Conserving Energy at Home

September 17, 2013 

We hear so much these days about the worsening condition of our planet's health. More people on earth mean more resources used, more waste, and more pollution. You may say, "Well, not everyone is doing his part to help our planet," but are you doing your part?

Your awareness and conservation do make a difference to the environment even if it's not always evident. Without our own awareness and change of habits, things will not get better.

To conserve energy at home, and save money, implement the following suggestions:

1. Use a programmable thermostat (relatively inexpensive) for heating and cooling. Keep heating and cooling vents open and avoid placing furniture or other objects near them that can obstruct the flow. Use rugs on bare floors for heat retention (and comfort). Close curtains and blinds to keep the house warmer or cooler, depending on season.

2. Replace older appliances with EPA Energy Star-rated ones. You may pay more for these energy-conserving appliances, with up to 50% more efficiency, but in the long run you'll save money.

3. Get unplugged. According to the US. Department of Energy, almost 75% of electricity used by home electronics occurs when we are not actually using them.

4. Refrigerator and freezer: Did you know that the refrigerator is the biggest energy-consuming appliance in most homes? A 15-20 year old refrigerator most likely is wasting lots of energy. Adjust temperature settings as the manual recommends. Don't forget to keep the doors closed as much as possible and avoid putting hot food in the refrigerator, which makes it work harder.

5. Dishwasher: Wash only full loads, and use the energy-conserving mode if available. Turn the dishwasher off when it gets to the dry mode and open the door. Run the dishwasher at night when the utility rates are lower. Do not waste water when washing by hand. Use concentrated dish detergent to save on packaging.

6. For cooking, save energy by choosing the correct size burner and flame for the pot you're going to use. Did you know that every time you open the oven door, you lose upwards of 25% of the heat? Preheat the oven only when necessary. Any spills can be cleaned while the oven is warm, avoiding the use of the high energy-using cleaning cycle. It takes less energy to heat or reheat food with a microwave rather than a conventional oven.

7. Kitchen lights tend to be used more than any other lights in the house. Remember to turn them off when not in use. It makes sense to use the new CFLs (compact fluorescent lighting), which are much more efficient. Be aware that these need to be treated as hazardous waste after use and disposed of properly.

Lastly, to insure a healthy planet for our children, we need to educate them and involve them in our ecological choices. Adopting responsible energy-using habits and serving as a role model can make a positive difference.

References: EPA, Earth911, and Duke Energy.

Written by Susie Tomlinson and submitted by Keep Our Mountains Beautiful. For information on joining KOMB, call Judy Linda Horn, (559) 877-2361, Sandee Scott, (559) 760-1058. Reduce, Re-use, Recycle.

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