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15 easy tips for increasing efficiency of your home

September 7, 2009

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Here are 15 easy things you can do to conserve energy and save money.

1. Use fluorescent lighting. When your incandescent light bulb burns out, replace it with a compact fluorescent bulb. Not only do CFLs last 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs, they save you up to $80 in energy costs over the lifetime of each bulb.

2. Insulate your hot water tank. Wrapping your heater in an R 5.0 insulating blanket can save you up to $40 per year in energy costs.

3. Insulate both your hot and cold water lines with closed-cell insulation to reduce heat loss, prevent freezing and control damage from condensation.

4. If you live in a warmer climate, paint your house a lighter color, both inside and out. Dark colors absorb light, thus require additional energy to achieve the same comfort level.

5. Use the off switch on your power strip or unplug your appliances. Seventy-five percent of the energy used by electronics in your home is consumed when they are “off.”

6. Turn the water off when you are brushing your teeth and make sure your children do the same.

7. Hang your clothes out to dry instead of using your gas or electric dryer.

8. Open your windows and turn off your furnace or air conditioner whenever temperatures outside are above 60 degrees or below 80 degrees.

9. Plant a tree. A single tree can shade your home from the sun enough to reduce the inside temperature by 8 to 10 degrees during the summer, saving up to 25 percent of your energy usage.

10. Landscape with native plants. Native plants require less water and create better wind blocks than most other plants.

11. Ride a bike or walk whenever possible. Your heart, your lungs and your pocketbook will thank you.

12. Install a programmable thermostat and use it to raise or lower the temperature by 10 degrees when you are not at home.

13. During the day, close the shades in the summer and open the shades in the winter.

14. Wash your clothes in cold water.

15. Set your refrigerator temperature to 38 degrees and your freezer to 5 degrees.

Comments

LogicMan 5 years, 10 months ago

Not a bad list, but this one:

"8. Open your windows ..."

...and let all the Ragweed pollen in for full enjoyment.

bakeru 5 years, 10 months ago

I did not realize so much energy was used when appliances are "off". I will definitely use that tip!

jmadison 5 years, 10 months ago

What is the proper manner in which to dispose of broken CFL bulbs? Does the city consider this hazardous waste?

FreshAirFanatic 5 years, 10 months ago

What about all the interference, noise and harmonic problems introduced into our homes by CFLs? They don't save anywhere near what is advertised and damage other appliances.

Utilities suffer from CFLs.... http://www.edn.com/blog/1470000147/post/450043045.html??text=power+factor+utility

Matthew Herbert 5 years, 10 months ago

Don't waste your money on a water-heater insulator blanket without knowing if you need one!

Most real-estate experts will tell you that insulator blankets were an idea that worked well with water-heaters from many generations ago. Most modern water-heaters insulate themselves very effectively. In fact, a typical Rheem unit from the mid 2000's will have an insulating value of R-8 which is VERY close to the blanket you are about to waste $30 on. Here's how you know if you need one: 1. Touch the OUTSIDE of your water heater. Did your hand feel very hot? If your hand felt very hot, you might need one. If you have a relatively modern water heater, your hand probably felt about like room temperature....in such a case, don't waste the $30 buying a insulated blanket. You won't get that money back for another 10 years!

Matthew Herbert 5 years, 10 months ago

furthermore, if you own a gas water heater BE VERY CAREFUL wrapping this in an insulator blanket. Follow ALL safety precautions so as not to create a fire hazard

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 10 months ago

jmadison-- call the city's Household Hazardous Waste office- 832-3030 and here's their website

http://www.ci.lawrence.ks.us/wrr/hhw

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 10 months ago

Renaissance-- Good advice-- I would add that if your water heater is old enough that it needs insulation, you might just as well have it replaced, since the burners/heating coils are probably inefficient, as well.

del888 5 years, 10 months ago

as long as we're talking water heaters: you should drain your water heater once a year. just connect a garden hose to the faucet on the bottom of the heater and turn it on. some way to shut off the water first. others say to leave the water on so it will stir the water around as it drains. in any case, the point is to flush out the sediment that has settled in the bottom, thus reducing the heating element's ability to heat the water quickly. you'll be surprised at the crap that is flushed out of the bottom.

alm77 5 years, 10 months ago

What does #11 have to do with my home?

BakerU, they call it "vamp-power" 'cause it sucks the electricity out of your home. Cute huh? There are several monitoring devices you can buy to see how much appliances suck when they are turned off.

