Still, many of us, myself included, continue to spend more than we need to on energy. And given that energy expenses are rather steep these days, that makes even less sense than it used to. So, submitted for your consideration, are some ways you might cut down on your energy costs:Replace old windows. If you've got old-fashioned single-pane windows, you could save up to 25% of your heating bill by replacing them with modern, energy-efficient models.
I'll concede that many of the above ideas will take a little effort on your part. (They're probably well worth it.) But there are additional things you can do that take much less effort. Here are some ideas, many from the National Resources Defense Council:
Unplug electrical items that you don't use too often, such as a refrigerator in the basement or a dehumidifier in the winter. Unplug chargers for phones, cameras, cordless tools, etc., when you're not using them. Similarly, unplugging or using power strips to turn off TVs and stereos stops them from using significant amounts of electricity in their "standby" modes.
Set up your computers so that they enter "sleep" or "hibernate" mode when not in use.
Employ smart curtain management. In the summer, keep shades drawn during the day, to keep warming sunlight out -- especially in rooms you seldom use. In the winter, keep these shades and curtains open during the day. Close them at night to prevent heat loss through windows.
Don't set the temperature on your water heater too high. In fact, set it as low as you can. With a little trial and error, you might find that your hot water needs are met just fine when the heater is set close to its lowest setting. That can save you a lot of money by not making the heater work harder than necessary. (It might prevent some scalding, too.)
Clean your dryer's lint filter after every use. Use cold water whenever possible in your washing machine. When possible, dry your clothes on a line outside.
© 2007 Universal Press Syndicate.