27 June 2011

Electricity prices are rising - let's start saving

(Sorry, there seems to be a problem with Blogger's paragraph spacing today.)

There is no doubt about it, household electricity prices have risen a lot and are set to rise even more. Click on this link for a report about it in The Australian. When the cost of electricity rises, so does almost everything we buy - because most of the things we buy are made using electricity. We can't do much about the increased cost of products in the shops, except not buy them, but we can do something about electricity costs at home. Saving electricity at home is all about small steps - you have many opportunities to save small amounts - and it all adds up. The good news is that the more you put into this, the more active you are, the more you'll save. We all have to use electicity but the amount of wasted electricity through stand-by power, leaving lights and chargers on, well, that, my friends, is all up to you.

We have just installed solar panels so we expect our electricity bill to go down but until we use nothing from the grid and are self sufficient in electricity by using only what our panels make, I'll keep on looking for ways to save. I believe the best way to manage electricity usage in the home is to do your own electricity audit. If you can start knowing what your meter reads, then modify your electricity usage and start switching off, you'll be able to accurately judge how much you're saving. If you've never done an electricity audit in your own home, do one now. It's a real eye opener. Here is an old post of mine about how to do it. If you're in Australia, and have had a Climate Smart Audit, you could also check your usage by watching your electricity meter inside the house. It's a good idea to record your meter reading, then use everything as normal for the first day to get an accurate idea of your usage. The following day, start on your program of saving electricity by using whatever you can from the following list. Check your meter again every day - always at the same time - and see how what you do effects your meter readings. 

Find your latest electricity bill and read it again, understand what you're using and how much you're being charged for it. Phone your local supplier and ask them when your off peak electricity rate cuts in and what's the best way to use it. That information may even be on their website. There is some general info here about off peak rates:
I have been writing about saving electricity
for as long as I've been blogging and the following is a list of all the things we've discussed, as well as readers tips, over that time. If you have anything to add that works well for you, please add it in the comments.

  • Turn off appliances at the wall. Reorganise your appliances to make this as easy as possible. Plug your TV, DVD, stereo etc into the one power board and turn the power board off when you go to bed at night. See if you can do a similar thing in the kitchen. 
  • Turn off all chargers with a black box on them at the wall, every time you finish charging. Those things really suck up the power, even when they're not charging but still "on". 
  • When buying new appliances, always buy the best energy rating you can afford. 
  • Sweep the floor instead of vacuuming. 
  • Wash up by hand instead of using the dishwasher. 
  • Use a programmable thermostat for your furnace. Set the thermostat five degrees lower/higher (depending on the season) at night. 
  • Turn the monitor off when you leave the computer. 
  • Replace old light bulbs with compact fluoros. 
  • Keep light usage to a minimum. 
  • Only do full loads of washing. 
  • Don't let rice cooker sit on warm after rice is cooked. 
  • Go to bed earlier – this saves on a lot of things like lights, computer, TV, stereo, extra cups of tea. 
  • Use your mobile phone alarm rather than an electric alarm clock. 
  • Ring your local electricity supply company and get all the information you can on your usage, tariffs and how you can save for your particular situation. 
  • If you have a 3 in 1 light fitting in the bathroom that contains a light, exhaust fan and heater, take the heat globe out. 
  • Watch less TV. 
  • Use a solar camping lamp in the evenings when you don't need strong light. 
  • Try to do without your small appliances like coffee maker, sandwich maker etc. 
  • Never leave small appliances, TV or DVD on stand by. 
  • Do less ironing. Shake clothes when hanging them on the line, hang shirts and dresses on a hanger to dry, give up the idea that you have to be absolutely creaseless. 
  • Use a wall clock instead of relying on your oven or microwave clock. Turn these ovens off when not in use. 
  • “Snuggle up" instead of turning on the heater, get a rug and snuggle with your loved ones on the lounge. 
  • Dress warmer in winter instead of turning on the heat. 
  • In winter, keep lap quilts and rugs on the sofa to encourage the family to use them instead of the heater. 
  • Turn on hot water heater for 1 hour a day. 
  • Change to solar hot water. 
  • Install skylights in dark rooms. 
  • Close the door when you’re heating or cooling a room. 
  • In very cold climates, install double glazed windows and insulated blinds. 
  • If it’s cold outside, hang window quilts. Read about them here: http://www.manytracks.com/Homesteading/winquilt.htm 
  • If you’re using a dishwasher, shut the dishwasher off and open the door after it's finished washing and let the items air dry. 
Following tips are from here:


