Money, Health, and Other Things

Educational Blog in the Area of Family and Consumer Sciences for the Middle Peninsula


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Tips: Saving some Green at Home

Stuck at home and the enlarging power bill got you down? Here are just a few ways you can reduce that power bill:

– Check your home for appliances that use standby power. These are typically appliances that have a digital display, or “instant-on” feature. Some examples include – TVs, DVRs, sound systems, video game systems, cable boxes, computers, laptops, printers, microwaves, and coffee makers, among others. Cell phone chargers and other items with an external power supply or a rechargeable battery use standby power as well. According to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory at UC Berkeley, the average home has around 40 such devices which could add up to over $100 per year in standby power. You can reduce your electric use, and therefore your power bill, by not only turning off these appliances when they’re not in use, but also unplugging them. Alternatively, to conveniently reduce power to appliances, use a quality surge protector. For example, plug your television, cable box, and video game system into one power strip to be turned off when you are not using the TV. You can do the same for the microwave and coffee maker in the kitchen, as well as the computer, laptop, and printer in the office. This should help lower your power bill!

– Use fans instead of air conditioning. This doesn’t mean in the height of summer foregoing air conditioning entirely; however, setting your thermometer just a few degrees higher on those hot days, and instead using a fan to cool you down, can save you money with lower energy usage. In a simulation study by the Florida Solar Energy Center, a research institute of the University of Central Florida, using ceiling fans and raising a home’s temperature by just 2°(F), reduced energy usage by 14%

– Change your light bulbs. Lighting makes up about 10% of home energy costs. Switching from incandescent bulbs to CFL or LED will save on lighting costs. Although CFLs and LEDs are often more expensive than incandescent bulbs, they use up to 75% less energy and last 10 to 25 times longer. Replacing five incandescent bulbs with more energy efficient bulbs can save up to $45 per year.