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There are many ways in which your house can become a power and energy leech but with a few simple changes you can save on bills and cut down on your footprint. these are just a few tips that I have run across and most are common knowledge but i feel it is necessary to state them here because i didn't some of these. plus this is my first ever Instructable so be nice. i am entering it in the Earthjustice United States of Efficiency Contest so please vote.
 
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Step 1: Lights

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as everyone knows CFLs or compact fluorescent bulbs are the best way to take a chunk out of a few bills at once but there are a a few ways to make those bright beauties work better for you.

1. a CFL on there own reduce electricity use by around 75 percent depending on the bulb itself but the effectiveness of the bulb is cut by about 25 percent by being on dimmer switches and tend to burn out a lot faster than normal bulbs.
(edit: as valhallas_end said it is not a good idea at all to put CFLs on a dimmer only bad things happen like burning the bulb out or hitting the breaker.)

2. similar to dimmer switches, electronic timers tend to cut the life of the bulb as well.

3. for those lights you use the most often or you want to leave on for long periods of time LED light bulbs are a great alternative to the normal incandescent and the even the CFLs. plus LED bulbs last a lot longer than normal light bulbs.

4. in the theme of not leaving lights on motion sensor lights are the best, they turn on only when you pass and turn off seconds after you have left, little to no energy wasted.

Step 2: Your electric stuffs

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granted we all can't go weeks with out using our computers but the power fiend that is the personal computer can tend to suck the life right out of you went you see that electric bill. but there are a few ways to go green and save some green too.

1. use the energy saver that is built into every operating system and things will start to turn around for you.

2. turn off power strips or even unplug them when an area such as your desk or home theatre is not in use. it saves a lot and those stereos always use a whole bunch o' energy when they are in stand by mode.

Step 3: Appliances

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may appliances use a lot of energy but only when they are actually in use. but even that can be cut into fractions.

many homes around the country have a standard washer, dryer, freezer and refrigerator.

the washer and dryer are in general very efficient but can be made even better with a few changes. when you wash your clothed use cold water for the rinse cycle warm water does not get your clothes any cleaner.

most are top loading which means that the drum that holds the clothes has to spin very fast to get all the water out that it can. the new style of front loading is not just cool looking but is more effective at getting the water out and uses less as every thing will eventually hit the water it uses less and can generally hold more with out damaging the unit and thusly last longer. plus using more of a load a can save in the long run by using less loads and that means less water.

hanging your clothes for a bit before the dryer can cut a long dry time in half if the clothes are only damp not soaked. if a load is mixed with heavy and light items let the heavier items line dry for longer and put he light items in first to save on drying times.

Step 4: Appliances cont.

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the freezer and refrigerator have a long history of keep everything cool and collected from beer to pizza and beyond like the thing in the back you can't actually remember putting in there. but any who, just turning off the fridge is both a bad idea and totally unnecessary.

in the freezer scrape off that frost that build sup on the sides as it cuts down on the effectiveness of the freezer and can actually kill the freezer faster than if it didn't have a big layer of frost. check the seal on the freezer door it could be leaking out and chilling down the house which makes your AC have problems which is also covered in another step.

check the cooling settings, the fridge does not need to be frozen and the freezer does not need to be like Antarctica to be good at freezing stuff.

cleaning the coils to the fridge every once and a while and the unit will stay alive longer and be more effective.

Step 5: Heating and cooling

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using the ac when it is sweltering is to be expected but 60 and sunny turn it off and open the windows.

at night it is a widely used practice to turn down the AC about 5 to 10 degrees it saves on the bill and makes your bed that much more comfortable at one in the morning when your foot escapes the covers and shrinks back in.

weather strip the doors. don't go as far as duck tape and concrete but making sure your windows have good non corroded weather strips every year is a good way to keep the cool out in winter and in in the summer.

use your windows! on sunny days open the blinds to let in the natural warm and it is free!

