Thursday, January 31, 2008

Ways to reduce your electrical usage and help the environment

There are countless ways to reduce your electrical usage and help the environment. In this post I will cover some of those ways.

1. Get energy efficient appliances. This is a common one. Here are some known high efficiency appliances. ConServ Chest Freezer. The ConServ Chest Freezer is great if you have a lot of frozen items to store. At 90° room temperature, this energy efficient appliance uses only 0.71 KWh/day according to their site. Sun Frost Refrigerators are very efficient refrigerators. If I'm not mistaken, all can run on AC or DC power. You can purchase a refrigerator only model if you plan to get a chest freezer. If you use a computer, you can also purchase an Everex Desktop computer. The models I speak of use between five and twenty watts of electricity. Here is a Linux model and here is a Windows model. Comment if links ever break. Also be sure to purchase an efficient LCD monitor instead of a CRT monitor. If you use laptops, most laptops already use very little electricity, most under 50 watts. If you are looking for a new laptop, look into an energy efficient one. You can also purchase a Staber Energy Efficient Washing Machine. When it comes to drying clothing, hanging your cloths out to dry is best. Let the sun dry your cloths and only use your dryer when its raining/snowing/freezing.

2. Get Solar. Another way to reduce your electrical usage and help the environment is to get a solar panel system to help offset or even supply all of your electrical needs. Solar can be quite expensive up front but it will eventually pay for itself and by using solar, you are helping prevent pollution. offers a lot of solar panel options and have experienced support staff to help you choose the right system for your situation. If you purchase a large enough solar panel system, change your energy use habits and use efficient appliances, your electrical bill could be eliminated. In most areas, the power company could even have to pay YOU for putting energy into their grid. Solar energy is something to look into if you are wanting to help the environment.

3. Use less energy. Sounds simple enough but can be tricky. Most people have a habit of leaving lights on when not in the room, leaving the TV on when not in the room, running the coffee maker when not needed, having the water heater temperature set way too high... I'm sure you are guilty of at least one of these. Use less energy by only brewing coffee when needed and then turning off the coffee maker. Most people will drink their coffee fill before the coffee gets cold. Turn your water heater down if it isn't already. 120 degrees is a good temperature for a water heater. Turn off lights when your leave the room. Use compact florescent bulbs instead of incandescent bulbs. Turn off the TV when you are not watching it. Watch less TV. Unplug the TV at night. Did you know that most TVs use electricity even when turned off? Make sure the insulation in your home is in good condition. Make sure the windows are sealed good and there are as few drafts as possible. Doing all of these will save a lot on electricity.

4. Take shorter showers and avoid taking baths. This one saves water and energy. Baths use a LOT of water and the water heater has to heat all that water. Showering instead of bathing can save on energy and water. To make this most effective, use a low flow shower head also. Most water utility companies will offer affordable or even free low flow shower heads. They work just fine. Another option is to get rid of your traditional water heater and get an on-demand water heater. Here is a link to more information about on-demand water heaters. Yet another option is to use a solar water heater. Here is a link to more information about solar water heaters.

5. Turn your thermostat down in winter and up in summer. 65 during winter is good, 75 in summer is good also. This will save a lot of energy. Some people may know about "swamp coolers". I found out about them when I moved to a northern California town. They are a viable cooling solution for areas that do not get too hot during summer and have low humidity. Around here the summer temperature gets between 70-90 degrees with a low humidity. Almost everyone around here uses a swamp cooler instead of central air. Apparently Swamp Coolers use very little electricity. Click here for some more information on evaporative coolers.

More tips will be added in the future. Keep checking back.