7 easiest money and energy saving tips at home

Here are a few of the most common sense, and therefore, easiest to follow ways to save energy and therefore save electricity around the home. Of course, energy costs money, so if you’re saving energy, you’re saving money, right?

So, let’s all be kind to mother nature and save money while we do it…

I can’t believe I actually used a line like that… let’s just save money…

Please note, this is not a scientifically proven article. As I’ve said, it’s mainly common sense. If you disagree, or feel like adding to these ideas, please leave a comment below.

Fridge

Your fridge is working hard all day and night, working harder when it’s warm outside and when it’s full. In most fridges there’s a dial on the inside which regulates how cold it keeps your food. You don’t need to turn this all the way up. And in winter I tend to turn it lower than in summer.

Another thing is, most modern fridges have a button on the outside which says “holiday” or “vacation”. This is for you to press when you are going away for a while. The reason is because when you are at home, you keep opening the door to get something out of the fridge, which lets the warm air in and the cool air out. But when you are on holiday, this isn’t going to happen. So you can set the fridge to use less power to keep your food cool.

Lights

Use a CFL light bulb to save energy, even in your lamp shadesAs I’ve mentioned in my other article on CFL light bulbs, you can save energy by replacing your current light bulbs with the low energy bulbs. I especially recommend that you do this for any bulbs that you keep on for more than 3 hours at a time, like garden lights, patio lights, or front door lights.

Because CFL light bulbs don’t get as hot as normal bulbs (hence their energy saving capabilities), I’ve also placed small CFL bulbs into my bedside lamps. When I’m reading in bed, the lamp isn’t that hot next to my face, and if I need to move it, I won’t get burned. These are also really great if you’ve got plastic lamp shades…

Geyser

The geyser uses a LOT of power to heat up your water. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a “holiday” button like your fridge. Though it should. So, when going away for more than a couple of days, I turn the geyser off at the house’s main power board (the electrical mains). It might be a coincidence, but when I turned the geyser off for a week, my electricity bill was almost 30% cheaper.

Hot water

Carrying on from the geyser is the fact that, using more hot water means the geyser needs to warm up more, which means using more power. A quick and easy tip is to use the shower/bathroom nearest the geyser, mainly in winter. The reason behind this is that water from the geyser will need to travel through the pipes to the taps, losing a lot of it’s heat along the way, until the pipes have warmed up.

And, when you’re finished, a lot of hot water will sit in the pipes, cooling down. This is water that you will probably just “pour down the drain” next time you shower/bath until the water warms up.

Here’s an experiment: Run the taps in the bathroom closest to the geyser, and see how long it takes for the water to come out hot. Now do the same for your other bathroom. I’ll bet there’s quite a difference.

Electrical Appliances

Just like the geyser, a lot of your electrical appliances don’t have “holiday” modes, so how about turning them off when you go away. Here’s a list of things that you might benefit from by unplugging them from the wall (especially if your home is in an area prone to lightning storms):

– TV
– Computers and laptops
– Networking equipment like wifi routers, if you use them
– Kitchen appliances like toasters, microwaves, kettles, etc…

Remember, even if something uses a small amount of energy, it all adds up.

Kettle

Save electricity by boiling just enough waterThis one is an OLD one. But probably the most obvious here. If you’re making coffee for one person, put one and a half cup’s worth of water into the kettle. If you’re making coffee for 2 people, put 2.5 cups of water, etc.

It takes a lot less energy to heat up one cup of water than it does to heat up 4. AND it’s a lot quicker… 🙂

Washing dishes

This is something that’s going around on an energy saving TV advert here in South Africa at the moment. It doesn’t make logical sense, but I thought I would add it anyway because it makes my laziness justified.

Apparently it uses a lot less energy and water to wash dishes in a dish washer than it does using the normal, manual process.

Unbelievable as it sounds, it’s probably if you wash your dishes with the water running to rinse your dishes, and if you stock up the dishwasher until it’s completely full.

So, do you have any other electricity saving tips or tricks?

23 Replies to “7 easiest money and energy saving tips at home”

  1. Is water well pump a good translation for geyser?

    It is amazing how often we use different words while speaking the same language.

    If your well pump is running more frequently than it should your accumulator tank may be out of air. The top one third of or so of the tank should be full of air. It acts as a spring to keep the water pressure up reducing the number of times the geyser pump kicks on. With enough air in the tank the pressure changes slowly. Good idea to shut if off when no one is there.
    Any leak would waste water and power if it was not noticed soon.

    Great article I enjoyed reading it. I’ll look around your site to see what else is interesting.

    Birney Summers
    Energy Boomer
    http://energyboomer.com

  2. Hi Birney. Thanks for your comment… No, the geyser I’m referring to here is the “boiler” that warms up the water in the house. If you know the definite term for it I’d definitely love to know it…

    Though your info will surely help people running a water well pump

  3. There are some great ideas here. I’ve enjoyed the read and kudos to all for the proactive mindsets. Some other tactics to consider are: 1) Caulk around all windows. This will cut down on the air outside “leaking” into your home. 2) Insulate your water heater or geyser. It sounded absurd to me at first, but I tried it after I read about it in a personal finance magazine, and it works. 3) If they are in your budget, you may consider puting solar screens on at least the east and west facing windows of your home. We have 90 Percent UV blocking screens on all four sides of the house, and have seen a significant drop in our energy costs.

