50 + ways to use less energy

Many times we tend to forget this is a prepper site meant to help people with information that can and will help them along the path of the “prepper” lifestyle.  So while talking to some folks about absolutely mundane issues on subjects on the BOOB tube, which we don’t watch to much of and so we were trying to keep up when they were talking about the show “the Voice”. We said we only know of that show because it comes on before the show “the Revolution” which we decided to take a look at for this season. That turned that conversation about Dick into a specific topic. They said ” Oh so you watch that show” and as we were waiting for the obligatory so you are Prepper question, they blurted out “Man we love that show , it helps us think about what could happen” BAM!!! a Conversation starter.

WE said “That is why we watch it as well and although I can see it’s crammed full of a bunch of poop it helps me explain what our plan would be should such an event happen” Raising a toast to those who have come before and those who care enough to prepare today we started talking about things that we can do today that can help us tomorrow. I remembered this article that was written and how some applies and some doesn’t but gives us pause for thought. so the conversation led to 50 ways to use less energy written by  Felicity Hannah on Mon, Nov 26, for finance UK. It was written to help the folks in the UK at winter time to save energy. Well the UK ain’t got the market corner on trying to save a buck. So I am referencing here article and adding some Piratey common sense.

It’s getting colder and energy firms are busy pushing up prices and you are fooling yourself if you think it is not going to get worse.  With winter being the time most energy is used, and speculators hiking the cost of energy to bang out a profit those hikes are likely to hurt customers just in time for Christmas. In fact, prices are getting so tough that nearly nine out of ten households plan to ration their energy use this winter, according to a poll by a price comparison site. So, we’ve been looking at ways homes can ration their energy use by cutting back. Some of these are big, some of them are small, and some you’ll be doing already – but they’ll all add up to a more efficient home that’s cheaper to run. So while these may be some common sense ways you already practise there may be some that you haven’t and who don’t want to save some scratch to prepare for the high food prices heading our way. So here are some suggested free ways to save on your heating bills and energy usage from her article and some additional comments by the “Dawg”

1. Close the curtains – Windows aren’t as insulated as walls, so draw the curtains and keep the cold out. Don’t let the curtains drape over the radiators or vents and draw the heat out of the room. Letting drapes hang over your radiators or vents also can prematurely brown your curtains and in some instances of open flame radiation furnaces can catch fire. Some will argue about the exchange of energy of the heat loss versus the energy used by having to illuminate the room but there is no comparison.

2. Turn the thermostat down or up if it’s the summer months. This reminds me of a comedian that once said “We spend all winter trying to heat our houses to 70 degrees or more and all summer to below 70 degrees.” We also recommend programmable thermostats, NOT the ones controlled by the energy companies but rather the ones you can pick up at the home improvement stores so that way you control it. It absolutely makes no sense to heat or cool your humble abodes when you are not there. Program your units to start to bring your desired temps about an hour prior to you getting home and you will pay for the device in a season!  Drop your home’s temperature by just one degree and the Energy Saving Trust reckons you could save up to £65 a year on energy. Considering how fast they are devaluing the dollar that should be about 32 million a year but don’t quote us, just enjoy the saving mate.

3. Keep the radiators clear – If you have the space, try to avoid putting a sofa in front of the radiator as this blocks the heat from the room. When Radiators are mentioned here it also can be construed as vents to those who have central heat and air units so stay focused mate. A simple test if you think that it doesn’t make that big of a deal then try this; close your mouth and cover your nose with your hand for approximately 2 minutes. Not enough to clamp off your air but just enough to restrict your air flow.  You can still breathe but it’s a bugger and you strain for a good breath of air and so does your unit when you block off the air.

4. Put a shelf over your radiator – If you have high ceilings then adding a shelf just above the radiator can help deflect warmth into the centre of the room. We use things called defectors for our vents.

