Go Green: 5 Tips for Saving Electricity

After a few weeks of talking about ways to go green, I thought an episode on how to save electricity would be a great way to finish out this green series. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed learning ways to save water, to cut down on the amount of trash you create in your kitchen as well as some environmentally-friendly laundry tips.

If you’ve ever Googled “How to save electricity,” you’ve found out the hard way that there are hundreds of tips out there. Some of these tips are easy to implement, but some of the ways to save electricity that are suggested online are tips like, “Use candles instead of turning on lights.” While this will certainly save electricity, it’s not incredibly practical. That’s why I decided to put together a list of some of my favorite, easy-to-do tips to help you save electricity.

Tip #1: Save electricity by turning off lights

If your parents were like mine, you probably still have a voice rattling around your head saying, “Turn off the lights!” whenever you exit a room. Our parents had it right, because there’s absolutely no reason to keep a light on in a room you are not in. If you can commit to simply turning off the lights in every room when you leave it, you can save electricity immediately.

Whether you are going to return to the room in 10 minutes or 10 seconds, there’s no reason to have the light on while you’re not in the room.

Tip #2: Save electricity by turning off (and disconnecting!) electronics

Just like there’s no use in keeping lights on while you’re not in a room, there’s no use in keeping electronics on while you’re not using them. When you leave for the day, make sure all your electronics are off. This includes your TV, sound system, computer, and any other electronic gadgets you may have around your home.

Did you know that electronics that are plugged in, and not even turned on, can account for 5-10% of electricity used in a home?

Taking it one step further, did you know that electronics that are plugged in, and not even turned on, can account for 5-10% of electricity used in a home? Computers, printers, coffee makers, and even phone cords that are plugged in can be energy vampires, sucking electricity (and your hard-earned money) when they aren’t in use. So you may want to invest in a power cord that you can plug most electronic devices into. That way, you can simply unplug off just one switch when you leave for the day (instead of walking around unplugging things throughout your home). Yes, it might take 2 more seconds of your time to turn the power cord on than simply turn the electronic device on, but it can make a big impact in your electricity bill.

Tip #3: Save electricity by taking care of your air conditioner

If you live in an area of the world where you use your air conditioner a lot, this can play a major part in your energy consumption. If you want to save electricity, there are a few things that you can do to make sure your air conditioner is running as efficiently as possible.

First, have your air conditioning unit serviced annually. Most companies charge a nominal fee to have this service completed. It involves cleaning out the coils and checking for any small repairs that are making your unit work overtime. Next, make sure you change your air filters monthly. These filters catch a lot of dust and dirt, which starts to clog them. The more clogged the filters, the harder your air conditioning unit has to work to get the air to pass through the filter. If your filters are any color other than white, making a slight whistling sound, or worse yet, are bent because they are being sucked into the vent, change them immediately. This change alone will save a ton of wasted electricity from being used to cool your home.

Tip #4: Save electricity by making easy swaps

A couple of quick swaps in your house can help you save electricity. The first you may want to consider is using ceiling or box fans instead of running your air conditioner as much. Oftentimes, just circulating the air in a room will help the room feel cooler. Instead of running the massive cooling unit outside your home, a fan uses about the same amount of electricity as a light bulb. For every degree you can raise your air conditioner, you save about 5% of the energy being used. I live in the desert of Arizona and my fellow dessert-dwellers are very familiar with this technique. It costs an arm and a leg to cool a house in Arizona to 70 degrees, so most people set their thermostats between 77 and 81 degrees and run the fans to do the rest. It keeps us comfortable, both with the feeling inside our house as well as when we see our electric bills!

Another easy change is to switch incandescent light bulbs to fluorescent, otherwise known as CFL, light bulbs. CFL bulbs use just 25% of the energy of regular light bulbs, so when you combine that with always shutting them off, you can dramatically save on your electricity consumption. Just remember that CFL bulbs contain a small amount of mercury, so they need to be disposed of properly. Check with your local government agency to see how they require these bulbs to be disposed of.

Tip #5: Save electricity by keeping nature outside

The final tip on how to save electricity is to make sure you don’t have any drafts coming into your home. If you hold a feather around the edges of your windows and doors, the feather should be perfectly still. If it wavers, that means outside air is getting into your home. The more outside air that gets into your house, the more your air conditioner or heater has to run. Seal up your windows and doors with weather stripping, which is available at your local hardware store and is relatively easy to apply.

Also, during the summertime, keep the sunshine out of your house using room darkening blinds and curtains. By keeping the sun out, especially from south and west facing windows, you will keep your house from heating up, which will do a big part in helping to save electricity.

These are just a few tips to save electricity to get you started. 

Source: quickanddirtytips.com

How to Make a Carpet Stain Remover from Household Items

Using Salt

If you spill any liquid on your carpet, pour salt on the area as soon as possible and watch it absorb the liquid almost instantly. Wait until it dries, then vacuum it up. Salt tends to provide a special capillary attraction that will work for most liquids. There are a few stains that salt will actually help set, however—never sprinkle it on red wine, coffee, tea, or cola!

Vomit Stains

If you have kids, you’ve had to clean up vomit. Baking soda can make the job a little less gross if you sprinkle some on top as soon as possible. It will soak up some of the mess and make the smell easier to deal with when you have to go at it with the paper towels.

Ink Stains

Ink stains on the carpet? Make a paste of cream of tartar and lemon juice, and dab at the stain. Let it sit for five minutes or so, then clean with a damp cloth.

Red Wine Stains

What’s the easiest way to remove red wine spills from your carpet? Try applying a bit of shaving cream (after checking that the carpet is colorfast), and letting it sit for a minute before wiping away. Shaving cream will also work on grease stains.

Coffee and Tea Stains

Coffee stains can be frustrating, but you can get them out of your carpet by pouring beer on them. That’s right—just dribble a couple of sips onto the stain, and it should vanish. Dab up the extra beer with a paper towel, and if the coffee stain doesn’t go away completely, repeat the task a few more times. This trick works on tea stains too. Alternatively, to remove coffee stains from carpet or clothing, rub a beaten egg yolk into the spot, leave for five minutes, then rinse with warm water.

Grease Stains

If you’ve got kids, you’re guaranteed to end up with a grease stain on your carpet. The big thing to remember is to not touch the stain at all—don’t sop it up, wipe it, or do anything else. Instead, pour a large amount of cornstarch on top of the spot and gently stir it with your finger. Let it sit for a day, and make sure no one walks on it. The next day, use your vacuum cleaner’s hose attachment (the plastic one, not the one with bristles) to suck away the cornstarch. The stain should be mostly gone, but if it’s not, repeat this action until it completely disappears. You can then use the brush attachment to clear away the last remnants of cornstarch.

Burns

Here’s how to eliminate cigarette burns in your carpet: First, cut away the burn mark. Then, cut a bit of carpet from an area that’s covered by a piece of furniture (such as under a couch), and glue it carefully over the burnt spot. Finally, yell at the person who caused the burn in the first place!

Pet Stains

If your pet accidentally peed on your rug, and it still smells like urine after you’ve cleaned it, try deodorizing the spot with club soda, which contains odor-fighting minerals. Pour some on the area, leave it for five minutes, then blot and allow to dry.

For more cleaning tips for around the house, check out our Cleaning Tips board on Pinterest. And don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter and follow us on Facebook for our Tip of the Day!

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Source: quickanddirtytips.com