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Frugal Living & Freebies

Easy Home Energy Savings
By Rachel Webb
Becoming energy conscious used to be a popular environmental attitude that was socially acceptable and politically correct. Now with the heightened awareness of the California energy crisis, the motivating reason behind taking care of our natural resources is as simple as saving your hard-earned dollars! Here are a few ways we can easily save energy in our home and money at the same time!

Install a Setback Thermostat
To save about 20-30% on your cooling and heating bill per year you can install a setback thermostat. These thermostats are very easy to install and will allow you to program and control the temperatures in your home for any given time.

Repair a Run-on Toilet
A toilet that runs continuously wastes water and costs you money. It is usually caused by a malfunction float which is easy to fix and can save you hundreds of gallons of water a week.

The float should not be submerged and should resist pressure to push it under. If it is partly submerged it is taking on water and needs to be replaced. If the floatball is floating try lifting the ball and see if the water stops. If it does, bend the arm of the floatball down to create more pressure close to the valve as the water rises.

Fix Broken Sprinkler Heads
Water can be easily lost when the sprinkler heads are either broken, not angled to hit the lawn or the sprinkler head might only be clogged. Unscrew the top of the sprinkler head and remove the plastic filter to check for small gravel and debris that may be blocking the spray and sending valuable water into the gutter.

Fill the Cracks in Your Home
Heat or cool air is always lost through cracks in your home even when you cannot see the holes. Start by walking around the exterior of your home and look for gaps and openings that could be caulked. For example, water spigots, dryer vents, window casings, and swamp cooler vents, around storm doors or thresholds would all be a good place for silicone caulking. You could also use spray in foam that will expand and fill the void in hard or reach places. Don't forget to seal off doorways that enter unheated areas of your home like attic crawlspace entries and garage door openings.

Adding additional insulation is also a cost effective way to save energy costs. Polywrappped batts can be placed over loose-fill insulation or you can unroll new insulation on top of the top joists if there is room in the cavity.

Water Heater Temperatures
120 degrees is an acceptable lower water temperature that should still provide ample heat for most homes. Wrapping your water heater with an insulating blanket can also be a good idea.

Florescent Lighting
Yes compact florescent bulbs are more expensive to use but the are much more long-lasting than incandescent bulbs lasting 9-13 times longer for a 60-85% savings. You will need a small ballast to modify electrical power but you can get them with an adapter base that screws into a standard socket. Look at compact florescent bulbs as a long term investment. I purchase my bulbs from a store that will guarantee how many years they will last. By marking the date they are installed right onto the end I can accurately test the savings.

Wash and Dry Clothes at Night
Most everyone remembers that weekend long distance calls are cheaper, electricity also has a peak time that is more economical. Generally off-peak times are after 10pm and before 9am. Be sure and clean out the lint filter for faster drying time. You can also set your washer to the warm water setting instead of hot.

Replace Filters
Cars perform better with clean fuel and air filters just as our furnace filters need to be changed and cleaned. Furnace filters should be changed every month and air conditioners replaced during high use periods as well. Even the compression coils behind your refrigerator need to be brushed off with a soft bristled brush once in a while.

Shower Flow Restrictors
Replace your showerhead with a low-flow restrictor which reduces the flow of water spray while still giving you an adequate shower. Water heating is about 20 percent of the total energy waste in your home so lowering the hot water usage will save your money. Take a bath to conserve water or put an kitchen timer on the bathroom counter so you don't loose track of the time!

Copyright © 2001 by Rachel Webb

Author Rachel Webb designs large and decorative write-on/wipe-off magnetic fridge calendars made entirely out of heavy-duty magnet! Guaranteed not to slide off when the kids slam the fridge door! E-Mail Rachel@Note-Ables.com for a $2.00 off coupon. http://www.Note-Ables.com

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