Monday, May 16, 2011

Conservation Works! Your wallet will thank you!

This post is testimony to the fact that conservation works. What is conservation you ask? Simply put, it is doing what you can to reduce how much you use devices that use electricity, gas, water, etc. My focus has been on conserving electricity.

The picture above is from my most recent electricity bill. One year ago I used 1650 KWH on my electric bill. This year... 770 KWH. YES!!! I reduced my usage by more than half!!!

I've told a lot of my friends about this, and they each had a resounding question... "How did you do it?" The answer is... I did a lot. Read on...

For starters, I became mindful of what was being used in my home. There's a lot more you can do to reduce your electric demand. Here are some of the things I did:
  • Purchased a Kill-A-Watt and audited all devices in my house. This helped me identify which devices carry "phantom loads". (Devices that constantly consume electricity even if they are turned OFF.)
  • I compiled a spreadsheet that calclulated the monthly \ yearly cost to run each device.
  • I used a couple of methods to deal with "phantom loads". I put devices on power strips that I could turn OFF when not in use. For some devices I used a timer to drastically reduce the amount time the device could be powered on. (For instance, I saved myself approx $6 dollars a month by simply putting the pump for my Koi pond on a timer... It now runs for 4 hours throughout the day instead of 24.)
  • Switched all light bulbs over to CFL or LED. You can drastically reduce your wattage by doing this.
  • We turn the lights off when not in use.
  • I turned my heat pumps OFF! My philosophy professor once said that dependency on climate controls is a weakness. You do not need heat \ air conditioning to survive. I am doing quite well running two box fans in my windows.
  • I installed a Propane Gas Tankless Water Heater. The gas lasts a long time, and no more electric demand.
  • I put my swimming pool pump and salt system on a timer. After I read the specs on these devices I determined that they were energy hogs. I now run these for 4 hours each day.
  • I turned my hot tub OFF. This thing was an energy sucking demon.
  • I installed a clothesline. We run the clothes dryer only when necessary. A clothes dryer is by far the worst offender. Sunshine is free.
  • I also rigged up an off-grid solar circuit for my downstair lighting. So far its a huge success. Each night I light my house with solar power.
So, my electric bill has been cut in half. My wallet is loving it. 770 KWH for a household of five is something to be proud of.

You can do it too. The trick is to get everyone in your household on board. If you can work as a team you can all share in the joy of saving money and having fun together. A hundred bucks per month in savings would afford you a nice vacation somewhere. :) I'm lucky in that my household works together as a team and believes in living frugally. Frugal isn't cheap... Frugal is wise.

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