5. Put on a jumper – Finally, of course, there’s the old-fashioned ‘use less’ approach. Don’t expect to wear a T-shirt in the house in December, add a jumper, run the heating for an hour less a day and see if you notice. I don’t know about all this “jumper” business I just say put on some clothes mate we are all naked underneath them so if your cold put more on…..if you are hot take some off until you are nice and comfortable. WHAT? You say you just don’t look sexy! Well think about how much more attractive you’ll look with money in your pocket mate. Think of how sexy you are when the pounds you gain are from the stacks of cash you saved. Think I’ve gone over board? Well how do you think the phrase a penny saved is a penny earned came from? I don’t know either but it sounded good.

6. Turn off the lights – Get your family in the habit of switching off the lights when they leave the room. If you can’t get it across to them unscrew the light bulb and when they complain say we will have to get another one in a few days.

7. Ditch the ‘standby’ button – By turning equipment off instead of leaving it on standby, you could save as much as £86 a year, according to the Energy Saving Trust. Here is a suggestion that actually works and was tested and proven by The Pirates Republic Trust. Put everything that draws electricity and that does not have a motor, element or compressor such as pumps, stoves or refrigerators on an electric power strip and when you are finished just flip the switch to off. So you effectively kill the entire standby power in one action. Since we don’t have VCR’s anymore the clock wont flash 12:00 at us when we power it back on. Those of you who do actually still rely on a VCR then my apologies but it is probable blinking 12:00 at you anyway. you get the point.

8. Only charge until the battery’s full – Avoid leaving phones on charge unnecessarily, it can still waste energy. Even leaving the chargers plugged in waste electricity because the transformers or inverters in the charger is still powering or at the ready stage for use thus wasting electricity. Do I need to remind you how sexy you are with stacks of cash????

9. Check your TV brightness – The factory settings on TVs are often too bright for homes, meaning you’re wasting energy. Experiment with a lower setting. Or try not watching TV or if it is a must then get skilled on using a DVR and only record shows that you are interested in. Lets face it many times the TV is only on for back ground noise……the first step of recovery is admitting there is a problem! If you opt for the DVR option then when you do watch tv then you can watch only the shows that interest you and then be disciplined enough to turn it off. No commercials or crap just what you want, by cutting out the commercials and promo’s you get to the 11.3 minutes of programing you had wanted.

10. Buy a laptop not a PC – If you’re in the market for a new computer, a laptop typically uses around 85% less energy than a new desktop machine, according to the Energy Saving Trust. also the battery of the laptop can be charged by a solar panel or pad and if the power is interrupted, your laptop will not just go BLANK providing the battery is in good condition. Also the laptop can be charged off any 12 volt system.

11. Defrost the freezer – Make sure your freezer is running to its maximum efficiency by regularly de-frosting it. Also it is important to have a full freezer so if you don’t have enough food to properly fill the freezer then fill some jugs of water and place them in the freezer. It takes less energy to maintain the frozen ambient air within the freezer if it has less of the “DEAD AIR” within the freezer. As a side note you can also use the frozen containers of water as ice substitutes in a cooler for game day or if a power outage does occur you can use them as emergency water supply or to help maintain the temperature in the freezer until power is restored.

12. Cut food up smaller – By reducing the size of your food, you reduce the time it needs to cook. This is a nasty trick my mother used to deploy when she was tying to stretch a meal out. Cut it up into smaller pieces and there is more air surrounding the food thus making the meal appear fuller. Restaurants use this tactic today as well. They say it also helps with weight loss as well.

13. Stuff your freezer with newspaper – If there are empty drawers in your freezer, try filling them with scrunched up newspaper. It’s better insulation and will help it use less energy. Sometimes I don’t know what the hell those Brits are doing over there but if you want to try this then go ahead but we already addressed using water and the advantages. If newspaper is your thing then hey who am I? I am just saying you cannot eat or drink frozen newspaper, but I guess you could argue its value if you are out of toilet paper …..hahahahaha talking about freezing your arse off mates!

