Thursday, January 8, 2009

Save Money By Trimming Electricity Bills

Aren't you frustrated that our costs of living continue to rise despite a recession but income has stagnated and in our case, shrunk substantially.

We are trying to cope and in our monthly review of the family budget, we are tackling electricity bills aggressively as it occupies a substantial percentage of our expenses.

For two months now, we put in place certain measures and though there are lots of uneasy adjustments to make, we are comforted by the declining utility bills each month. In fact, I will say that the more effort we put in, the greater the sense of satisfaction.

Besides saving money, we are also doing our part to conserve our environment. Much of our electricity is created by coal burned at power plants. Each time we use electricity, we emit pollutants, and leave behind a ravaged environment for our children.

If you want to reduce expenses on electricity, here are a few tips for you to consider.

1. Electric Heater

Instead of running your electric heating system during winter, you could use space heaters to warm only the rooms you are using instead of the entire house. A space heater costs less than $100 and will save you over $1,000 per year.

Another way to turn down your heater is to seal up your windows, doors, and any other place where heat is escaping.

Windows can be sealed with weatherstripping, or with shrink wrap kits that you can purchase inexpensively from the home improvement store. The "plastic shield" around the window traps the warm air and keep out the cold air.

You can also turn your ceiling fans on low, or aim a small fan at the ceiling to circulate the air and prevent the room from becoming too stuffy. Fans do not require much electricity to run.

2. Washing Machines

The main cost of a washing machine is not so much the actual operating power but the amount of money you spend heating the water. Wash your laundry with cold water instead of hot, and save $180 a year or more.

3. Lighting

Fluorescent lighting is the way to go. The new energy efficient light bulbs allow you to save 30 or more watts per light bulb, and around $90 a year in electricity costs.

They will also last longer than traditional incandescent bulbs, so for situations such as emergency lights where having the light on at all times is critical, go florescent.

Don’t forget the visually impaired either, in addition to traditional emergency lights, you’ll also want a good set of braille exit signs to cater to the blind and to meet state and federal regulations.

4. Computers

When you’re not using your computer, put it in “hibernation mode” and you’ll save around $60 a year on electricity. Also, if you still have the old style monitors, upgrade to an LCD as they use less electricity.

There are many ways we can all do our part to cut down on electricity costs. Not only will our bank accounts thank us for it, but the environment will, too.