Now, we are far from experts in this area but, as requested by some of you, I figured I'd share the things we changed or cut back on, to lower our energy bill, and some other things we've been working on for that matter.
1 - Turn Your Dryer Off - Josh installed a clothes line outside. I love it! It actually helps me keep up with the laundry. As soon as I rotate the dry clothes and the wet ones I'll fold them and put them away. The only time I even use my dryer now is for 1 load of underwear and socks, if I don't have room for them on the line or to lay flat to dry somewhere.
And no, it doesn't take any longer on a breezy, "un"humid day to dry than in the dryer.
2 - Turn The Lights Off - We've been working hard on teaching our kids to turn lights off when they aren't in a room. It helps that it is lighter for longer outside, now that it's spring, and that we have LOTS of windows. We rarely even have to turn lights on before 8pm.
3 - Wash With Cold Water - I know this isn't always practical, but I ALWAYS wash with cold water. If there is something that just will not come out I might consider warm water, but cold is much more cost efficient and works for us.
4 - Set Your Thermostat - Keep your air conditioner set on 78*(where is that blasted "degrees" symbol?) I'm not a temperature nazi, but we are very conscience of the tempterature in the house. It REALLY makes a difference. Don't worry, if you come to visit we'll adjust it to make it a little more comfortable if you start sweating. Sorry daddy, we'll do better next time:)
5 - Get Some Fresh Air - I am a window girl and will keep our windows open as long as possible, unless their is pollen bowl sweeping in;)
6 - Turn The TV Off - We rarely watch TV around here. The only shows we watch are Lost and 24 and it's rare when we can actually catch them on the nights they air. We can watch them for free any other time during the week on our computer. Therefore, when we moved in we cut the cable (the 7 extra channels we actually had for basic cable were in spanish anyway). We got one of those converter boxes and have 33 channels now, for FREE, and I even get a weather channel with that! Did I mention that it's FREE?!
Anyway, that's just one thing you can do. We try to keep large appliances off if we aren't using them.
7 - The Rule Of One - I learned from a friend that you can cut costs by only running one large appliance at a time. For example, if you need to do laundry AND take a shower AND run the dishwasher, spread them out and do just one at a time.
8 - Wait For A Full Load - Wait to wash dishes or laundry until you have a full load.
9 - Turn Your Water Heater Down - Depending on how drastic you are with this one, you could even save on your water bill. Cold showers don't tend to be as long;)
I'd love to hear of some other ways that you and your family work to lower your energy bill.