Thursday, April 29, 2010

How to Save Up by Saving Energy

The following is a guest post.  Billeater writes about ways to save money on your bills. The site strives to find the not-so-obvious solutions to every day expenses. You can read about more energy saving tips  at

It may seem as old as sliced bread, but everyone looks for ways to save energy. Some are struggling to get by and need the money to pay bills. The lucky ones are saving money towards buying an iPad or their next vacation cruise package.

All told, Americans use an estimated $1 million worth of energy every single minute. Studies show that saving energy reduces the basic fossil fuels burned (such as natural gas, oil and coal). Burning fossil fuels results in air stagnation, pollutants and other contributors to global warming. The average American will produce over 35,000 pounds of CO2 emissions each year. The question is: what can you do as a consumer to lower these emissions of carbon dioxide (otherwise known as CO2)?

Well, as luck would have it, the things you do to improve the atmosphere also help you save money towards buying your favorite things.

By beginning with the biggest energy wasters, you save a good chunk of money right out of the gate. Begin with replacing your old appliances. Take advantage of government rebates and other incentives being offered by environmental programs.

The Kitchen

First, look at your refrigerator and freezer. The ideal temperature setting for your freezer is 2° to 4°, and between 35° and 38° for your refrigerator. This one appliance accounts for 25% of the entire home energy usage.

Since we’re in the kitchen anyway, let’s look at the dishwasher. The best way to save energy here is to refrain from using the hot drying cycle. Instead, open the dishwasher when the cycle ends and let the dishes air dry. Also, choose the shortest “time saver” cycle whenever possible to save additional energy.

Laundry Room

Choose front-loading washing machines whenever possible because they save up to 75% of hot water usage. Remember to look for the Energy Star Label, a sign that the appliance meets strict government standards for saving energy.

If you already have an Energy Star front loader, be sure you are using cold water whenever you can. Most of these machines default to warm. Check the settings and make sure you set both wash and rinse on cold water. Hang clothing to dry outside on sunny days and plan your laundry days around the weather to avoid using your dryer as much as possible.

Hot Water

Next, let’s go to the thermostat on your water heater, since this affects all the hot water usage in your home. The standard setting for most household hot water heater thermostats is usually 140°F. Turn the temperature down to between 110°F and 120°F. While you are at it, take time to inspect the insulation around your water heater to be sure you are not losing heat unnecessarily.

Heating and Cooling

When summer gets here, you’ll be eyeing that air conditioning unit or thermostat longingly. Do whatever you can to stay cool by other means. Try spending more time on the bottom floor of your house, and only use the AC when you absolutely must.

Before the heat sets in, check the filters and replace them if needed. This will prevent overworking the system and will save energy. Also, don’t forget to turn the heat off when the nights get over 60 degrees. During the winter, you should set the thermostat for 68 degrees during the day and 58 degrees at night.


If you just can’t get the kids to turn off the lights when they leave the room, consider investing in some auto-sensing switches. These switches turn off the lights after prolonged inactivity.

Of course, energy-efficient light bulbs are important as well. Check with your power company to see if you can get a special deal on equipping your house with these bulbs. Don’t wait for the energy-wasting bulbs to blow out. Install the energy savers right away to start saving immediately. The bulbs will cost three times more, but last 12 times longer. Some estimates put the energy savings for changing the light bulbs to as much as 68 percent!


The best way to deal with leaky windows and all the energy loss in your home for that matter, is to ask your electric company to come out and do an energy audit. If they do not provide the service, you can do it yourself with the help of Energy Star through their Home Energy Yardstick. For more specific recommendations, you may wish to hire a professional home energy auditor.

Be vigilant in your search for ways to save energy. Simple steps like unplugging appliances that you rarely, use and taking shorter showers, can save you heating and electricity costs. The more you save on energy, the more you’ll have saved towards your dream vacation next winter!


  1. If we all stopped breathing that would lower CO2 emissions, but alas that would kill all the trees so that idea is no good. The easy things are turn down thermostats or use programmable thermostats, sleep in the basement during the summer, unplug appliances that aren't in use, stop driving so much and use a bike instead, take 5 minute or less showers, etc.

  2. The Biz of Life, I thought that some of the suggestions above were really easy too. Checking your water heater's thermostat only takes a couple of minutes and we've been washing our laundry in cold water ever since we bought our house. Works great.

  3. TheBizofLife: Also, not being a jerk tends to cause fewer people to talk badly of you.

    Less talking, of course, creates fewer CO2 emissions.