Easy strate­gies to re­duce util­ity bills

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FEATURES - Kris­ten Hagopian Bril­liant Fru­gal Liv­ing

Hey ev­ery­one — How about that gor­geous weather last week? I just loved the op­por­tu­nity to throw open the win­dows and let in a blast of fresh air. Heaven. Along with all of the great news on the weather, how­ever, was sober­ing news re­ports re­gard­ing the cost of liv­ing and its po­ten­tial climb as we head into an­other win­ter. Let’s face it, if this up­com­ing win­ter proves to be any­thing close to the util­ity headache last win­ter was, it’s a good idea to take a look at your house for some up­dated strate­gies to keep costs to a min­i­mum and keep more money in your pocket.

Here are the tac­tics that packed a proven punch in my house:

(1) Re­duce elec­tric dryer de­pen­dence. Those of you fa­mil­iar with my blog al­ready know I’ve been dry­ing my clothes, the kids’ clothes, sheets, tow­els, etc. on our clothes­line for years now, and it’s taken down costs fab­u­lously (to the tune of thou­sands of dol­lars in sav­ings). Yes, I’m the first to ad­mit there is a marked dif­fer­ence in air­dried vs. dryer-dried tow­els. Hon­estly, it takes the con­cept of ex­fo­li­a­tion to tor­ture camp lev­els. That be­ing said, tow­els are an en­ergy hog in the dryer, the me­ter out­side the laun­dry room win­dow spins at full tilt. Who needs that? Hon­estly, give it a shot.

(2) En­ergy sav­ing light bulbs. I re­cently re­placed eigh­teen 60-watt bulbs with the squig­gly en­er­gysav­ing bulbs (they’re 13 watt bulbs that light like 60 watts). Boil­ing down the math as de­scribed on the back of the pack­age, I’m sup­posed to save ap­prox­i­mately .92 per month per bulb, so these bulbs alone should save me around $204/year. That, and their rep­u­ta­tion would sug­gest they’ll last some­where into the 23rd cen­tury. Okay, not that long, but the sav­ings are there, so it’s a smart move.

(3) No more dish­washer use. Again, I’ve had this strat­egy in play for years, to great suc­cess. En­ergy costs came down huge! Hon­estly, it doesn’t take that long to do dishes by hand, and the glasses come out per­fectly (as op­posed to the spotty re­sults in my dish­washer). At this point, I’m us­ing my dish­washer strictly as a dry­ing rack, and run­ning it once every two weeks on low set­tings just to keep it in good shape.

(4) Turn­ing into the Power Po­lice. At night, and when I leave the house dur­ing the day, the com­puter goes OFF. When it’s a beau­ti­ful day, there’s no need to turn on lights, un­less com­pli­cated surgery is be­ing per­formed in the same room (un­likely). If I’m cook­ing on the stove, I cover pots and turn the heat down to sim­mer. You get the point.

Now, with all of these strate­gies in play — and they re­ally are pretty easy to im­ple­ment — util­ity costs here at the house have been re­duced by about 20-30 per­cent, eas­ily ac­com­mo­dat­ing the any po­ten­tial spikes in rates. If I can do it, any­body can. If you find your lit­tle blue util­ity en­velopes giv­ing you an itch between the shoul­der blades, try any or all of these tac­tics for a pow­er­ful punch in sav­ings.

Fru­gal On!

Kris­ten Hagopian is a Syn­di­cated Ra­dio Talk Show Host, Colum­nist & Au­thor of Bril­liant Fru­gal Liv­ing. She co­hosts WCHE 1520’s Morn­ing Show, and “Dad and Daugh­ter Talk Real Es­tate” with lo­cal Keller Wil­liams Re­al­tor John Her­reid Wed­nes­days at 5 p.m. (www.john­her­reid.com). She was raised in Delaware County, and now re­sides in Ch­ester County with her hus­band and kids. You can find her on­line at www. Bril­liantFru­galLiv­ing.com

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