14. Cook in batches – One way to fill the freezer is to cook batches of food and freeze portions. This can also use less energy. can’t argue this one

15. Plan ahead – Save energy by de-frosting food overnight in the fridge instead of microwaving it. Or if you have a solar oven and time is not on your side you can defrost with it. I don’t like a microwave anyway because it changes the molecular structure of the item you are de-frosting but that is another article.

16. Avoid putting hot food in the fridge – Let it cool down first or your fridge will need to use more energy to stay cool. If time is an issue then put the dish in the freezer for about ten minutes or so because hot molecules freeze faster and more efficiently than colder ones. then take it out and place it in the fridge, thus not using as much energy but try to remember to take it out or you will have a grand supply of gravy popsicle’s.

17. Keep the fridge door closed – Teenagers are the worst for this! Encourage your family to only open the fridge door to remove or replace things, not browse. Tie a small cord around the doors handles. If that doesn’t help them remember then tie another cord around their bedroom doors, cabinets and so forth it is a subtle way to remind them.

18. Plan your kitchen carefully – If you have space, keep your fridge or freezer as far away from radiators as possible. we call them vents. This will keep the amount of dust and dirt that will eventually find its way into the coils of the refrigerator which reminds me to remind you to keep your refrigerator coils clean. This can be done with a vacuum cleaner and the movement of you fridge.

19. Only boil what you need – Get in the habit of only boiling as much water as you need – it can help to keep the kettle empty and measure water in using a mug. Be careful to cover the heating elements though. However, if you do boil too much don’t throw it down the drain, go ahead and just put it into a pitcher and put it into the fridge for drinking or water some plants with it.

20. Avoid flooding veg – The same goes for boiling vegetables; just use enough water to cover them so you don’t boil water unnecessarily. Same thing here mates if you do have too much water then use the access to water your plants.

21. Choose the right pan – If you use the right sized pan for your cooking ring, your food will cook faster and more evenly. This also helps reduce the risk of injury or fires by having the least amount of heated surface exposed.

22. Boil in the kettle, not the hob – If you need boiling water to cook with, use the kettle and not the hob as it’s more efficient. I don’t know what they hell a hob is but I like boiling water in a kettle mainly because of my propensity to be distracted by shiny objects and the kettle starts a whistling then it brings me back into focus. Tea anyone?

23. Position the pan right – Don’t waste energy and risk a burn by letting a pan sit wonkily on the hob. Is it weird I understand Wonkily but still have no clue as to what a hob is?

24. Switch the oven off – Depending on what you’re cooking, consider turning off the oven before the timer goes off. Lots of food will keep cooking as the oven cools. Amen sister seems food will even cook if you take it out of the oven totally or approximately 15 minutes before timer goes off turn off the stove and wait (don’t keep opening the door, no matter how much you will want to)

25. Use a steamer – By using a steamer with several compartments, you can cook more than one vegetable using just one pan.

26. Keep the oven door closed – Don’t linger with the oven door open, you’ll use more energy as it replaces lost heat.

27. Fix drips – Leaking taps waste water and leaking hot taps waste energy. it seems more of a daunting task than it actually is. Most leaks are a simply washer fix. turn the water off disassemble the faucet replace the washer. assemble the faucet and ta-da leak fixed. if not then replace the house.

28. Shower, don’t bath – It’s faster and cheaper than a bath. Encourage teens to take more showers but less time in the shower.

29. Shave time off your shower – If everyone in your home cut their shower time by two minutes a day, you could save £20 a year according to E.ON. Teens boys may require …NAY the stench will demand a few minutes more!

30. Use your plug – Don’t just run the tap while you need hot water, it’s a waste of energy. Put the plug-in and use what you’ve got. or fill a pitcher with the water and use for drinking or watering plants……or waking up those stubborn teenagers. hehehehe.

31. Don’t crank up the water temperature – Set your thermostat to 60°C, that’s fine for a hot bath. Scalding water on tap is wasteful and could be dangerous if you have kids. We suggested that you not take a bath so…….