Boosh 5 years, 10 months ago

If you live in Kansas paint your house in light and dark stripes. Vertically for a slimming affect.

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 5 years, 10 months ago

The best thing about fluorescent lighting in the home is that work-away-from-work feeling it brings...

Flap Doodle 5 years, 10 months ago

Print out all of merrill's posts about that certain piece of legislation. Then crumple up the pages and use them for insulation inside your walls.

jmadison 5 years, 10 months ago

The EPA website gives not so simple instructions for cleaning up a broken cfl bulb. http://www.epa.gov/mercury/spills/#fluorescent

bearded_gnome 5 years, 10 months ago

for once I agree with the ranting clown. if your water heater needs the blanket, you've probably got a much bigger problem with water mineral buildup inside it, and maybe a valve leak drip, too.


  1. Use fluorescent lighting. When your incandescent light bulb burns out, replace it with a compact fluorescent bulb. Not only do CFLs last 10 times longer

Jmadison, the largest problem is that even if city will do disposal, you get all your lights switched to CFL's and you've got two to four dozen of these little mercury bulbs all over your house. you have a fire, your house hit by tornado, voila you have a house that's a hazardous materials site and most of your possessions get contaminated, maybe lost just due to the mercury.

plus, the use of CFL's just generally increases general exposure to mercury for everybody.

in case you didn't know, mercury is bad for you, and bad for your mind.

bearded_gnome 5 years, 10 months ago

as to opening the windows ...

most of the women victimized by the serial rapist, I think southwest Lawrence and Manhattan, either left their doors unlocked, or had their windows open.

some of this comes under the category of the greenie wheenies, who push for enviro nuttiness without considering the human misery caused by the changes they promote.

you're supposed to feel guilty that you set your AC cooler than 80F in summer? well, thanks, I do that every day. 80F is too warm.

programmable thermostat, fine. however like with the coming "smart meters" for electricity in Lawrence, are we going to get "smart thermostats" that can be controlled from washington DC directly? and, they collect data on their households?

will house paint become regulated? will roof color be too?

talk about ticky tacky little boxes then!

and, did I miss a line in here for weatherstripping doors and sealing windows???

there's stuff you can do that will really matter, and they sell the stuff for that at Cottin's hardware store!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 10 months ago

It's interesting that those who are most concerned about mercury in CFL's tend to be completely unconcerned with mercury of other forms of pollution from any other sources.

Mixolydian 5 years, 10 months ago

  1. Use the off switch on your power strip or unplug your appliances. Seventy-five percent of the energy used by electronics in your home is consumed when they are “off.”

==================== Vampire electrical usage. This is a biggie. Walk around your house at night and count all the little red lights and humming going on.

Native plants? Must be a Dolph "Nativist" slant going on here.

Planting shade trees does reduce sunlight to the house, but you won't see any energy savings for 20+ years and by that time the roots are digging in and ruining your foundation.

bearded_gnome 5 years, 10 months ago

so apparently mercury exposure is the explanation for Driedoregano? hmmm.

these people are basically saying: there's already merc pollution, so WTH, let's do CFL's it won't matter!


  1. Hang your clothes out to dry instead of using your gas or electric dryer.

and your neighbors, or anybody who drives by, can view your, uh, unmentionables. thanks.

no mention of conserving "gray water."

and remember Merrill has posted on these threads, he supports rolling blackouts, because they will force us to conserve electricity.

he also says living in caves is "green" and good for the environment.

according to him, broken streets are passive traffic calming devices.


oh, despite the vapid emptyheaded slander from rantingclown and driedorigami (what a pair!) conservatives are not in favor of pollution. however, we believe that regulations should be reasonable, and certainly not throw people off work. should not dramatically increase electric costs like 'cap and trade' pushed by Mr. Obama.

His 'green jobs czar' had a book I believe Merrill also promoted. that czar is on tape (so is not false) saying that 'white' enviros are racist, and cause ethnic minority communities to be "poisoned" by toxic waste.

he has resigned, but will he still be hangin' 'round the white house like the dishonored Tom Daschel?

Mr. Obama once gave a speech implying that in our country we would have to get worldwide approval for our thermostat settings and how we drive our cars. think about that.

bad_dog 5 years, 10 months ago

"are we going to get “smart thermostats” that can be controlled from washington DC directly? and, they collect data on their households?"

Careful there, BG. You can get disappeardededededed for that kind of talk ;-)

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