"Close the door. We're not trying to heat the whole neighborhood."
"Are you just gonna stand there with the refrigerator door open?"
Most of us can recall our parents chastising us about saving heat and energy. If you grew up in the 1970s when gas and oil prices went crazy, everyone started buying smaller cars and all bill payers were really concerned about all energy usage.
Today, electricity is less expensive so folks are a little less energy conscious.
Nonetheless, there are good ways to save money and help the planet:
1. Turn off the lights. It might seem obvious, but turning off the lights when you leave a room can save a lot of money. If you can, install motion detection switches that will turn off the lights after a few minutes and turn them on automatically when you reenter a room. This is great for families with children who forget to turn off the lights.
2. Switch to CFL or LED bulbs. Compact fluorescent lights (CFL) and light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs save a lot of electricity, using 5 watts where a conventional bulb would use 60 watts. Less power - equal brightness.
3. Unplug appliances. Obviously, turning off televisions and radios when you leave a room will save energy, but most of today's appliances also have a ready light. They are literally constantly on. Unplugging appliances, particularly when you'll be away for a while, will also save you money. Use a power strip to make it easier.
4. Only run the dishwasher when it's full. This is an obvious idea, but it will also save wear and tear on your dishwasher.
5. If you do dishes by hand, turn off the water when you can. This is will save not only water, but the energy it takes to heat the water.
6. Turning down the heat is a great way to save some money. Most people won't notice a difference of a few degrees. If you turn it down to 68°, you'll find that you'll be comfortable in a few minutes. Lap blankets and slippers will let you turn it down lower than that. You can have fun with it and make it a contest.
7. In the summer, you should close the curtains to save energy. One thing you can do is get white curtains for the side facing out. In winter, you can change those curtains to black. In summer, you'll be reflecting the heat out and in winter, taking it in. All of this can make it nicer in your home using the free energy from the sun.
8. A slow cooker is a great way to cook food. Even if it runs for hours, it uses much less electricity than trying to cook something quickly on the stove or in the oven.
9. Check your insulation. Losing heat through your ceiling and walls can cost you a lot of money and energy. It's not as obvious as window or door drafts.
Saving energy and saving money are the same thing. All it takes is a few minutes of thinking ahead.