Whether you want to be energy efficient and or save money on your electrical bill, the savings benefits are multifaceted. If you cut your electric costs, you save on your electrical bills and you help the environment. The area’s in which I would like to most help you cut your electrical costs are those that will cost you the least. There are other ways to save on your electric bills, but some require that you spend more dollars upfront in order to do so. My objective is to help you cut electric costs without buying newer energy efficient appliances or spending large amounts on electrically efficient fluorescent light bulbs.
Money saving fluorescent conversion light bulbs are a great way to help you save money on your electric bill, however many people will bypass these due to their higher out of pocket expense. Spending $35 bucks or more for 5 light bulbs just doesn’t seem very cost effective, and it’s not too appealing. Esthetics are another factor that could effect the conversion choice, guys you should check with your wives before you make this kind of choice. Personally, I am more interested in being cost effective than looks effective. You generally can get enough light from fluorescent electrical savings bulbs that equal the lesser efficient incandescent bulbs. So how do you use these more electrically efficient bulbs without burning a hole in your pocket? The answer to this is to become more aware. Start initially by understanding that you generally won’t find the best deals on these electric savings bulbs at your nearby hardware store. Like anything else, it is possible, but the only way to know is to check the prices when you have the opportunity. Personally, I have found that the best cost effective purchases are at grocery stores and savings stores such as big lots. I want to save on my purchase, save on my electrical usage, and save on my electric bill. So by being aware and always looking while you are at the stores you can find the deals that won’t burn a hole in your wallet. When I find the cost effective deal, that is when I make the purchase. I would much rather pay $10 dollars for ten electrical savings bulbs than spend $50 to $70 on ten bulbs. I have actually found deals on these in which they come in 3 packs of electric savings bulbs, rated at 15 watts, for one dollar! So the key on conversion begins with purchasing the bulbs when the price is right. I am quite happy to stock up a little when the prices are a dollar a bulb or less.
At the time of writing this article there is one light bulb on in my home. It is a 13 watt fluorescent conversion bulb in a table light that has a light shade. Nobody knows the difference, except me, and it saves 47 watts. In our half bath there is one of those strip light electrical fixtures that can host up to three 60 watt light bulbs. I only use one 13 watt bulb in there because it is small and my wife is happy with it. But just from a wattage comparison, most people would probably use three 60 watt incandescent light bulbs totaling 180 watts. If I were to use three 15 watt fluorescent savings bulbs I would only be using 45 watts, that is a significant electrical savings depending on the usage.
In the dining room there is a chandelier which hosts six 40 watt light bulbs, sure it looks nice but it consumes 240 watts. Instead, we have a pole light which stands about 6 feet high in the corner. It has one 18 watt fluorescent savings bulb that is covered by a half globe cover. So when it is on, we are saving 222 watts of usage over the chandelier fixture. In the kitchen the lights are 40 watt fluorescent tube lights that are recessed within the ceiling. There are four of these so that equates to 160 watts. It just so happens that someone put up a ceiling strip above the kitchen sink which can host up to two 60 watt bulbs. So I put in two 15 watt electric savings bulbs in that fixture and we avoid using the recessed lighting. The difference is hardly noticeable because the lights are not recessed like the tube lights are. If I wanted to, I probably could pick up two cheap ceiling light fixtures and replace the fluorescent tube fixtures. This would enable me to use four 15 watt savings bulbs and still be happy with the light that comes out because I would use an adapter that would increase the single fixture outlet to a double bulb fixture outlet, which would move the bulbs closer to the ceiling light covers. This would make more light come out because it’s closer to the actually covers. I would guesstimate that would probably cost me about $40 bucks total, because I would be doing the work. But because we are able to use the strip light above the kitchen sink, I am happy with that.
In our bedrooms there are ceiling fan fixtures which can host up to three 60 watt bulbs. In each of these I have removed the standard bulbs and replaced them with one 15 watt electric conversion bulb. That is a savings of 165 watts per room at the cost of $1 dollar a bulb. In the main bathrooms we have bulb fixture strips which can host up to six 60 watt light bulbs, that is a total of 360 watts. As it turns out my wife is happy with one 15 watt electric savings bulb that is placed above the sink that she uses. It’s plenty of light for me, plenty of light to shower by, and due to it’s location, plenty of light for her to put her makeup on. This renders a savings of 345 watts of usage when the light is on. Even if we were using six 15 watt fluorescent bulbs, we would still be saving 270 watts, at the total out of pocket expense of $6 dollars. Now factor in the fact that the fluorescent electrical savings bulbs last 7 to 10 times longer, (on the average), than standard bulbs, it’s actually more cost effective to save by buying the fluorescent bulbs, (when they are on sale). I would suggest that you avoid buying the fluorescent bulbs that are enclosed though, (to actually look more like a standard bulb), because they do not seem to last as long.
In the garage there is a shop light fixture that someone put up, it uses two 40 watt fluorescent tubes. There is also one regular ceiling light fixture that this plugs into and one light inside the garage door system. I replaced the garage light, changing from a 60 watt bulb to a 15 watt bulb, for a savings of 45 watts. Then I unplugged the fluorescent shop light fixture from the ceiling light fixture and replaced the plug-in adapter with a 2 way light adapter. I put in two 15 watt electrical savings bulbs, which saves 50 watts on electric costs. The laundry room was a quick swap from a 60 watt to a 15 watt fluorescent. At this point I have saved myself a total of 1274 watts of usage, without really incurring any additional costs, because I save on my initial purchase, and the fluorescent bulbs save on replacement costs.
In some locations you may also be able to save on your electric bill by getting a free thermostat installed by your electric company. Some offer these so they can actually save energy during peak usage periods by controlling your air conditioners usage for a short period of time, (generally 2 to 3 hours). The neat thing about this is that the free thermostat is programmable with a number of presets. This allows you to set the temperatures for different times of the day. Rather than having to manually control it, you can just program it at different time periods. During the hot summer months I have these four programming presets; 77 degrees from 9am to 7pm, 75 degrees from 7pm to 11pm, 72 degrees from 11pm to 3:30am, and then 75 degrees from 3:30am to 9am. I have a difficult time sleeping when it’s warm, so if it gets too cool for my wife she just uses a light blanket. Most everyone knows they can save money by changing or keeping their air filters clean on the HVAC systems. I found it is best to check it every 2 months during peak usage seasons. A dirty filter can cost you significantly if you don’t replace it, it can be much more costly than the filters cost.
Another way to save on your electric bill is to periodically check and clean the coils on your refrigerator, (for safety reasons, unplug it first). With my fridge unplugged I can use a shop vac to clean the dust from the coils, too include the coils near the compressor. Pending your location, you can also cover windows that get a lot of sun exposure. I have actually used white copy paper to cover the windows, and many use foil. Sure you can use solar screening and or tint your windows, but I am trying to save without additional costs. The white copy paper is far cheaper than foil, it looks better from the outside, and it is easily covered by drapes or blinds on the inside. Of course, this could a bit of a pain for larger windows, so you could consider getting a white plastic drop clothe from the hardware store, (for about $5 bucks) and sticking it up under your curtains, but as close to the windows as possible.
The other thing everyone can do is to be more conscious of unnecessary usages, like turning off lights when we are not in use. Turning off computers rather than letting them run all day, besides the computers have parts in them that will wear out. You could also check the coldness setting of your refrigerator to see if you can turn it down without sacrificing your ice cream’s condition. Also, always remember to clean your dryer lint trap or screen before or after each use. Here’s to hoping that you will save on your electric bill without emptying your pocket book!