Stop using old “beater” appliances!
“Beater Appliances” Stop using old “beater” appliances! Did you know that old freezer in the basement costs $20 to $30 a month to run? With only 2 people in the household and the supermarket 2 miles away, it doesn’t make sense anymore. Same goes for the “beer” fridge in the garage, unplug it and use it only for major parties! If you must use the above, Keep them full of frozen water jugs. Once something is frozen, it is cheaper to keep it frozen than the air in the fridge, plus air escapes when you open the door.Consider buying a new small freezer if you have to have one.
Here’s a neat trick, freeze water jugs for free outside in the winter then always keep a couple thawing in your main fridge, it will run less. In essence you are turning your fridge into an “ice box” like the old days!
Windows In the winter months, make sure your windows are not only closed, but also “locked”. I am in houses doing energy audits quite often in the winter and the people say “this room is always cold”, I say (as nicely as possible) well, why don’t we “lock” the windows closed! It cuts down air infiltration by large amounts! Do the math, a sixteenth of an inch times 16 windows is equal to 1 window open 1 inch. You would never consider doing that when it’s zero with a 30 mile an hour wind outside! In the winter, the sun can help you heat your house! When the sun shines in your home in the winter try to have it hit “dark” colored materials, they absorb more heat. In the summer, when the sun shines in your house, it hurts you by adding heat. The best thing to do is to have “light” colored shades so you reflect the heat back outside. The same exact info goes for skylights. Try to have the sun hit dark colored materials in winter, and light colored materials in summer.
PS. hang a white cloth or sheet over skylights in summer to reflect the heat back out!
Pilot lights are little flames that use gas on certain appliances 24/7. In other words, you are paying for natural gas or propane 24/7 to keep this flame lit so the appliance will “light” when you need it. Newer appliances typically have “electronic ignition” (much more efficient) which uses a small amount of electricity to “light” the appliance when needed. This is the free section so we won’t be talking about buying newer electronic ignition appliances, but here’s some important info. If you have a gas fireplace in your home (very popular lately) and it is the type with a “pilot light”, You need to find the gas shut off valve for the unit and shut off the gas supply to the unit off season when you are not using it. Even way up north here in Saratoga Springs we spend money in the summer on air conditioning or even without “air” you try to keep cool on these 90 degree days. Why constantly introduce heat into the house and pay for the energy to do it? I’m sure in millions of fancy homes in warmer climates there are many gas fireplace pilots lit for no reason. The gas fireplace people will tell you that the kind with the “pilot” is better because it will still heat your house in a power outage. Big deal, if the power goes out, turn on the gas, light the pilot and you’re “good to go”. Lesson here? Shut off the gas to your gas fireplace when not in use. Please look in our $1000 or less area where we talk about replacing appliances with more efficient electronic ignition ones.
Wash clothes in cold water. Get everyone in the household a color coded bath towel. When you take a shower, you are clean! There is no reason you can’t use it 2 or 3 times. These large bath towels take a lot of water to wash and a lot of energy to dry. Instead of getting a dryer, get a clothes line!
Electric Hot Water Heater. You can keep the circuit breaker “off” on your electric hot water heater for up to 18-20 hrs a day depending on your needs. It’s always a twin pole breaker (See Video). It is harder to adjust the temperature because you have to take off the covers. It is quite simple to find out what breaker runs it and keep it off when not needed. On either hot water heater it’s a great idea to drain a couple gallons out every 6 months (depending on your water quality) By draining out any sediment in the bottom of the tank, it will increase efficiency.
PS. Drain it until the water is clear.