A typical home uses 600-1200 kiloWatt-hours per year for refrigeration and freezing. 
  • Keep your refrigerator at 37°- 40° F (2° - 4° C) and your freezer at 5°F (-15° C).
  • Keep your refrigerator filled to capacity, but don't overcrowd to the point where doors cannot be closed or air cannot circulate.
  • Vacuum the condenser coils (underneath or behind the unit) every three months or so.
  • Check the condition of door gaskets by placing a paper sheet against the frame and closing the door. If the sheet can be pulled out with a very gentle tug, the door should be adjusted or the gasket replaced.
  • Do not put uncovered liquids in the refrigerator. The liquids give off vapors that add to the compressor workload.
  • Allow hot food to cool off before putting it in the refrigerator.
  • Plan ahead and remove all ingredients for each meal at one time.
A typical home uses 200-700 kiloWatt-hours per year with its range/oven. 

  • Only use pots and pans with flat bottoms on the stove.
  • Include more stews, stir-frys, and other single-dish meals in your menus.
  • Develop the habit of "lids-on" cooking to permit lower temperature settings.
  • Keep reflector pans beneath stovetop heating elements bright and clean.
  • Carefully measure water used for cooking to avoid having to heat more than is needed.
  • Begin cooking on highest heat until liquid begins to boil. Then lower the heat control settings and allow food to simmer until fully cooked.
  • Cook as much of the meal in the oven at one time as possible. Variations of 25°F still produce good results and save energy.
  • Rearrange oven shelves before turning your oven on - and don't peek at food in the oven! Every time you open the oven door, 25°-50°F (-3° - 10° C) is lost.
  • There is no need to preheat the oven for broiling or roasting.
  • When preheating an oven for baking, time the preheat period carefully. Five to eight minutes should be sufficient.
  • Use your microwave oven whenever possible, as it draws less than half the power of its conventional oven counterpart and cooks for a much shorter amount of time.
  • Pressure cookers and electric frying pans use less electricity than the stove.
  • Use the self-cleaning cycle only for major cleaning jobs. Start the cycle right after cooking while the oven is still hot, or wait until late in the evening when electricity usage is low.
  • Wash only full loads of dishes - but do not overload dishwasher.
  • Scrape food off dishes before placing them in the dishwasher.
  • Soak burned-on or dried-on foods before adding to the dishwasher.
  • Turn off the dishwasher when the drying cycle starts and let the contents dry naturally with the door partially open.

Washing Machines
  • Follow detergent instructions carefully. Adding too much detergent actually hampers effective washing action and may require more energy in the form of extra rinses. It's better to use less rather than too much laundry detergent.
  • Set the washing machine temperature to cold or warm and the rinse temperature to cold as often as possible.
  • Wash only full loads of clothing- but do not overload machine.
Sort laundry and schedule washes so that a complete job can be done with a few cycles of the machine carrying its full capacity, rather than a greater number of cycles with light loads.

