Keep looking indoors. Energy (and water) tips (part three, 11-15)


Winter means spending more time indoors.  Even if you are a winter outdoor enthusiast you still hang out a lot inside the house, So why not think about saving some energy with a few of those things you take for granted everyday. They all add up, even if you can implement just a couple of these ideas.

11) Take a look at your appliances. How much coffee do you drink?  Most of us need our morning coffee, but are you fixing a cup or two every morning in a 10-12 cup coffee maker? Consider getting a smaller coffee maker. They use less energy and brew your coffee faster. One that drips directly into a thermal carafe, or to-go mug will not require a second heating element for the pot, saving even more energy.

12) Stem the flow.  Ok, this is one that can be used any time of year, but since you have savings on your mind now maybe you should take a look at your showerheads. There are water saving showerhead options that can cut the current government standard in half and still provide a decent shower. Saving on water saves on the electric or gas used to power your water heater. So, measure the flow rate, here’s a quick way to do it:

  • Turn the fixture on to its normal position as if you were taking a shower
    • Place a good sized container under the fixture so that you can collect all the water for 15 seconds
    • Measure the amount of water in the container with a measuring cup and determine how many gallons of water you collected.
    • Multiply that amount by 4 and that will give you your gallons per minute flow rate (if you happened to collect .75 gallons of water  your gallons per minute flow rate would be 3.0 GPM (0.75 x 4 = 3.0 GPM).

13) Let’s not flush it all away.  Did you know that only 3 percent of the world’s water is fresh and only a third of that is available for us to use?  It’s ironic that we are flushing much of that right down the toilet consuming 40% of the water we use in our homes.   Maybe it’s time to consider installing some water saving devices or replacing your older toilets with an HET (high efficiency toilet) that can save about 60 percent, or more per year.  Even if you decide not to make that switch, make sure your toilets are not leaking.  Leaking toilets waste can waste hundreds of gallons of water a day.

14) Take care of the cracks. The air between the inside of the house and the outside can add up to 10 percent to your heating or cooling costs for every one degree difference.  Caulk and weatherstrip where needed.  Infrared sensors used to be expensive gadgets that only professionals owned. But you can buy one for less than $50 and to look for cold or hot spots around your house.

15) Have a party. Radiators and space heaters a terribly inefficient when compared to natural gas and heat pumps to heat large spaces.  And their use emits more greenhouse gases.  A fun way to warm up your home is to invite some friends or family over.  Every visitor in your home is the equivalent of adding a 100 watt heater.  Unfortunately, this is not a good long term solution.

Share your energy and water saving ideas with us by commenting.

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