Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Be a different kind of Power Ranger

You can see lots of tips and lists for "saving energy" in various publications and blogs, but I find most of them pretty lame. Here are some that actually work:

1. TURN OFF YOUR COMPUTER. I can't believe how many people leave them on - it's a waste of energy and, especially for laptops, bad for your computer's brain to be on all the time. Electronics suck on power like a kid on a lollipop.

2. RUN YOUR DISHWASHER AT NIGHT. Many dishwashers now have settings to delay running for 2, 4, or 8 hours. Always aim to run in the middle of the night. Peak power times are between 10am and 7pm and that's when it's most expensive because it's at highest demand.

3. REPLACE AIR FILTERS. I just replaced my air filter yesterday - it had been about 6 months (i label it with a sharpie for the day I installed it) and it was pretty thoroughly gray. You should do this every 3 months or so if you use it regularly (I generally don't have heat or air going). Having a clean one makes your heat and air conditioning much more effective. Same principle - clean out the filter in the laundry dryer! Don't make it choke on every load.

4. UNPLUG. Until electronics get more sophisticated, they basically drain power all the time when they're plugged in, whether or not they're technically "on" (dumb). Unplug things when you're not using them - especially if they're used infrequently. I keep my toaster oven and paper shredder unplugged, and a whole host of things under my desk are on a power strip that's always off unless I'm at my desk.

These simple things can reduce your monthly bill by 20-40%.

Any other tips?

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