Clothes Dryers
  • Hang your clothes outside and only use the dryer when it's absolutely necessary.
  • A typical home uses 360-1400 kiloWatt-hours per year with the clothes dryer. To become more energy efficient with your laundry, follow these tips:
  • Clean the lint filter thoroughly after each use.
  • Dry towels and heavy cottons in a separate load from lighter-weight fabrics.
  • Avoid over-drying. This not only wastes energy, but harms the fabric as well.
Hot Water
One of the biggest energy users in your home, next to heating and cooling systems, is your hot water system. A typical home uses 1000-4000 kiloWatt-hours per year with its water heater, including dishwashing and laundry water. To become more energy efficient with your water heater, follow these tips:
  • Reduce your water heating bill by 10 percent by lowering the water heater temperature from 140°F to 120F° (60° - 40° C). (Keep the temperature at 140°F (60°C) if you use a dishwasher without a temperature booster.)
  • Once a year, drain a bucket of water of the bottom of the water heater tank. This gets rid of sediment, which can waste energy by "blocking" the water in the tank from the heating element.
  • Locate water heaters as close to the points of hot water usage as possible. The longer the supply pipe, the more heat is lost.
  • Turn off the water heater when you go away on holidays.
  • Insulate your hot water supply pipes to reduce heat loss. Hardware stores sell pipe insulation kits.
  • Consider buying a water heater insulation kit, which reduces the amount of heat lost through the walls of the tank.
  • Repair any leaky taps/faucets promptly.
  • Use sink stoppers instead of letting water run while shaving and washing dishes.
  • Take showers instead of baths.
  • Set the washing machine temperature to cold or warm and the rinse temperature to cold as often as possible.
  • Wash only full loads of clothing and dishes - but do not overload machines.
  • Scrape food off dishes before placing them in the dishwasher.

A typical home uses 400-1000 kiloWatt-hours per year in lighting. To become more energy efficient with lights throughout your home, follow these tips:
  • Clean your light fixtures regularly.
  • Turn off lights when leaving a room.
  • Provide task lighting over desks, tool benches, etc., so that activities can be carried on without illuminating entire rooms.
  • If possible, put lamps in corners of rooms, where they can reflect light from two wall surfaces instead of one.
  • Use compact fluorescent bulbs in fixtures that are on for more than two hours a day. Compact fluorescent bulbs will given an incandescent bulb's warm, soft light, while using up to 75 percent less electricity. They also last about 10 times longer. Typically, a 23-watt compact fluorescent bulb can replace a 90- or 100-watt incandescent bulb.
  • Use dimmable bulbs when possible.
  • Install photoelectric controls or timers to make sure that outdoor lighting is turned off during the day.

  • In the heating season, water vapors from bathing and cooking are beneficial because they help humidify the home. Use kitchen and bath exhaust fans sparingly in the winter to keep as much heat as possible inside your house.
  • In the winter, the air is normally dry inside your house, which is a disadvantage because people typically require a higher temperature to be comfortable than they would in a humid environment. Therefore, efficient humidifiers are a good investment for energy conservation.
  • Locate the heating thermostat on an inside wall and away from windows and doors. Cold drafts will cause the thermostat to keep the system running even when the rest of the house is warm enough.
  • Lubricate pump and blower bearings regularly in accordance with manufacturers' recommendations to limit the amount of energy lost to friction and to extend equipment life as well.
  • Close heating vents and radiator valves in unused rooms. Make sure that drapes, plants, or furniture do not block registers for supply or return air.rmostat as low as comfort permits. Each degree over 68°F (20° C) can add 3 percent to the amount of energy need.

A typical home uses 250-1000 kiloWatt-hours per year for air conditioning in one room. To become more energy efficient with air conditioning throughout your home, follow these tips:
  • Set your thermostat to 78° F (24° C), or as high as comfort permits. When the weather is mild, turn off the AC and open the windows.
  • Close your blinds and curtains during the hottest part of the day.
  • Close cooling vents in unused rooms and keep doors to unused rooms closed.
  • Check and clean or replace air filters every month.
  • Clean the outside condenser coil once a year.
  • Reduce your usage by 10-20 percent by caulking and weather-stripping your doors and windows.
  • Insulate your house.
Fact sheet on CF lights:
Info on mercury in CF lights:http://www.treehugger.com/files/2005/06/what_about_merc.php

REMINDER:When recycling your compact fluoro globes, to take them to the recycle station, just like you would your old batteries, mercury thermometer and old style fluoro tubes.