32. Fill the machines – Don’t run your washing machine or dishwasher half empty, make sure it’s full and use an economy programme if it has one. We use the dishwasher as a drainer for our hand washed dishes save energy and the energy is from a renewable energy source (teenager).

33. Use the sun – When the weather is dry, hang wet clothes outdoors rather than on the tumble dryer. It doesn’t need to be hot to dry clothes quickly. We also hang our clothes on lines in green houses and sun rooms. May get some raised eyebrows if unexpected guest appear on underwear day but may warrant a smile as well.

34. Don’t drape the radiators – It’s so tempting to hang clothes on the radiators to dry but this makes the boiler work harder and costs more. Let alone any fire hazards

35. Clean your filters – If you do use a tumble dryer, make sure its filters are regularly cleaned so it’s operating as efficiently as possible. you can also use a worn out pair of panty hose on the exhaust vent of your dryer it serves several purposes

1. it will provide an extra source of heat when you run the dryer.

2. it will put back humidity into the air preventing wood cracking and dry nose bleeds and skin irritations do to dry heat.

3. the panty hose will trap the lint produced by the dryer while allowing the moist hot air to pass thru. the lint can be used for fire starters if need be just clean out the panty hose after every dryer use. it is simple to clean just turn the panty hose inside out and pull all the lint off and put into a plastic bag or a container of some sort to keep it dry. Then put the panty hose back on the exhaust vent of the dryer. Bam! happy furniture, happy noses, happy dryer, happy cozy house and a fire starter to boot I would say that was a WIN /WIN mate’s.

36. Use eco-balls – Adding eco balls to a tumble dryer helps the clothes dry faster by making gaps in the washing for the heat to circulate. Better yet make eco balls out of wool or yarn. they just need to be heavy enough to bounce around in the dryer banging around on your clothes. Heck we used to cut the legs of blown out jeans and tie them into balls and AHOY mates some beater balls bouncing around spanking our clothes.

37. Wash at 30 degrees – Many modern washing powders work just as efficiently at 30 degrees as they do at higher temperatures. Since I don’t have a thermostat at the faucet we just wash our hands over a container and then use the used water to water plants, they don’t seem to mind.

38. Hang up worn clothes – Reduce your laundry pile by asking your family to hang their clothes up after wearing them, so they’re suitable to wear again. Of course if you ask your teenage boys to do this you would have to do laundry for weeks at a time but the down side is there will be a odoriferous stench coming from their respective rooms. They don’t seem to mind going out in public looking like bridge dwelling trolls but you can control if they smell like it, eco-friendly or have your children put on a coats for kids list, it’s your choice.

39. Buy an efficient fridge – When you come to replace your fridge freezer, buy a highly efficient model. This could save you up to £36 a year according to British Gas. Hey gas on this side of the pond aint cheap either sister but there are other possibilities for the prepper minded folks for example Propane refers or even solar fridge’s can work. I even seen the designs of a clay pot refer they are using in the third world theatres.

40. Install radiator panels – Some people believe that attaching these to the wall behind radiators helps reflect heat back into the room. According to EDF this could save you up to £60 a year on your heating bills. I am assuming she is talking about heat deflectors but I will have to let her have this one but maybe you Yanks Know what she is going on about eh?

41. Exclude drafts – Adding draft excluders to your windows and doors could save around £25 a year on heating, according to British Gas. In America we call this caulking or sealing up the gaps which does save so much energy it is not funny.

42. Cover your keyholes – If you use letter box and keyhole covers, you reduce draughts even further. I use a key so this is not going to happen but I will say this we went around to every light switch and electrical outlet and stuffed insulation around each box because when installed the insulation was installed in bats and is not conducive to forming around boxes so we pushed insulation into the gaps with a wooden tongue depressors and this worked great. You could use the expandable foam but that is flammable and subject to spark ignition and I wouldn’t risk it on my ship!  I did use the Blue can of expandable foam for around windows and the doors. Also keep in mind that a house is designed to have some airflow through it as to prevent to growth of mold so don’t get to crazy on the airtight household.

