Friday, June 19, 2009

Learning to use less electricity (50 ways)

This month it is our goal to see how little electricity we can use. I thought it would be a fun challenge as it would make us aware of how much we rely on it. It also would help us learn ways to cut back and do with less. I also thought it would be fun to see just how much money we might be able to save.

Currently I believe our Electric bill is around $150 a month. We get a statement each month that shows how much we used from the 19th of one month to the 19th of the next. It also shows how much was used the year previous. We are starting today to try to be extremely efficient and I will be reporting on various things we do and then when we get our statement I will share how well it actually went.

Here is a list of ways that we can save on electricity. I am putting the things we have already been regularly doing in GREEN, things that we have been working on but we want to improve at will be BLUE, things that we want to try will be TAN and things that can save on electricity but are not our style or I don't think we will be attempting for some time will be RED.


  1. When cooking with pots on the stove, keep lids on them. This conserves a lot of energy and so you use less. Also match the pan size to that of the burner.

  2. Keep the microwave clean (inside) to maximize efficiency. (This maybe should be blue, but I'll go with green!)

  3. Do all the baking on one day(each week). I have done this fairly well with my breads and desserts but for this month I want to only turn the oven on once a week total.

  4. Don't bother pre-heating the oven. For most things it is fine to stick the stuff in immediately.

  5. Use a crockpot instead of the oven. Microwaves are also more energy efficient.

  6. Use a solar oven. (We recently made one from boxes and have been doing a little experimenting but have quite a lot to learn still. )

  7. Turn off pots of food that have lids shortly before they are done cooking and let it finish cooking with the heat that is still there. Also turn off the oven slightly before the stuff is done baking.

  8. Cook outside over a campfire. We have grand plans for all sorts of cooking and baking.

  9. Unplug the toaster and other appliances when not in use.

  10. Become a raw food vegan and you won't have to cook anything! (this is not in our future.)

Other Kitchen Stuff

  1. Don't stand with the Fridge open while you contemplate what to make for supper.

  2. Thaw frozen foods in the fridge. It thaws much slower but it helps cool the fridge in the process.

  3. Keep fridge and freezer full. (Even with jugs of water or ice)

  4. Allow leftovers to cool before putting them in the fridge.

  5. Raise the thermostat on your fridge. (a lower number) It might not need to be as cool as you think. You don't want food to spoil though either.

  6. Clean the condenser coils on the back of the fridge.

  7. Defrost your freezer.

  8. Check the seals around the door to make sure they are nice and tight.

  9. Run only full loads in the dishwasher.

  10. Don't use the Dry Cycle on the dishwasher. (You can open the door to allow them to air dry.

Around the House

  1. Don't leave the TV going. Our general rule is that only Ken turns it on and that is generally just in the morning while he exercises and at night before bed.

  2. Lower your hotwater heaters temperature to 120 degrees.

  3. Try to use the Air conditioner as little as possible. It is always my goal to go all summer without it. (Though I wouldn't try it if I lived in some southern climates!)

  4. When it is hot see how warm you can manage and when it is cold see how much you can layer on instead of heating.

  5. Skip using electrical entertainment or music. Make your own instead.

  6. Change the filter on the air conditioner/furnace every month.

  7. Unplug things like CD players, lamps, etc when not in use.

  8. Turn off computer when you won't be using it for an hour or more. Even if you don't turn it all off, turn off the monitor.

  9. Flush your hot water heater every 6 months. He explains it here.


  1. Wash your clothes in warm or cold instead of hot and use a cold rinse.

  2. Skip out on ironing.

  3. Run only full loads of laundry.

  4. If you use the dryer use the Moisture sensing setting so that it will automatically go off when they are dry rather than just drying for a certain amount of time.

  5. Empty the lint trap on your dryer with every load.

  6. Rewear your clothes so you don't have to wash as often. Use towels over too.

  7. Line dry your clothes. I do this quite a bit but I want to do it more. I would like to get it so I only dry one load per week in the dryer which would be Ken's dress shirts so that I don't have to iron them.

  8. When you do use the dryer, run loads back to back so that the dryer is still hot.

In the Bathroom

  1. Skip using a blow dryer.

  2. While you are at it, skip the curling iron or straightener too.

  3. For baths, don't fill it full of hot water. A couple of inches works just fine for the kids.

  4. Take shorter showers. My normal shower is 6 minutes. This month my goal is to get down to 4 minutes or even less.

  5. Rinse off in cold water. I have heard it is good for your hair. I am sure it is invigorating for you too!


  1. Change to florescent bulbs. (We do still have a few that aren't, but most of them are.)

  2. Don't use high wattage bulbs where they aren't needed.

  3. Don't leave outdoor lights on unless someone needs them.

  4. Do without night lights. (this is just a personal preference as we don't feel the need for them.)

  5. Keep lights and fixtures clean so what you do use, is efficient.

  6. Turn the lights off and enjoy the natural lights from the windows.

  7. Spend time outdoors in the natural light.

  8. Enjoy supper by candlelight. (I am really enjoying the candles held up by pebbles in a clear vase. I saw the idea in a book and am loving it - you can see the pictures above.)

Do you have any ways that you like to save on electricity? I would love to hear them!!

For more Money saving tips visit Frugal Friday.

Here are some helpful links:


Miranda said...

I can't wait to hear how this goes! We finally had to turn on our air. The humidity here is a monster and no one was sleeping. However, we keep it set between 80-82 and run fans to keep the air circulating good. That way the air doesn't come on very often. Just enough to stay comfy.

Abbi said...

I am hoping it goes well too. This week seems like we have been very busy and I feel like taking shortcuts. Oh well, I am determined that this will be a fun challange, not something I stress about. This afternoon we ended up turning the air on too as it has been quite warm as well as very humid! (the humidity was above 70%)
We had some mold growing in our downstairs bathroom and Ken decided the humidity was more than we needed. I am hoping the air can go off again soon and I am glad we live in MN where it isn't neccasary all summer long.

Devon said...

Hi Abbi! I'm new here, but these are great suggestions! I was pleasantly surprised to see how many I was already doing. I didn't know about the pot lids and burner size, though! Thanks!

Hannah said...

Sure, you'll save on electricity, but candles don't grow on trees! Other than that, a most comprehensive list!

Kika said...

I have a question: is it really beneficial to unplug all electric devices (ex. toaster, lamps)? I thought it was just those which have a clock or remote system/timer that would continue drawing phantom power.

Linda said...

I love this post! :)

One thing I'd like to warn you about though, is running dryer loads back to back.. we tried that, with the result that our dryer broke down due to over-heating.

We had to call in a mechanic (fortunately still in warranty for us) which would be a lot more costly than the dryer expenses ;)

Greetings from the netherlands!

Abbi said...

Thanks for all the comments!

Hannah~ You are quite right that candles don't grow on trees. We happen to have a large stash of them (that I have found cheap, been given or made) and so I thought it would be fun to use them a little more. Mostly though we haven't had the need for any light during meals as we have a lot of windows and in the summer it stays light late.

Kika~Thanks for the question but I am not really sure. In my looking it up I find some places say one way and other the other way. I am sure that appliances such as computers make the most difference when you unplug them. I have heard for fire safety it is best to unplug your toaster and lamps anyway.

Linda~ Thanks for the warning concerning dryers overheating. I hadn't heard that before.

Rohit said...

I am a sixth grader looking for ways to cut down on energy because of a school initiative. Your website really helps!

Greetings from Canada

Unknown said...

We installed a programmable thermostat. It really lowers your energy consumption, automatically lowers temp at night etc...!

Anonymous said...

use a programmable really helps!


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