How to make a door snake
Global electricity price comparison

Electricity is usually not one of those expenses you have no control over. If you put in some work you can save electricity and money. It's in your hands.


  1. fab tips Rhonda. I'm going to bookmark this.I made lap blankets winter just gone and saved quite a lot heating wise :0) thank you for this article

  2. You'd be amazed how much difference energy saving lightbulbs can make. First thing we did when we moved in here was changed all the lightbulbs. Three months later the electricity company wouldn't accept our first meter reading, as it didn't match the "historical use" at the house.

  3. Hi Rhonda, I am a 21 years old student from the Netherlands (land of overconsumption and unsustainable lives) and I was delighted to find your blog. Being one of the few who think about things like sustainability in my country, I am glad I stumbled it. Keep writing!

  4. Hello Rhonda, we are 3 years off retirement and replacing things that we will not be ale to afford to on the pension as we will not have a huge super as illness has caused this situation.
    When we replaced our hot water system we could go solar or DHW heat pump,finances caused us to choose the latter,We are told and by the brochure that it will be the same cost as solar.Already 6 weeks in we notice many things,it only heats when totally necessary,only in the cheap peak times,our water is much cooler than our old system but still plenty hot enough.We will get a government rebate the same as you do for solar but it was about $4,000 less.It is actually called a STIEBEL AIR SOURCED HEAT PUMP.It sits right outside the laundry window and we will be interested to see what our power bill is like this time.We are trying to get all efficient ready for a smaller income.At the moment if your old hot water system dies this there is only 2 choices given.Solar and the one we chose.

  5. Great list! It seems there is always more we could do. Your posts always have such great information!

    If people need help, the utility companies around here will come in and do an energy audit of your home. It can definitely help. Some things they might identify are the highest "phantom" loads in your household (which items are using electricity when you didn't even know it!). Also, adding motion sensors inside and out can make help you make sure lights are only on where they are used (great when you have young (or old) kids, or outside where you want light for safety when you need it).

    Keep an eye on LED lights... though right now their up front cost is very high... as technology improves and the cost of these comes down, these will become the lights of choice.

  6. Hi Rhonda, we live in a really old house. Luckily it has double glazing (we're in England) but the heating system is not good and is expensive to use but we have a log burner. So this summer we are trying to be as organised as possible and are seasoning free/very cheap logs ready for the winter. And as we don't have much room my parents are seasoning some oak they got for us from a neighbour who was having tree work done. So hopefully this year we can use our log burner more and the heating less and really feel the difference when our bill comes in- wish us luck!! :)

  7. Lots of great tips! The greenloans officer (when that programme was available) that came to our house said that the first step in getting solar energy is to reduce consumption, because if you don't do that, your panels aren't going to save enough (you might be consuming more electricity than the panels can produce). I wish we could get solar panels, but we did get solar hot water and it has helped reduce our bill.

  8. Hi Rhonda,

    thanks for these many tips and tricks to reduce the electric use. By seeing them in a line, I can see that we have grown a lot in this thing. Most of the tips we allready are doing, it is hard for us to reduse even more. But! I could find one we do not use yet. So? We've learned a new trick today. Many thanks!

  9. It's so important to talk about this, I get mad when I see that ad that says find another electricity supplier who'll save you money, which may be a good step, but no-one talks about reducing our usage..it's our responsibility.

    I had the roof insulated last year, and now, although I've renovated the kitchen and the back is nearly all windows, I spent extra to put in double glazed louvres,with them shut tight the house is cosy. I've not had to use a heater at all yet, despite some chilly days, and I'm surprised at how much warmer my very old weatherboard house is..and if I'm cold, I put an extra layer on.

