This is because if you don’t clean, your dryer would have to work harder to push all the heated air out of the air vent. This leads to more energy consumption and will cost you more money.
Dry your clothes for less time. Try drying your clothes for 40 minutes to start. If your clothes are still wet, add a couple extra minutes. Remember that you can always add time, but you can’t take it away. By having your dryer on for a long time, you are obviously using extra energy that you don’t need to be using. And that extra dry time does take its toll on your clothing, too.
Use a lower heat setting. Next time you need to dry your clothes, try using either the delicates setting or the permanent press setting. By using one of these settings, you are reducing the temperature being used.
If your dryer has the setting, use the moisture sensor setting. This setting can determine how wet the clothes are and will use the proper amount of heat and time to get the clothes dried. Often times clothes don’t need to be dried for the full hour; by using the moisture sensor setting, your clothes will still be dry, but the dryer won’t run longer than it has to.
These are all simple fixes to your laundry routine. The best part is that they don’t cost you a penny to do, but they will save you lots of money over time.
Have you considered using programmable timers in your home to help save you money? Attaching timers to the lights in your home that you use the most can have a significant cost impact. Timers on lights outdoors and indoors can be a great money-saving tip.
Think about the lights in your home and how you use them. Does your kitchen light stay on all day? What about the lights outside your house? Do you light your walkway at night? Do you have a light on your door that you keep on so late-night guests don’t fall and get hurt on your property? These are the lights you probably want to have running on a timer, so they come on when it’s dark and go off when you go to bed, or however you like to set them.
Here are some tips for picking the right timer and installing them around your home.
Choosing the Right Timer
When you are picking out a timer, you will need to decide if the timer is going to be used for outdoor lighting or indoor lighting. There are different timers for each, so you want to be sure you’re using the correct one.
You can get timers that plug right into the wall or that screw into the wall and replace your standard light switch. You will also need to consider the type of light you will be running with the timer. Some timers are only meant to be used with incandescent light bulbs. You’ll need to read the package thoroughly if you are using it on an LED light fixture or a fluorescent lamp.
Once you have found the right timer for the job, you need to install it. Here are some tips for installing your timer to make it the most effective.
Installation of Your Timer
The basic outdoor and indoor models of timers are simple to install. You often just have to plug them into the outlet and then plug the lights into the timer. That’s it. However, there are more complex options for timers which will likely require you to hire an electrician to install.
The kind of timer you use is really going to depend on your needs. The simple to install timers will have likely two settings – a time for them to come on and a time for them to turn off. If your lighting requires multiple time on and time off settings, then you’ll want to consider a more complex timer for your needs.
You will need to decide if the benefits outweigh the cost of a more expensive timer that might require you to hire an electrician. It will take you a long time to earn back that cost you put out to install in the savings of your energy usage.
All in all, saving money by installing timers on your lights is something you will have to look at carefully. If you are notorious for forgetting to turn off lights, then installing timers just might be the answer to your energy savings.
Save Money by Installing a Pool Pump Timer
Saving money on your energy bills is essential. And with pool season upon us, you might be thinking of ways to reduce your energy usage when it comes to your pool. Well, one great way is by installing a pool pump timer. This is a simple, relatively inexpensive purchase and installation, which can save you significant time on your energy costs. Here are some tips for using a pool pump timer.
Before you can begin seeing the money savings in your utility bill, you will, of course, need to install your pool pump timer. You can hire someone to do it for you so that you know it’s done right. You should recoup the cost of the timer itself and the labor for the installation within months of installing the timer, through the savings in your electric bill.
However, if you’re a handy do-it-yourself type, then here’s how to install a pool pump timer:
- Turn off the power to your pump. The power should be turned off at both the pump itself and the homes main circuit breaker. Safety first here, after all.
- Remove the cover from the timer itself, which houses all of the wires.
- Using a multi-meter, test all of the wires to make sure none of them have a current running through them.
- Attach the pool pump timer to the electrical source. Attach the white and black wires.
- Wire the terminals of the pool pump timer and the pump with a 6-inch piece of wire. Wrap this piece of wire around the second and third terminal screws.
- Ground it. Wrap the green ground wires around the ground terminal screws which are labeled inside the box.
- Attach the white wire to terminal 1.
- Wrap all wire ends with electrical tape.
- Close up the timer and power on the pump and test everything out. Then you can start playing with the settings of the timer.
How to Run the Timer
Generally speaking, it takes eight hours for the water to circulate in your pool. This is all dependent on the size of your pool and the kind of pump you have. To determine the best and most efficient way to run the pool pump, you have to reduce time in 30-minute increments slowly.
Start by running your pump for the longest recommended time. Once it has completed that time cycle, turn it down and check the water. Keep turning it down in 30-minute increments until you find the water to be dirty. Bump it back up 30 minutes to the last time the water was well filtered. You have now determined how long it takes your pump to pump water through the filter in your pool.
If you live in an area that gives you a break for using electricity during off-peak hours, then setting up the timer to run through its pumping process during this time is going to be extra beneficial and cost saving.
Now that you have your pool pump all set up and adjusted correctly sit back and watch the energy savings begin and the energy costs drop. You will be so pleased you made this switch. Your electric bill will thank you.
Reduce Attic Heat
Attics get very warm in the summertime. So what’s the best way to beat that heat? Many companies want you to believe that there is only one solution to fixing the temperature in your attic. But no one product will necessarily make your home more energy efficient. Here are six different ways to reduce the temperature in your attic and save you money.
- Try using a thermostatically controlled roof mounted ventilator. They will help to keep your attic much cooler in the summertime. The thermostat will usually start at 95 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the temperature that the attic fan usually begins at.
Using insulation only keeps the attic’s heat from traveling through your home. But by adding powered attic fans, you will draw more air into the attic. While it does help to reduce the heat in your attic, putting these fans in your attic costs more because of the loss of conditioned air. The air you lose from the attic is then drawn into your home from the outside, which will cause your cooling bill to go up.
Radiant barrier: This is a coating material that gets sprayed onto the outside of your roof to help reduce the amount of heat that is radiated into your attic. The radiant barrier is shown to reduce about 68% of the heat that is being emitted into the attic. This will keep your attic cooler, which will reduce the cooling load on your home.
Continuous ridge vent: This type of vent runs along the entire ridge of your roof. It is placed at the highest point of your roof so that the hot air rises to get out. However, for best results, you must have sufficient vents to allow for the free airflow. The biggest downside to this type of cooling system, though, is that you must install it when you are installing either a new roof or building a new home. This type of venting wouldn’t work correctly on an already existing roof.
Standard turtle-back vents: These are the most common vents for people to have and are very effective when enough of them are installed. These vents can be placed on an existing roof and will allow for a lot of air to flow when properly installed.
Be sure to check for restricted vents. Your vents can get clogged from dirt, rust, or insulation that was blown in from the attic. Make sure they are all open and will allow for the maximum amount of air to pass through.
The best time to make these types of repairs to your attic is during the wintertime when it is much cooler and a lot more bearable to fix the cooling in your attic. Just make sure you think ahead before the summertime because many people don’t think they’ll need any sort of repairs until the problem is already there.
So what are you waiting for? Start saving money on your energy costs by cooling down your attic.