Our friend Rebecca wrote this post. True to her Scottish heritage, she knows how to save money.
I grew up with the auto night-lights. After moving out on my own, I discovered the green or blue LED (I think they're LED) night lights. They are plenty powerful, even for folks with more limited sight. Think the package estimated you would spend 3 cents a year running them. I've got one for the laundry room and one each for the bathrooms. Only because there are no smoke detectors in those rooms. Our smoke detectors have a green light that is on all the time indicating battery status. Believe you me; those are bright enough to sew by when your eyes adjust to the darkness.
In previous apartments, I had to use the plastic sheeting to cover the windows. They work exceptionally well. Almost too well in one apartment. Toasty toes for everyone, no woolly lined slippers needed!!! There are kits for both inside and outside. I used only the inside ones. I also caulked around the front door and put carpet down to seal the space between the floor and bottom of the door. I caulked around the windows too. Just the sides and top. I have it on good authority not do the bottoms or at least one side because the house has to breathe.
Turning your computer completely off at night will help save electricity. Think I read somewhere that it still draws unnecessary energy even if it goes to sleep mode. Just like the new fangled stereo systems pull juice to 'be ready' when you turn it on. Oh yes, even the speakers on the computer will pull energy when the computer is turned off. When Andrew is gone for more than a day, I run around and turn everything off.
You may find this amusing; however, it's an energy saver nonetheless. I don't heat the bedroom in the winter. I absolutely LOVE seeing my breath in the air when I'm all hunkered down under the blankets. The registers are open during the air conditioning season only. In our new apartment, there are vents between rooms near the ceiling. I didn't realize last year that the air flows through as well as light. I'm going to put Saran Wrap or Reynolds Wrap over the one between in the frosty bedroom and living room. This will help prevent unnecessary furnace running.
Another way to help keep the heat in during the winter and the cold in during the summer is to purchase or have a crafty sewer make energy efficient curtains/shades. All the materials to make them can be purchased at the fabric store. My mom and I use old towels folded or rolled up to keep drafts coming in from the cold bedrooms and front and back doors. Fancy draft catchers can be purchased from a bunch of retail, on-line and mail-order stores.
Also, make sure the humans and various and sundry critters residing in the space are well hydrated. Keeping hydrated helps regulate your body temperature. Therefore, you can lower the thermostat and still be comfortable.
Last but not least, know what you're going to get from fridge before opening the door. Get everything you need at one time. Standing with the door open and trying to decide wastes energy. Because the fridge has to turn on again to bring the temperature down. Same with the freezer.
Make sure the doors close and seal before walking away (personal experience with a non-named party and his dad). When putting food back, open the door once and put everything away. In addition, I've heard the more you pack your freezer, even with jugs filled with water, will help it be more efficient. It doesn't have wasted space to try and cool. The opposite applies to the fridge.
Turning off lights when you leave a room is always wonderful. You can make it a habit if you want to.
Energy can be saved if you limit your trips in and out of the house. This may be trying when you have children, however, they can be trained. My sister and I were. When you're out, stay out unless you need to potty. Take water bottles and keep them outside for when you get thirsty.
These are things the nation did during the oil embargo. And they were very effective.
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