We think our four year old has Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD); at the very least, she functions more happily if she has plenty of light in the winter. This means we keep lights turned on every day, all day throughout the dark months. Keeping the electric bill reasonable during this time, then, is a concern. But here are a few ways you and I both can use our electricity more efficiently.
* Always turn off the lights when you leave a room. Teach your children to do this from the moment they are tall enough to reach the light switch.
* Don't let your dishwasher go through the dry cycle. Let the dishes air dry, instead. This can save 15 to 50% in electricity.
* If you use electric heat and your children are old enough it doesn't pose a safety problem, leave the oven door open after you're done baking. It will help heat the room.
* If you heat with electricity, heat only the rooms you're in and put on sweaters and socks so you can keep the temperature cooler.
* Refrigerators are just behind air conditioners in home electricity use. If you have an older refrigerator, try to replace it with a new, more efficient one.
* Turn off the television when you're not sitting down and watching it. Get out of the habit of having the tv on as background noise.
* Up to 95% of the electricity used by a washing machine may go to heating the water. Wash everything in cold, unless it is covered in dirt or feces.
* Clean the lint from the clothes dryer after every single load; it takes clothes longer to dry if the lint trap is even a little dirty. Or, if you live in a dry climate, use a clothesline.
* Try placing two dry hand towels in your dryer. This may reduce the drying time of your wet laundry by 20 minutes.
* Some power companies offer cheaper rates during certain times of the day. Give your power company and call and see if this is true in your area. If so, you can save significantly by washing dishes and clothes during these hours.