  4. Hi Nathan. Thanks for your ideas. The more the merrier. 🙂

    I actually completely forgot about sealing the doors (and windows) properly. That is quite a MAJOR modification that will save energy. Especially in winter, where evereybody turns up the heaters because of the cold drafts. Get rid of the drafts, and the heaters won’t have to be turned up so high.

    Thanks again… Excellent points.

  5. When running a portable electrical or gas heater, close off all rooms that you are not using to only heat the rooms that have people in them.

    Put weather strips at the bottom of external doors to prevent cold drafts coming in.

    Plan meals around using less stove plates (stews, stirfry, curries, mixed veggies, etc).

    Wait until you have a full basin before washing dishes rather than a spoon here and a plate and cup later.

    If you fill your freezer with water bottles (emptied 2 litre plastic cooldrink bottles are best) then the freezer turns on and off less often because the ice in the bottles keep the freezer cold… These also help for power outs to keep the freezer contents cold and at parties when you need more ice simply smash the bottle with a hammer outside on some concrete and then slice the plastic open to have crushed ice.

  6. Great tip from Wayne about 2 litre cooldrink bottles. I use silver wine bags (Papsakies) as they last longer than anything else because they are covered in foil. I have left perishables in a Coleman cooler box in my car boot while going off hiking for four days and still came back to fresh food! That was in the height of summer! There was even a small chunk of ice in the bag. If you wash the bags well, you can use them for your favourite cold drink (non-fizzy of course) and save on packing space.

  7. Pingback: More energy saving tips » Easy Money
  8. How does using solar screens affect in-house temperature during winter? Will it not be colder than normal, requiring more heating?

  9. Hi Penny. I can’t give you any real scientific facts, and of course, the usual “most geysers are different” story.

    But I do know that it can take around 3 hours MAX for my geyser at home to be hot enough. But I don’t think we have a very big geyser…

  10. I don’t know the exact time a geyser takes to warm up, but i have installed a timer on my geyser at home. First i set it to come on for an hour in the morning and again in the evening. It worked ok, but wasn’t really hot enough. Then i turned it up to come on for an hour and a half twice daily and that works magic. I am busy doing an energy saving presentation for my work and i found some really interesting facts, like if you leave your Fax/Photocopier on at night, you wasted enough energy to photocopy 1600 A4 pages. Great topic and site you have here.

  11. Hi Chris.

    Thanks for the compliments. And anything you can share from your presentation would be GREATLY appreciated.

    If you want to write an article about your presentation, that would be even better 🙂 I’m sure out of the 300 or so subscribers and 600 or so other visitors a day, SOMEBODY would appreciate it (along with me).

  12. James,

    I like your article very much. I am starting a new blog that coincides with your approach about saving money by saving energy and such like. (Please check it out if you’re interested: http://moneygreengood.blogspot.com/.) I have chosen to take the objective approach to living “green,” which means I am attempting to appeal to all readers by using a common idea: We like money, money is green. So that’s the type of green that I’m promoting, with a natural result of the living green that is the common concept of “green” these days.

    I hope you don’t mind if I link to your article. You address a lot of what I planned on talking about, so it would save me some typing to link to your page.

    Again, great suggestions. I look forward to reading more. =)

  13. I think most people would agree that saving money is something “easier said than done”. Personally, I believe it’s a mind-set that needs to be developed by creating good money-saving habits.

    Here are some things I’ve done to help change my spending habits:

    – Cooking more at home ? Eating out is very expensive especially if you do it a couple times a week
    – Shopping online ? You can find better deals than in the store and you save on gas
    – Paying the full balance on credit cards each month ? Interest charge is like giving away free money
    – Don’t forget to pay yourself ? Set up an online savings account (they pay higher interest than a normal savings account)
    – Setting a budget and goals ? It’s good to have your goals written down so you see them everyday and don’t lose focus on your ultimate objectives

    Again, saving money requires a lot of patience and hard work. However, you’ll thank yourself later on in life. Good luck everyone!! =)

  14. The ongoing question. To save energy, is it better to leave your geyser on, or to switch it of after you have showered and it has heated up? Which is the best?

  15. I’ve heard it said that if you live in a cold climate, it is not a good idea to turn your geyser off because it takes a lot of energy to re-heat. Whereas, in a warm climate, the geyser should retain some of its heat naturally, and therefore not need as much once you turn it back on.

    Anybody else tried this?

  16. I have heard that it takes the same amount o energy to put on a phlorecsnt light as it dose to leave it on for 4 hours so if you are going to be in and out of a room it is more eficient to leave it on than to keep puting it on and off

  17. On an episode of Myth Busters, they actually proved that this was VERY far from the truth. It is a lot better to turn off all lights, regardless of what type they are.

    It was an awesome episode that I actually have saved with the intention of putting up the stats they found. I guess I should do that soon now…

    But in a phrase used often by South Africans, “I’ll do that now now”.

  18. I just want to know how we can save energy while we are not on holiday? We unplugg everything when going on holiday. My problem is saving energy and water while at home.

    Thanks,

  19. Can switching of your geyser for a week (1/4th of a month) bring down your electricity bill by 30% (Notice: which is greater than 1/4 or 25 % of the bill)?????

    From a logical viewpoint, impossible…

  20. Yip, you’re right. Except, I only turn my geyser off for that long when I go away, which means I’m not using the TV, the oven, the kettle, the fridge door stays closed, etc. etc…

    So, the geyser being off might not actually be a very big part of the 30% saving.

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