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Top Ten Ways to Save Energy

A few weeks ago, I introduced the Lennox Energy Savings Superstar Contest.  (If you haven’t entered yet, go here to enter now!)  I promised you I’d follow up with my favorite ways to save energy.  You see, for me living green means saving green, if you know what I mean.  Many folks groan at the thought of living a green life because they think it means having to give up convenience.  However, when people discover that the green life can save them money . . . well, they seem to find it much easier to get board.

I’m here to tell you that saving energy is one of the easiest ways to live green and save green.  Saving energy in the home doesn’t require extra money, but it does rely on extra mindfulness.  At first, you may have to post reminders for yourself and your family around the house in order to accomplish your energy saving goals, but eventually it all becomes habit and you easily live a energy saving lifestyle.

My Best Tips for Saving Energy in the Home

1.  Close the blinds in the slats-up position.  

This is one energy saving technique I’ve been practicing since I was a child. We put blinds on our windows when I was little and my mother quickly discovered that turning them slats-up kept more light and heat out of the room.

With the mini-blinds that were popular at the time, the look of slats-up blinds was less appealing than slats-down.  Now, with the invention of blinds that are not rounded on either side (we have these) it doesn’t make much difference in visual appeal if the blinds are positioned slats-up.

2.  Use energy efficient light bulbs.

See, I told you this doesn’t have to be difficult!  As you probably already know, incandescent light bulbs are a thing of the past.  The light bulbs you can find on the shelf at your favorite home improvement store are probably going to be Halogen, Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) or Light Emitting Diodes (LED).

We switched all of our bulbs over to CFLs years ago, but I’ve always hated the color they emit and the millisecond it takes between flipping the switch and seeing light.  When halogen bulbs became available, I started replacing my CFLs with them.  Although halogen bulbs give you energy savings over incandescent bulbs, they don’t last nearly as long or save as much energy as CFLs.

My next step is to replace my halogen bulbs with LED bulbs, which use 90% less electricity than incandescent bulbs AND last for 50,000 hours.  That’s over 11 YEARS of use from a bulb that is on for 12 hours per day.

3.  Put the computer to sleep when not in use.  

When I’m finished using my computer, I put it to sleep.  This helps to save energy by allowing the computer to use only what’s necessary to keep from being fully shut down. I’m teaching my boys to do the same with their computer.  Setting the computer to automatically sleep after a set number of minutes is helpful for those who might walk away without remembering to hit sleep.

If you’re going to be away from the computer for more than a few hours, it is beneficial to shut the computer down completely.  The small surge that occurs on reboot uses no more energy than leaving the computer to sleep for several hours.

4.  Unplug devices after charging.  

This is a very easy change to make, but a very difficult one to remember.  To keep your devices from continuing to draw electricity after they have charged, unplug them when they reach 100%.

Many devices will sound a notification when they are completely charged, but you have to be in the same room with them to hear it.  Setting a timer on a separate device (oven timer?) to remind yourself to check on the charge status is a great way to get into the habit of unplugging when the battery reaches 100% charged.

5. Use reflective window film.  

Reflective window film helps to keep light and heat from entering through your windows.  Most window films now are simple peel and stick varieties.  (We use this one.) Because they are inexpensive and easy to apply, this is a must-have for home energy savings.

6.  Use the washing machine, dryer and dishwasher in the early mornings or late evenings.

 This is another energy saving tip that I learned from my mom.  Although I can’t always make laundry and dishes happen this way with three boys in my home, I try to do laundry and run the dishwasher when temps are already cooler in the warm months.  This means running the washer, dryer and dishwasher in the early mornings or at night.

I actually prefer to hand wash dishes and air dry some clothes items, as well, to save on energy costs.  In addition, in the winter months I use the dryer (and oven) to help heat the house during the day by being strategic about when I use it. Late afternoon clothes drying and cooking helps to provide heat into the dark evening hours without adjusting the thermostat.

7.  Use ceiling fans.

This is probably a tip you already use, unless you simply forget to turn the ceiling fan on.  There is a bit of a disclaimer I should mention with this tip, however.  If you don’t raise the temp on the thermostat, you aren’t going to save energy.

Many people assume that somehow running a ceiling fan is a magical fix to high energy costs.  It’s not.  The ceiling fan can be used to cool the people in the room.  That allows you to turn the thermostat to a higher temperature setting and still remain cool.

A ceiling fan left running while the thermostat is set to a low temp will NOT help save money.  Check out this article for more information.

8.  Turn off in lights in rooms not in use.

I know.  This is a no-brainer.  But, for some reason I’m in the only one in my home who has made a habit of this.  If you can get your family to consistently turn off overhead lights when they leave a room, you are a winner!

I tend to make use of lamps to help with this problem.  If there is a small amount of light, say from a 40-watt bulb, already on in the room, my family members are less likely to turn on the overhead light when they make a quick trip into a room to grab something.

I’d rather have a 40-watt bulb burning all day than the overhead light bulb with a higher wattage.  As my family gets better about turning off the lights, I’ll use less lamplight throughout the day.

9.  Wash only full loads.

When washing dishes or laundry, fill the machine to capacity.  You save water and energy by using the largest load setting once instead of smaller settings several times.  As I mentioned in an earlier tip, you can hand wash and air dry to save energy, as well.  (Also, never use the dry feature on your dishwasher.  Let your dishes air dry, as well!)

10.  Keep the lint trap clean

I’m sure you already empty your link trap after every load.  Right?  Right?!  If you don’t, go ahead and start doing that today.

Many people don’t know that fabric softners and dryer sheets cause buildup on the lint trap screen that reduces its efficiency.  If you use these laundry products, be sure to remove your lint trap screen for a warm, soapy water cleaning several times per year.  You can tell if your lint trap screen has buildup by running water over it.  If the water pools on top and doesn’t run through, you need to clean it immediately.  Once clean, water will run through the screen easily.

You Can be a Energy Savings Superstar!

Energy Savings Contest

You’ve got this!  Get started saving energy and, as a result, saving money today.  Go to the Lennox Energy Savings Superstar Contest home page and create your entry.  You could win 10,000 in Lennox products, a year of free ice cream and tickets to a water park.

Top Ten Ways to Save Electricity

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