8 Unexpected Energy (and Money) Savers

Here are a few suprising and simple ways to cut your energy bill this season.

Put lamps in the corner: You can switch to a lower wattage bulb in a lamp or lower its dimmer switch and not lose a noticeable amount of light. It’s all about placement. When a lamp is placed in a corner, the light reflects off the adjoining walls, which makes the room lighter and brighter.

Switch to a laptop: Laptops use one-third the power of a typical desktop when in active mode. Annually, a laptop could save you about $19 compared with a desktop.

Choose an LCD TV: If you’re among those considering a flat-screen upgrade from your conventional CRT TV, choose an LCD screen for the biggest energy save. Opting for an LCD TV will cost about $8 per year to operate – for an annual savings of about $42 over a plasma screen. Of course, you will ant to weigh your decision against the cost of a new TV.

Give your water heater a blanket: Your water heater could benefit from a blanket in the winter, especially if it lives in an unheated space. A fiberglass insulating blanket can cut heat loss by 25% to 40% and save 4% to 9% on the average water-heating bill of $308. Be sure to do this safely and correctly to avoid damaging your water heater. Read more about it here.

Turn off the burner before you’re done cooking: When you turn off an electric burner, it stays hot for quite a while. Use that to your advantage by shutting off the burner early and using the residual heat to finish up your dish. The same technique can be applied to the oven. The savings can add up to a couple bucks every month.

Spin laundry faster: Good dryer efficiency starts in the clothes washer. The faster your washing machine can spin excess water out of your laundry, the less you’ll need to use your dryer. Many of today’s high-speed washer spin cycles can cut dry times by as much as half compared with older models. This can result in annual savings near the $40 mark.

Use an ice tray: Although automatic ice makers are a nice convenience, they could be increasing your fridge’s energy consumption by 14% to 20%. By switching off the ice maker and using trays, you can save about $12 to $18 off your annual electricity bill. Most units require little more than a lift of the sensor arm to switch them off, and removing the unit altogether is a simple DIY job on most models.

Use the dishwater: Many homeowners believe they can save water and energy by hand washing dishes. The truth is that a dishwasher requires less than one-third the water it would take to do those same dishes in the sink. Running the machine (when full) can cut down the operating time of the hot water heater, your home’s largest energy hog. Not only will you save about $12 a year, you won’t have to wash any dishes!

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