43. Replace your bulbs – If you still have any old-fashioned light bulbs in your home, don’t wait for them to blow. Replace them with energy savers and start reaping the benefits – The Energy Saving Trust says that switching to an energy saver could save you as much as £45 over its lifetime. They have made leaps and bounds of technological advancements in LED bulbs. I like the flourescent bulbs if they do not require you to change out your housing just to fit properly. The cost of LED lighting was what was prohibitive at first but even that has moved to our advantage. So if you can afford the LED bulbs the cost benefit is most realized with that product.

44. Insulate your walls – If you don’t already have it, installing cavity wall insulation could save around £135 a year, according to the Energy Saving Trust. This seems like a no brainer but we deal with a lot of clients that still have slatted walls and literally paper insulation. The R-factor resulting in about a .5 from outside walls to interior room. People that is absolutely STUPID. you will realize the cost of the insulation in a year of seasonal changes. Forget saving the world and you just concentrate on saving yourself some cash-a-roonie.

45. Fill your loft – The same goes for your loft – adding insulation could save you as much as £175 a year. Saving on insulation is apparent no matter the location. Do it, save money! Any questions?

46. Insulate your immersion tank – Any insulation helps your home work more efficiently, and insulating your immersion tank keeps water hotter longer. turning off your water heater when you are not there and programing it to come on an hour before you come home works well. Also having it shut off say when you go to bed is a keen idea as well. When you wake up at night you don’t need hot water to flush a toilet or getting a drink of water. and as the toilet goes……..if its yellow let it mellow if its brown flush it down….. just a saying mates don’t get your brass monkeys in an up roar!

47. Buy a more efficient boiler – When you next come to replace your boiler, make sure it’s a highly efficient model. Changing from a G-rated boiler to a new A-rated condenser could save you £300 a year, according to the Energy Saving Trust. Good advice for you boiler people. For our clan we suggest efficient units of any type the higher seer rating the more savings you will realize and the quicker you will recoup the cost of the unit or units.

48. Clingfilm your windows – No, not actual clingfilm. You can buy clingfilm-like film from DIY stores for a couple of pounds. Securing it to single-glazed windows can reduce the heat lost. For us American Think of “CLing Film” as the UK version of a large thicker piece of Saran wrap. truth is you can use any thick plastic to put over your windows and it will work as well. the premise is to stop drafts which can be done by simply caulking the gaps around the windows and doors and then placing the plastic which will act as a vapor barrier or a dead air space that does not transfer the Thermal temperature forward or back it is after “DEAD” air.

49. Seal your floorboards – You can even insulate your floors. Most DIY stores sell tubes of sealant, allowing you to seal up gaps between skirting boards and the floor. I disagree with this one as it is written. If it were written like this {seal up the air leaks that make it through your floor boards} because as previously discussed the house needs airflow as not to promote mold growth. if you have a house built upon a raised foundation then air vents are purposely cut into the foundation for that very airflow. but you can take thick mil plastic and staple it along the under side of the floor joist  this will in effect do the same thing as covering the windows with the plastic as previously mentioned. It effectively creates a dead air space that the thermal air cannot penetrate easily. You say you have a  house built upon a slab foundation you are not excused from airflow. Although you need not worry about the exchange of air for mold issues except in the roof and walls but just like the raised foundation families you too must be concerned with proper airflow as it not only helps detour the growth of mold but air flow also in both housing foundations proper airflow helps with eliminating radon gas build up. Seal gaps and drafts but allow proper airflow for your own health.

50. Monitor your energy – Knowing how much power you’re burning at any one time can encourage you to cut back, so fit an energy monitor. you can get these at any reputable DIY store it is easy to connect or couple and when done so it is specific to the device it is coupled to giving you an accurate reading of specifically what each device is using in energy. This is good information to have for general knowledge as well as what you can cut off when not in use.

 

1 Comments to “50 + ways to use less energy”

  1. Salty Dawg says:

    Don’t get your knickers in a twisty mate.

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