The average American household spends more than $1,300 a year on electricity. Want to knock that down? You can! The editors of Fresh Home magazine have identified some uncommon ways to save power. A sampling:
• Use the bathroom fan as little as possible. A strong ceiling fan not only sucks out shower steam, but the warmth (or coolness) in the bathroom and nearby rooms.
• Keep outdoor air-conditioning units out of the sun. Direct sunlight causes them to use 10 percent more electricity. Surround with tall shrubs, shade trees or high screens.
• Buy an electric water kettle. They're the most efficient way by far to bring water to a boil. Use it to preheat water for stovetop uses, such as making soup or pasta.
• Have just one refrigerator. End the long-running family tradition of having a second unit in the garage.
• Pack your freezer tight. It's far more efficient to keep food frozen than to keep air at a freezing temperature.
• Sort laundry by fabric, not color. A dryer will keep going until every last piece is dry; when you dry similar fabrics, everything becomes dry at the same time.
• Wash lightly soiled everyday clothes in a cold-cold cycle. Today's soaps work fine in cooler water.
• Switch to solar lights outdoors
. The new breed of solar-powered pathway lights
are reliable and attractive.
* - From Neil Wertheimer, Fresh Home