    I think this has paid off, I pay my electricity by fortnightly installments deducted from my pension, the installment was reduced recently by nearly $15, because my usage has decreased......Nanette

  10. Wow! That is a comprehensive list! Here's a somewhat "out there" addition. We built a solar box cooker to use in the summertime. It wasn't difficult, and it was a fun project.

    We used a modified version of this plan: http://solarcooking.wikia.com/wiki/Minimum_Solar_Box_Cooker. We found that we needed to use glass in the lid instead of plastic. We sloped the lid toward the front of the box to maximize solar gain, and also added some felt around the lid edges to get a better seal.

    Now when it's blazing hot outside, we can still cook casseroles and other things that would normally go in the oven. It saves energy two ways, because we don't have to use power to cook and because it doesn't heat up the house so it saves on cooling costs.

  11. Thanks for that list Rhonda. I thought I'd add one that we were told when installing Solar panels and that was to change the timer on the pool filter so it runs during the night in off peak.
    I need to work out the climate smart thing as it works backwards during the day so night-time is easier to work out correct usuage. if you had a link on how to read the daytime use, it would be much appreciated :)

  12. Kudos for the comprehensive (dare I say massive) list. Craig is also exploring ideas on the net for wind generators (we get a bit here) and he was also telling me that energy suppliers are becoming a little skittish about all the people turning to solar and wanting to put back into the grid. Seems the trend is turning and now they are worried about their dollar lines. I know making electricity isn't a free exercise but it is a shame when they start pricing people out of it's use. Or is it? The silver lining is that when things cost more we value them more and for the planet's sake I do think we need to use less (of everything) anyway.

  13. I swear by unplugging and using flourescent bulbs. My electricity bill has gone down to $11.00 per month! It will probably go up now that I'm using the air conditioneer, but I keep it at 78 degrees during the hottest parts of the year. I'm interested in your solar panels and in solar hot water heaters. I turn my hot water heater off right after my bath or shower. I'm going to look into a solar oven, too. My cottage has lots of natual light and large old fashioned schoolhouse windows. I use shabby chic cotton curtains that let the light in but shield out the hot the sun. I use a blackout shade in the bedroom so the dogs are comfortable while I'm at work. I do my cooking and baking before 8:00 a.m. so the house doesn't heat up.

  14. Thank you Rhonda. We already do a lot of these things but I shall be using these tips for sure!


  15. I am fortunate enough to have a 2kw solar panel system on my roof(as well SHW) and have effectively wiped out my power bill. I changed all my lights to CFL quite a while ago but am now in the process of changing them to LED's as they are much safer and use much less power. There is quite a bit of controversy about CFL's and the cancer causing fumes they emit when in use and as skin cancer is an issue in my family I am not willing to take the risk.
    When I recently tried to recycle my used CFL's I was told that my council had no provision to recycle them and to just throw them in the bin. As this was not an option for me I now have a box set aside to store used globes in and no way of disposing of them.

  16. We need to reduce our power costs but we already do those listed.
    We need to get a more efficient fridge but it will have to wait till we have the driveway fixed properly. I now charge the mobile phones in the car when we go to town saves mains power as the car is running anyway.
    Heating costs don't bother us as we have a wood stove for Winter heating and cooking. The hot water costs us more because we don't turn it off in Winter.

  17. Junst by watching less TV, you reduce your electricity use, but more importantly you create a disconnect between relaxing and watching advertising.
    And the advertising just creates more wants and desires - so read a book and escape into the story - and fall asleep with the pages next to your pillow.

  18. Great timing Rhonda as we start to get cooler weather now in Perth! Keep up the great posts!

  19. For many years now we have used less and less electricity, but our bill got always higher! More taxes, more basic costs (whatever that is), subsidies for solar power etc. Now that the german government has decided to switch off all nuclear power plants within 11 years, the electricity price will surely rise again, so every tip for saving energy is useful.

