I'm a full-time wife and mom of two adorable boys. When I'm not busy trying to keep up with them I enjoy photography, traveling, planning parties and a little bit of reading.

In February of 2008 I was diagnosed with an incurable terminal lung illness, though God promised me a full and complete healing. While we wait for His timing, we're taking it one day at a time, and standing in awe of how God's using all of this for His glory. The tough road we've traveled has given us a new perspective on the fragility of life. Memories are more important to us than ever before. The goal of this blog is to share some of our family life - the ups and downs, the joys and probably some of the pains as well. It's mostly meant as a personal journal of sorts, but you're welcome to share in it. We'd like to take this opportunity to say ...


Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Electricity ... the rest of the story

I got an email (I guess blogger has restrictions on who can / can't post a comment?) from someone commenting on some other electric-saving changes that we should consider. They had an excellent point, so I've decided to share with you other "changes" that we had already been living with before our recent crack-down on wasteful spending.


- I do all of my laundry in cold water. The only exception to this is when someone's sick - I use hot (and Clorox 2) to help kill any germs. There's no reason to waste electricity heating water just for laundry. Since I started doing this, probably 7 or 8 years ago, I've found that my stains even come out easier - I guess the warmer water helps to set them. This is actually something my Grandma taught me years ago.

- Something else that helps is to only do full loads of laundry. I read somewhere recently that a full load uses an average of 21 gallons of water to wash/rinse, and a small load uses 14 gallons. This also will save on your water bill (obviously).

- Drying some clothes on a drying rack. I mostly do this with just sweaters - they take so long to dry in the dryer, and sometimes they shrink in there too. If I had a lot of gumption, I'd dry everything on a rack or a clothesline. But we're not allowed to have a clothes line in our development, and inside is just too much work for me, especially these days. Also, I don't like the feel of crunchy clothes, though I have learned with my sweaters that if after they're dry I pop them in the dryer with a dryer sheet for 5 minutes they're soft and static-free!

- The curly-q light bulbs.

- Make sure our air filters are changed four times a year! This makes the furnace/air conditioner not have to work so hard, and it also cuts down on allergens in the house. I never thought this was such a huge issue until we lived in a particular apartment a few years ago. After living there for the better part of a year, a maintenance guy came in and changed it, and when I saw him take the old filter out, I was so grossed out! The stuff stuck to it was AN INCH THICK! Suddenly after that we were getting less sick, and our electric bill actually saw a bit of an improvement too!

- We live in a new townhouse, so it's insulated pretty well, but in previous apartments I'd roll up a hand towel and keep it against the window on each windowsill all winter. This really, really cut down on drafts, and obviously the heating bill too.

- All of our appliances came with the house, and they happen to be Energy Star ones, or at least all the ones I bothered to check are. But when we decided to buy a chest freezer this past year, that was something we paid close attention to - that yellow tag hanging on it saying how much electricity it should cost to run.

- Turn down the heat when we go out-of-town - no point keeping an empty house a beautiful 71 degrees! In one previous apartment, we had oil heat, and were told that it was cheaper to keep it at a constant temperature, though, because it burned more oil to rewarm itself back up than it saved by turning down the heat. But then, that was our oil bill, not our electric bill.


- I've read that we can turn down the temperature on our water heater to 120. Apparently this still gives hot water, but it's not scalding hot. It takes less energy to heat your water if it's not getting quite as hot, duh. This is something we're going to experiment with this coming week.

- I also want to find out if our electric company charges more of electricity during "peak" times of the day. If so, then by all means, I'll make a point to do things like run the dishwasher during "off peak" hours!

- I have looked in the circuit breaker box (which in our house is incredibly accessible) to see what is on what switch. But I still need to check with a girlfriend's husband who's an electrician before I flip the switch to turn off things like our stove and dishwasher. I want to make sure that doing that on a regular basis won't wear out a fuse, or something weird like that.

- My laptop pulls a lot of electricity, and currently it's turned on in the morning before I even have my coffee, and stays on all day till we go to bed. I'm debating changing this and only turning it on two or three times a day (and even unplugging it in between) instead. We'll see, though.... "Hello, my name is Julia, and I'm addicted to the internet!" Aaron keeps telling me that I need a blackberry because of how much I'm online, but I don't want to pay that bill either. Sigh.

- We'd love to switch to solar power, but at this point it's not realistic (or allowed in our development). But this is something that we both want to look into for our next place. I have no idea how much it costs, all I know is that it doesn't take that long (relatively speaking) to recap your costs.

Any other suggestions of what you've done, that you'd like to share with the rest of us who have decided to cut back, save money, and help the environment too?

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