Top 10 Timp for Better Home Energy Conservation...

Dear Friend:

#1 - In your car, use fuel saving techniques like driving slower and coasting more. Most people haul ass up to a red light and slam on the brakes. Not only does this waste gas, but it wears out your brakes faster too. And, trust me, brake jobs are expensive these days. A great energy conservation device is the "Instant MPG" function on my Jeep's computer control panel. It's amazing how many MPG you can get if you just let off the gas pedal when you know you are coming up to a red light or stop sign or a turn. After coasting for 1/4 mile, I can still be traveling at 40+ MPH and be getting over 75 MPG! It's also amazing how far a car will coast without slowing down too much. If you are going 65 MPH, you can coast for half a mile or more until it is time to turn or apply the brakes. For more information on extending your MPG, visit

#2 - Get rid of those PHANTOM LOADS! A phantom load is a device that uses power even though it is supposed to be turned off. This is a great home energy conservation tip. Any appliance with an electronic clock is a phantom load. These appliances with clocks keep the device's power supply "alive" just to give us the time which is very inefficient. Devices with a remote control are also phantom loads because they sit there waiting for the on signal from the remote. Ever seen a device with a "wall cube"? That's the small box at the end of the AC power cord that plugs into the wall - it consumes up to 50% of the device's rated power supply even when the appliance is off! Just unplug these devices or hook them up to a surge protector strip that contains an on/off star

#3 - If you are planning to purchase a new appliance, look at the Energy Guide labels to compare annual operating costs with other models. Also, look for appliances with the Energy Star label for the best energy conservation. Remember to turn off entertainment appliances, such as televisions, stereos, and DVD players, when no one is in the room.

#4 - Turn your lights out when not in use. It's absolutely amazing how many people ignore energy conservation completely and complain about high energy costs, but they have no problem with leaving a light on when nobody is in the room. Also... consider replacing your lights with compact florescent or LED lights.

#5 - Use the energy saving setting on appliances such as washers and dryers. Wash and rinse your clothes in cold water. String up a clothes line and air dry your clothes. About 20% of household energy consumption is due to heating water. Lower the thermostat to "low" or 120 degrees F. For every 10 degrees you lower the temperature you save 11% on heating costs. Homes with dishwashers should keep water at 140 degrees F. For every degree you lower your house thermostat in winter, you can save 3% on your heating bill.

#6 - Seal up the largest air leaks in your house - the ones that whistle on windy days, or feel drafty. The worst culprits are usually the utility cut-throughs for pipes ("plumping penetrations"), gaps around chimneys, recessed lights in insulated ceilings, and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets.

#7 - Install water flow restrictors and aerators in sink faucets. These measures can save you money by reducing water use (including hot water). Turn your faucets off all the way. Just one drip a second from a leaky faucet can waste up to 200 gallons of water a month. Replace worn out washers. Do as much household cleaning as possible with cold water rather than hot. Rinse dishes in a tub of clean water instead of under hot running water. Take showers instead of baths. A five minute shower uses only about one-half as much water as a bath. Install low-flow shower heads. They cut the flow of water by 40 to 60%. Water conservation is energy conservation!

#8 - One easy way to cut heating and cooling bills without sacrificing comfort is to set your thermostat down 10 degrees at night. Air conditioning costs, too, can be cut by setting the thermostat up 10 degrees on those summer nights. This can be done for you automatically each night and reset to the normal setting each morning by an automatic digital clock-controlled thermostat. This is a great energy conservation device that every home should have - you can get them at Home Depot. A once-a-day nighttime setback of 10 degrees can save 12% - 16% of your present heating costs!

#9 - Consider practically free alternative energy options like solar water heating and solar ovens. What could be better than energy conservation that uses no energy at all!  Solar water heating is so easy, a 13 year old boy could do it... see last month's newsletter about Garrett Yazzi's homemade solar water heater. The simplest solar water heaters I have ever seen were on top of the houseboats on Lake Fontana in North Carolina. They just had a coil of black flexible pipe or hose sitting on top of their houseboat. The sun would heat the water in the hose and it would be plenty to take a hot shower with. You should also consider building a simple solar oven and making use of it. It can literally be done with a few pieces of plywood and a small sheet of glass. These items are available just about anywhere. I recently spent some time in the Philippines and hardly anybody there owns an oven or has hot water. Ovens are expensive and require expensive propane to operate. Hot water heaters are expensive too. But with half a day's work with a hammer and some nails, the Filipinos could be baking bread, cakes, and cookies by lunch time using the plentiful, free sunshine that they have there year round. For more info, just visit our newsletter about solar water heating and cooking.

#10 - Use curtains and shades on your windows appropriately to keep your home warm during the winter and cool during the summer. For energy conservation in the winter, open shades to let the warm sun in where it can shine in. Keep shades and curtains closed in the winter where the sun does not shine in so the warm air will stay inside. Of course, keep them closed at night during the winter and summer. In the summer, you'll want to block the hot sun from shining in.


Bill Anderson