Top 10 Basic Energy Saving Tips

Why follow these top 10 basic energy saving tips? Here's why.

It's almost impossible to pick up a newspaper or turn on the television or radio without reading or hearing something about global warming and how it's posing such a serious threat to our planet and its lifeforms. One of the main contributors to this problem is the burning of fossil fuels, which are used to generate the electricity and energy we use in our homes.

Not only that, but, as we use more of these fuels, the more rapidly the supply of these self same fuels is dwindling, which, in turn, results in the cost of the energy we buy from the utilities seemingly skyrocketing from one month to the next.

You don't need to sit back idly and watch this happen, while you wonder how you're going to pay for next month's energy, let alone this month's. If you take action and look at how you use energy within your household, you'll probably realize that there's a lot of electricity, gas, etc. being used that may not need to be.

To help you get started reducing your energy bills, here are 10 simple things you can do today.

1. Turn the lights off when you leave a room.

2. Many electronic items such as computers, TVs and DVDs continuously draw power when plugged into an electrical outlet, even when turned off. To avoid what can be a substantial amount of electricity being added to your bill inadvertently, plug such electronics into power strips, which should be turned off when the electronics are not in use.

3. Lower your hot water heater thermostat to 120 ° Fahrenheit.

4. Set the furnace thermostat to 68 degrees or lower, and the air-conditioner thermostat to 78 degrees or higher, health permitting. 3 percent to 5 percent more energy is used for each degree the furnace is set above 68 degrees and for each degree the air conditioner is set below 78 degrees.

5. Wash clothes in cold water, not hot. Many people think that heat makes the clothes cleaner, but that's a myth. Try to wash and dry a full load whenever possible, and do your laundry at night, when rates are lower.

6. Air- or line-dry your laundry – make like Mum and Grandma always did! Remember, "Your Mother Should Know".

7. Run the dishwasher only when full and don't use heat to dry dishes. Instead, air dry the dishes. If possible, don't use the "rinse hold" setting because that can use up to seven more gallons of hot water per use. Use shorter cycles in the dishwasher. Better yet, wash your dishes by hand!

8. In winter or during cooler weather, open the curtains on windows that are south-facing during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home, and close them at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows. In summer or during warmer weather, close the curtains to keep it cooler. (By the way, this can apply to ALL your windows, but is particularly applicable to south-facing windows, if you're in the Northern Hemisphere).

9. Do not preheat your oven. Cook complete meals of several dishes simultaneously in the oven. Use the microwave whenever possible – it uses less power.

10. If you have a fireplace but don't have a fire burning during the winter, keeping the damper in your fireplace closed will help your home retain heat, because, if you leave it open, it allows warm air to disappear up the chimney . Try not to use the fireplace and central heating system at the same time.

If your energy bill practically gives you a heart-attack every month, reduce your stress and the size of your bill by taking these energy-saving tips starting today. And, even if your bill isn't that bad, taking steps to reduce it can not only help you financially but can also help reduce fossil fuel usage and the effects of global warming.

Your bank account, the planet and future generations will thank you.

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