  20. @ B.: Thanks for mentioning that the Dutch could live more energy efficient. I observerd the same, but everyone around me seems to think that they are doing more than their part in saving the planet.

    Rhonda, thanks for the reminder post. We do many of the things from your list, but although winter seems far away here it is never too early to start working on the insulation. In our rented appartment you can feel a draft next to almost every window.

  21. What a comprehensive list! I can't see me doing ALL of those, but there are several that we could and should be doing. Thanks for the tips, Rhonda.

  22. Great tips. We've been trying to do nearly all of these things. I need to find a better hanger for drying clothes; need a bigger one. Electricity rates and taxes keep going up and up here in our part of the USA.

  23. Rhonda, My husband and I have been employing electricity saving methods for over a year.

    I have switched off my kettle and stove completely and for cooking / boiling I thus use my solar oven in summer (I have a south facing house / garden which receives very little sun in winter) or a two ring gas burner in my kitchen. For baking in winter I use a gas bbq and solar oven in summer. I also use a hay box to keep my solar cooked meals hot until dinner time.

    I also use as many manual kitchen implements as possible (http://ecofootprintsa.blogspot.com/search/label/eco-friendly%20kitchen%20implements).

    We have also turned our hot water geyser down to 50oC and turn it on for a hour a day - I wish we could afford to install a solar geyser...

    We do not own an electric heater - I sold them early last year.

    I have more hints and tips on my blog http://ecofootprintsa.blogspot.com/p/trying-to-make-difference-start-of-our.html and http://ecofootprintsa.blogspot.com/search/label/electricity%20consumption

    With the changes we have made, our electricity bill is the same summer and winter - and is the same as it was last year February, even with a 28.4% electricity hike last year July. Our cooking gas consumption works out to a 9kg container every 2 1/2 - 3 months.

    By the way, we also work from home - so we are there 24 hours a day.

  24. Rhonda, thank you for the list..I'm very curious and will be calling electric company about the lower rates/time of day/night ..

  25. Thank you for doing this post.
    We recently paid more attention to our electricity bills when we looked at installing solar panels.
    We were horrified to discover we would need the $10,000 - 3.0kW system (3942 kWh/yr) and that STILL wouldn't produce enough power to cover us.
    AND there are only two of us!!
    We really need to take a good hard look at where we are wasting electricity!
    Your post has helped heaps.

  26. It is good every now and then to be reminded about electricity use and ways to save both money and energy. I have to say, we live in a 'low solar' area and can only use the clothes line but for a few months in the summer. This also means that we rarely need to use the air conditioner (maybe one week a year). Our area produces hydro electricity that cuts down on production cost which is passed along to the customer. Good tips.

  27. these are wonderful tips Rhonda thank you, I have always been saving on power for as long as I can remember because it's how I was brought up, old habits etc, but the price of power has escalated so much in Tassie it has become somthing that a lot of us can't afford anymore, prices have gone up several times a year for years and are due to go up again next month. Our usage for this Autumn is the same as last Autumn and the bill has more than doubled, and we are very frugal with our usage. Some people we know who are at work all day and using heat pumps only at night have bills around $1400 for twelve weeks!! and that's not even winter. I don't know where it will end, we are literally freezing because we can't afford to heat

  28. Great post Rhonda. Will be coming back to this to re-read.Julia

  29. I'd love solar panels, but agree reducing usage is more important.

    I was left some money a few months ago, and it was enough to buy a reconditioned Rayburn (a range cooker like an Aga) which runs on wood.
    It heats the house effectively as well as being able to cook on it. We have a wood burner in the living room, but that meant we were often burning wood and using electricity to cook dinner. (I still have an electric oven and hob for the summer).
    I'm good at using residual heat to cook pasta, etc, but rubbish at filling the oven every time, which is down to poor planning. Must try harder!

    We do many other things on the list, but I have a hard time convincing DH about 'leaking' electricity from not turning things off at the plug and unplugging chargers etc.

