Saving Electricity

    Before we get to the tips on specific appliances, remember one simple thing: You’ll save more electricity by dealing with the biggest electricity-guzzlers rather than worrying about items that don’t use much electricity.

    Obsessing about whether it’s better to boil a cup of water on an electric burner or in a microwave, or whether you wear out your lights quicker by turning them off rather than keeping them on, is a waste of time and misses the point. Such trivia won’t make a dime’s worth of difference in your electric bill. It’s the bigger things that matter. With that in mind, you’ll first want to address the big energy users in your home first, such as your:

    • Heating
    • Air Conditioning
    • Lighting (if you’re not already using compact fluorescents, aka CFL’s)
    • Clothes Washer
    • Clothes Dryer
    • Refrigerator (if it was made before 2001)
    • Water Heater

    Here’s how much various strategies can save you.

    Easy Strategies
    Strategy Upfront Cost Saving Per Year
    Use space heaters to heat only the rooms you’re in, (rather than a central system that heats the whole house), and turning off the heat when you’re not home. $80 $1023
    Use ceiling fans instead of the air conditioner $100 if you don’t already have ceiling fans $438
    Turn off lights you’re not using $0 $274
    Use a clothesline or a laundry rack instead of a dryer $20 $196
    Sleep your computer when you’re not using it $0 $178
    Wash laundry in cold water instead of hot or warm none $152
    Turn off a single 100-watt light bulb, from running constantly $0 $131
    Replace ten 60-watt light bulbs with compact fluorescents $32 $123
    Total $232 once $2515 every year
    Aggressive Strategies
    Strategy Upfront Cost Saving Per Year
    Replace top-loading washer with front-loading washer $500 $112
    Replace 1990 fridge with newer model $300 $68
    Total $800 once $180 every year


    Sample electrical rate of 15¢/kWh.

    1. One 5000-watt central system, always on, running 40mins/hr. for four months, vs. two 1500-watt heaters running 8 hours a day for four months.
    2. A 2.5-ton, 3500-watt AC 24 hours a day (15 mins/hr) for five months, vs. two 48″ ceiling fans on high (75 watts each), 12 hours/day.
    3. Five 100-watt light bulbs on for 10 hours a day when they don’t need to be.
    4. 50¢/load as per the clothes dryers 7.5 loads a week.
    5. Computer on for 24 hrs/day @ 160 watts, vs. sleeping 21 hrs/day @ 5 watts
    6. Electric water heater; 7.5 loads/week.
    7. CFL’s are 15 watts, lights run 5.5 hours a day.
    8. 1/3 hot washes, 2/3 warm washes, water heated electrically, electric dryer, 7.5 loads/week. Includes water costs.
    9. Replacing a 900 kWh/year top-freezer model with a 450 kWh/year top-freezer model.
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    • today is 17th August