Turn your water heater off, save tons of money

If you have a water heater in your apartment or home, chances are great that you are spending hundreds each year just for hot water. Whether you use electric or gas heaters, the cost to you can be very high. Fortunately, there are a couple simple steps that may be taken to reduce your energy bills.

First and foremost, turn down the temperature of the water! Virtually all modern water heaters have an adjustable thermostat which regulates the temperature of the water. If you turn the water down to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, this will usually provide you with adequate hot water, and could save you save you some serious money. If you notice that the hot water is burning you in the shower, this is yet another reason to turn the temperature down.

Most of us don’t take showers when we’re asleep. Before you go to bed, turn the thermostat all the way down, or completely off, if your heater has that option. Unfortunately, if you shower in the morning, you may find yourself without hot water if you follow this tip. If you normally take a shower before you go to bed, then this tip can save you plenty of money. Remember that if you have a large tank water heater, it may take an hour or two to get back to normal temperatures, so be sure to think ahead.

If you have a large family, or use lots of hot water for some other reason, you may want to consider buying a tankless water heating system. These systems, as the name might suggest, don’t use tanks to store hot water. Instead, these devices are only active when water is flowing through them. So in other words, these systems give you instant hot water when you need it, and completely turn off when you aren’t using any hot water. Both electric and gas tankless water heating systems exist, but can be quite expensive to purchase and install. Over time, these tanks will save you money, but the upfront cost is still quite expensive, usually being in the hundreds of dollars.

If you own your own home and live in a sunny area, you may want to consider solar heating solutions. These are not solar electric panels, but rather solar thermal panels. These types of panels are much easier to fabricate, and thus, fairly cheap. Depending on where you live, solar heating solutions can pay for themselves fairly quickly. Believe it or not, but you don’t have to pay anyone to use the sun’s power! These systems are usually coupled with either gas or electric heating elements for night time use, and for cloudy days. Still, this is a very cost effective way to reduce your bills. Be sure to check out the U.S. Department of Energy’s website for more information.

More tips to save electricity

Even more tips to save gas

Posted under Saving Electricity, Saving Gas, Saving Money

This post was written by admin on August 13, 2008

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Fluorescent light bulbs can save you money

You’ve probably seen fluorescent light bulbs for sale once in a while, but the real question is whether or not they can really save you money. Well…yes! Buying and using compact fluorescent light bulbs can actually save you a significant amount of money.

Normal light bulbs use electricity and a resistive filament to create light. Unfortunately, the vast majority of electrical energy used in a standard light bulb is converted to heat, not light. While this might not be such a bad thing during the winter months, it can be terrible during the summer. Not only does your light bulb heat up your home even more, you may have to spend even more electricity with your air condition to remove all the excess heat.

Fortunately, affordable, compact fluorescent light bulbs have finally arrived on the market place. These light bulbs work in a completely different way, and as a direct result, are much more energy efficient. Typically, a 20 watt fluorescent light bulb gives the same amount of light as a 75 watt incandescent light bulb. Interestingly enough, a 23 watt fluorescent light bulb gives the same amount of light as a 100 watt incandescent light bulb!

Assuming you use a light bulb for 6 hours a day and you pay the national average of .0896 dollars per kilowatt-hour, you could save $10.79 per year per 75 watt light bulb replaced. You could save $15.11 per year per 100 watt light bulb replaced. Depending on how many light bulbs you use for extended periods of time every day, you could save tons of money simply by switching over to fluorescent light bulbs!

One more thing to consider is that compact fluorescent bulbs last up to 10 times longer than standard light bulbs. You may notice that they’re more expensive at the stores, but because they use so much less electricity and last so much longer, they’re bound to save you money.

Still think fluorescent light bulbs are too expensive? Believe it or not, there are some electric companies which encourage people to use less electricity. Some of these companies have rebate programs where they actually pay for most of the fluorescent bulbs! For example, if you live in California, you can check out PG&E’s rebate website. This website will actually tell you which stores in your local area participate in the rebate program. You don’t have to have any coupons or anything. Simply go to the stores which participates in your electric company’s rebate program, and you can buy a fluorescent bulb at a dramatically reduced price. One local store is even offering coupons where you get 5 fluorescent bulbs for a dollar, after any $30 purchase, so keep an eye out for special deals in your area.

Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that the light from fluorescent bulbs is a little different in color than most light bulbs. Some people tend to be bothered by fluorescent bulbs. So before you go replacing too many lights, make sure you are comfortable with the type of light given off by fluorescent lighting.

For other ways to save money on your electricity bill, be sure to visit my other pages on how to save electricity!

Posted under Saving Electricity

This post was written by admin on August 11, 2008

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Your TV may cost you more than you think!

It is common knowledge that when electronic devices are off, they consume little to no electricity. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Depending on your particular television, it may be consuming anywhere from half a watt to 76.11 watts! It is unbelievable to think that in this day and age, a product would be designed and sold to use so much electricity when it’s ‘off.’

Already, CNET has posted a list of large, high-definition televisions along with their power consumption when on, and when on standby. You can check out the list here. If your television isn’t on the list, it’s worthwhile to try to look up the standby power consumption of your television online.

The absolute best way to save electricity is to disconnect your television from the power grid, even when it’s off. If your television consumes 10 or more watts of power when on standby, you can save some real money simply by disconnecting it when it is not in use. Of course, make sure the television is off before unplugging it.

Let’s do a little experiment to see how much your TV could potentially be costing you. Suppose your television consumes 30 watts of power when on standby, and you use the television 5 hours a day. Next, assume you pay the national average of 8.96 cents per kilowatt-hour.

$ 0.0896 / kWh * 30 W * (1 kW/1000 W) * (24 – 5) h/day * 365 days/year = $18.64 / year

As you can see from the example scenario, leaving your television plugged in when it’s off can cost you almost twenty dollars a year! Now, most televisions are designed to consume next to no power when off, but it’s worth it to double check and make sure you have a power efficient television. If it turns out that your TV consumes a significant amount of power when off, the simplest way to remedy the situation is simply use a power strip. If you use a power strip, you can disconnect your television and any other related equipment with the flick of a switch. Best of all, power strips are readily available and cheap.

Here’s a short list of the worst offenders:

  • Sharp LC-37D90U 40.04 Watts
  • Sharp LC-65D90U 76.11 Watts
  • Westinghouse LTV-32w3 33.76 Watts
  • Pioneer PDP 5060HD 25.12 Watts
  • Pioneer PDP-5080HD 22.95 Watts
  • Mitsubish-62628 50.88 Watts
  • Mitsubishi WD-65833 19.35 Watts

For more televisions, check out this list.

For more ways to save electricity, be sure to have a look at this page.

Posted under Saving Electricity, Saving Money

This post was written by admin on August 10, 2008

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