Turning lights off and reducing water usage will make a big difference.
This summer was hot. And humid. And uncomfortable. Those temperatures are moderating, but the utility bills are flooding our mailboxes. Keeping cool in Missouri can be an expensive undertaking. We know that energy efficiency for our homes is the way to go now, not only from an expense standpoint, but also from an ecological view. EnergyStar® appliances, new windows, solar panels and more insulation are very important, but there are also things that you and your family can do every day that cost nothing and considerably reduce your utilities.
Turn the lights out. Your furniture is not afraid of the dark. If you or a family member won’t be in a room for more than five minutes, flip the switch. Ditto for the television, radio and video games. Where ever possible use compact florescent light bulbs. They use a fourth of the energy of an incandescent bulb and produce the same amount of light.
Window coverings are another energy saving method. Keep the drapes closed on the east side of the house in the morning, open in the afternoon, and drapes closed on the west side during the late afternoon.
With cooler temperatures coming, turn off the air conditioning, open the windows and enjoy real air. Ceiling fans will help circulate fresh air both during the day and nighttime. As frigid air moves in, keep your thermostat at 68 degrees during the day and around 55 at night. Programmable thermostats are great and help keep a constant temperature. If you go away for an extended period of time, set the thermostat at 55 degrees. You can save from five to 20 percent on your heating costs.
Water runs freely in this part of the country, but it really is a very precious resource. Just a few techniques can save hundreds of gallons of water each week and reduce your water bill. Approximately 75 percent of the water we use at home is in the bathroom. According to the
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average bathroom faucet flows at two gallons per minute. If you turn the tap off when brushing your teeth in the morning and at bedtime you can save up to eight gallons of water per day, and that equals 240 gallons a month!
Americans love their long, hot showers and baths, but consider this: taking a five-minute shower uses 10-25 gallons of water while a bath can consume up to 70 gallons. Replacing current shower and sink fixtures with low flow aerators will also save a considerable amount of water.
Would you like to know how much water your family uses in a day? The U.S. Geological Survey has a great survey you can complete to find out your totals. This is a fun exercise to do with children to help them understand the ramifications of letting the faucet run.
If you would like to learn more tips on saving energy, saving money and being more environmentally friendly, The U.S. Department of Energy has a booklet you can download or order.
With just a few minor adjustments in habit, homeowners and families have the opportunity to keep energy expenses under control and help our quality of living.