make sure your AC is clean and prepped for the season ahead if you do you wont be sorry.
rsingh34 years ago
Thanks for the tut! I plan of converting diesel engines to bio diesel over the next few months. Ill probably buy a new engine off of http://www.actionsalvage.com/diesel-engines.asp or something. MY main hangup right now though is finding sources of fuel.
lemonie6 years ago
Not serious enough. How about getting rid of the dryer and AC altogether? (genuine question, as once our ancestors lived without them) L
tealpsyclone (author)  lemonie6 years ago
they are only in there because this is not about going back to the stone ages or medieval times. it is about how to live more eco friendly in a world of technology without going back to stick and stones. I do see where you are coming from though.
I'm assuming that you live somewhere in the USA - not a country founded in the stone ages or medieval times. Air-con' and dryers, like cars are relatively modern and so much a part of the modern world that people have difficulty imagining living without them. This is one reason why energy consumption is so high. L
tealpsyclone (author)  lemonie6 years ago
true i do in fact live in the USA, near chicago. around me it is almost impossible to make a living with out cars or your standard appliances live washers and dryers, when it is about two and a half miles to the nearest bus stop and that only takes you to chicago. so cars and the at home appliances are more important to the people in areas like mine. but everyone can take some helpful hints from this. where do you live?
I've added my location to my profile.
Yes, the USA with such a large amount of land has grown around cars - it does make life difficult when you can't walk to the shop.
But if it's hot enough for AC, you'd think clothes could dry outside on a line, or is it quite humid too? I use the line when it's not raining... I don't have AC, but it seems that Chicago can get quite hot - you must be glad of it.

L
tealpsyclone (author)  lemonie6 years ago
I live in a town called mchenry just out of reach of the lake effect cooling and breeze but in the middle of nowhere enough to cook like a hotdog when the temp can get up to about 100 with about 75 to 80 percent humidity. drying outside is a fruitless effort. with jobs being more scarce now than ever cars are a must. and i like the hot i am originally from Texas but not this humid nasty can't breath heat or the negative air temps that cuts the air out of your chest kind of weather.
Put clothes on a drying rack or drying line indoors easily done in even the smallest apartments or houses. I got rid of my dryer years ago. It's a huge energy waster.
My dad used to complain about Charleston, but that was only the occasional business trip. L
tealpsyclone (author)  lemonie6 years ago
to be totally honest i have no idea what that means.
Charleston - it's a city in the south (USA) can be very hot and humid too - heard of it? L
tealpsyclone (author)  lemonie6 years ago
oh yeah in south carolina i rarely leave illinois but i think i have been in the area. like around hilton head in south carolina too. why would your dad hop the pond to the us; what does he do?
He's retired but he visited here a few times, in connection with turbochargers:
http://marine.cummins.com/mrn/public_cummins/home.jsp?menuId=0

L
tealpsyclone (author)  lemonie6 years ago
thats cool go him.
PKM6 years ago
Mostly good advice. I don't know it your suggestion to "get the chisel!" in step 5 was tongue-in-cheek, but that's not a good idea- if you damage your freezer coils you will fill your house with nasty chemicals and need a new freezer. The best way to deice a freezer is time, plenty of salty or warm water, or if you are feeling brave pointing a hairdryer into it (making sure to keep the electricity away from the water). If you defrost it regularly, though, the ice is more like packed snow than solid ice so you can just brush it off- one of those "a stitch in time" moments.
tealpsyclone (author)  PKM6 years ago
it was a joke, and yeah the best way i found was to just either leave it off for a while or just use salt water and a wire brush.
There is only one warning that should be mentioned. Right now, only highly specialized (and far more expensive) CFL bulbs can be used with dimmer switch bases, so if you need a dimming bulb, buy Cold Cathode Fluorescents (CCFL). If you try a CFL in a dimmer base, you'll burn the bulb almost instantly (known from accidental experience) or blow your house breakers (rarer, but the fuse ratings on the CFL are disturbingly lower than incandescent).
tealpsyclone (author)  valhallas_end6 years ago
actually i was trying to say don't put them on dimmer switches but i couldn't think of a stronger way to say it but good to know i have never had it happen to me.