    Still, we're getting there slowly!

  30. Thank you for such a comprehensive list. I know that I need to watch TV less and read more! And going to bed early doesn't hurt, either!

  31. Thanks for all the great tips and reminders. Line drying clothes, now that the rain has stopped, is one energy saver I would like to implement.

    One other advice for heating that we used (I hope I didn't miss it in your post):

    Off our living room there are two bedrooms upstairs that don't get used much during the day so this past winter we hung a heavy quilt in the doorway (there is no door) to prevent cold drafts coming down the stairway and keeping the warm air (from the pellet stove/ or oven if cooking) from leaving the downstairs. When the quilt was down you really noticed the difference. At bedtime the kids turned the baseboard heaters on to take off the chill and then turned them off for the night. Of course it doesn't usually get that cold here.

  32. Believe it or not Rhonda, I've been reading my meters (elec & gas) every day for almost 2 years now. I can really tell when I'm using a power hog, but I use them less often now.
    I received weatherization help from the state of Oregon a year ago, and WOW, can I tell the difference in the comfort level. I had old drafty metal single pane windows; now I have wood and vinyl dual pane and no drafts. I also received a new roof with extra insulation, and under house insulation which keeps the floors a bit warmer. I feel like I'm living high on the hog with a much warmer (in winter) house. I have trouble getting the house to warm up a bit in the summer. It might be 75F-80F degrees outside, but the house is 65F-70F. I know as the temps keep going up the house will warm, but oh so much less.

    Thank you for all your tips! I just now found out about on-peak vs off-peak hours from the Elec Co. I will now pay attention to when I use electric.

  33. as is so happens we got a notice just this month from our power company that rates are going up, and this weekend we invested in an insulation blanket for our hot water heater.

  34. Just like Linda, we were raised to be thrifty with electricity, etc.

    To save on winter heating bills, mist inside of your non-gorgeous view windows. Apply cut-to-fit pieces of bubblewrap to the misted glass. Even with double panes there is still improvement on the heat bill.

    To get a little heat assist in winter, pin black fabric on the curtain lining in sun facing windows. I got a temperature rise of 17 degrees from below the window to above the curtain on a sunny day. Even after the bubblewrap was on the window, it was a 13 degree rise. The black fabric absorbs heat, so return to white curtain lining in summer to reflect heat.

    To get a little heat assist in winter, vent ELECTRIC dryer indoors into an old pair of pantyhose. Block off the wall vent to prevent outside cold air from infiltrating the house. Return to regular outside venting when the weather warms up or return to regular venting if the increased humidity is unacceptable. This tip came from Mother Earth News. Totally SKIP THIS IDEA IF YOU HAVE A GAS DRYER - it would be very dangerous.

    Keep cooking heat outside in summer by using BBQ grill or crock pot on a table outside the back door. I'd love to have a solar cooker, or outdoor wood fired oven/grill.

    Thank you for collecting so much good information all in one place. It makes it easy just to go down the list and implement more savings.

    I've been considering switching from gas hot water, to an electric Marathon(highly efficient), or the more expensive but even more efficient heat pump water heater. Still need to do more research, and magically the gas company and the electric company each have their own views on what source is more efficient. But it would allow the natural gas to be turned off completely except for approximately 5 months of the year, when using the furnace. When it's not too cold, I use a tiny electric heater in the room I use the most, and just let the rest of the house chill.

    Thanks again.


  35. A nice juicy list of tips there!

    One thing - in Australia, it's not recommended (and may not even be legal) to turn your hot water system below 60C. Below 60C, harmful microorganisms can grow and the water becomes a health risk.

    That said, most hot water systems are heating water to well above 60C. I turned my off-peak system down a few years ago, and the usage dropped from around 12-15 kWh/day to 8 kWh/day, which is significant.

    And despite turning it right down, we've never once run out of hot water (with 2 adults and 3 girls in the house!).


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