Our Tips for Cutting Back On Summer Electric Bills

Today two Facebook statuses caught my eye.
The first, from a friend, who lives in the humid coastal plain lowlands of Israel read:
“It is so hot that my perspiration is puddling around me! June’s here, thank G-d for the blessing of A/C! Never mind that my electric bill will shoot up a few hundred percent!”    
The second, from The Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel (AACI), was a repost of nofryers.com’s reminder to Israelis to register for summer savings on our electric bill: 

Register to save up to 20% on your summer 2013 Israeli electric bill – No Fryers

nofryers.com

For the second year running, if you reduce your electricity usage compared to previous summers, you will receive special incentive credits.

 
At our home, up here in the Jerusalem Hills, despite the current heat wave, we are saving electricity.  Admittedly, it is easier to do that in the hills where our humidity levels do not approach those of the coastal plain lowlands.  But no matter where in the country you live, there are ways in which all of us can reduce our electric bills. 
Here’s what we do in our home:
1. After the last rain and sand storms of the season (usually after Passover in April), Jay goes up to the roof and thoroughly cleans our roof top solar water tank’s  “Kol-Team” (sunshine collectors).  A few years back we learned that squeaky clean “Kol-team” make it easier for the sun’s rays to penetrate through the glass and increase the amount of naturally heated water that is available.  Clean “Kol-Team” means that from late April until mid October we don’t need to use electricity to heat our water.
2. We have switched the majority of our light bulbs to “compact fluorescent light bulbs” and, where due to the design of the fixture we haven’t been able to switch we have diminished the use of those lights. Since our home has many large windows we don’t turn on the light during the day and in the evening we do our absolute best to remember to turn off the light when we leave a room. 
3. When not in use we disconnect ALL of our chargers from the outlets. Cellular phone chargers, small appliance chargers, laptop computer chargers, all of them are piggishly hungry for electricity. Our rule is that ‘gadget chargers’ are plugged in only when the gadget is attached and charging…no gadget attached we disconnect the charger.
4. We have installed “smart” outlets and power strips with easy access “on-off” switches. This makes it easy to turn off cable boxes, computers, computers’ router, television and all of the audio/visual equipment in the house. 
5. Our kitchen/laundry room is STILL our principal electricity waste area.
a. The refrigerator is close to 18 years old and we are certain that it doesn’t save any energy – but we just can’t see tossing out a perfectly good piece of equipment.  We do our best to work around that by being sure that we keep it full.  We have learned that food acts as insulation and reduces the amount of time that the refrigerator’s motor needs to run in order to stay cool.  We also strive to remember mother’s sage words “close the refrigerator door, its not an air conditioner!”    
b. We are still looking for a way to attach an easy access power strip to our microwave and electric oven because we have realized that the keeping them plugged in all the time just so that the digital clock will be accurate consumes electricity.
c. In the laundry room: where possible we run the laundry in the morning and line dry our clothes.  Thing is that we love soft towels for those we still use the dryer.  Recently we picked up a tip from the internet: “Place a clean dry towel in with the wet ones and the dryer’s efficiency increases”.  Now, instead of an hour and half to dry the towels it takes only forty-five minutes to dry the same size load of towels. We also remember to clean the dryers filter after every use.    
6. We don’t have central air-conditioning in our home.  We are thinking about installing it so that we can use it to heat our home in the winter time. We have learned that heating our home with the air-conditioner in the winter time is more energy efficient than spending all that money on fossil fuel powered central heating systems.  When we install air-conditioning for our home we will purchase a system which allows for individual control for each room in the house and we will continue to use our ceiling fans as needed.  For those of you who have air-conditioning units please do remember to clean your filters once a month.  Very important: Please do remember to shut it off when you leave the house. ;-)      
7. Our last tip is for Israelis and comes from the “No Fryers” Blog http://nofryers.com/register-to-save-up-to-20-on-your-israeli-summer-2013-electric-bill/  
Please do take a few minutes to read the blog post so that you can learn how to participate in the Israeli Electric Company’s important campaign.  Towards the bottom is a link to the Hebrew language form that needs to be sent to the Israeli Electric Company.
And remember the biggest and best bonus of all is that by cutting back on personal electricity consumption we are also reducing our ecological footprint and helping the environment!  Win/Win!  
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