ENERGY SAVING TIPS From Live Off Grid

electric meter and wire towers Turn down your thermostat to 68 degrees. For every degree you lower your heat in the 60-degree to 70-degree range, you’ll save up to 5 percent on heating costs. Wear warm clothing like a sweater Set the thermostat back to 55 degrees or off at night or when leaving home for an extended time, saving 5-20 percent of your heating costs

Seal up leaks. Caulk leaks around windows and doors, pipes, vents or electrical conduits that go through the wall, ceiling or floor. Check the bathroom, underneath the kitchen sink, pipes inside a closet, etc. If you find a gap at the point where the pipe or vents goes through the wall, seal it up. Caulk works best on small gaps.

Let the sunshine in. Open drapes and let the sun heat your home for free (get them closed again at sundown so they insulate).

Rearrange your rooms. Move the furniture around so you’re sitting near interior walls – Exterior walls and older windows are drafty. Don’t sit in the draft.

Traditional fireplaces are an energy loser. Keep it shut.  – it’s best not to use them because they pull heated air out of the house and up the chimney. When not in use, make absolutely sure the damper is closed. Before closing the damper, make sure that you don’t have any smoldering embers. If you decide not to use a fireplace, then block off the chimney with a piece of rigid insulation from the hardware store that fits snugly into the space (dampers don’t shut fully without some leaking).

Eliminate wasted energy. Turn off lights in unoccupied rooms. Unplug that spare refrigerator in the garage if you don’t truly need it – this seemingly convenient way to keep extra drinks cold adds 10-25 percent to your electric bill. Turn off kitchen and bath-ventilating fans after they’ve done their job – these fans can blow out a house-full of heated air if inadvertently left on. Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is burning to prevent up to 8 percent of your furnace-heated air from going up the chimney.

Turn the lights off when you leave a room. Fluorescent lights should be turned off whenever you’ll be away for more than15 minutes.

Wash & dry full loads. If you’re washing a small load, use the appropriate water-level setting.

Replace your current tank water heater with a tank-less one,  only heating water when you need it. (There are some caveats here, and some differing opinions )

Install a programmable thermostat. If you have a heat pump, select a model designed for heat pumps.

Seal up leaks. Caulk leaks around windows and doors, pipes, vents or electrical conduits that go through the wall, ceiling or floor. Check the bathroom, underneath the kitchen sink, pipes inside a closet, etc. If you find a gap at the point where the pipe or vents goes through the wall, seal it up. Caulk works best on small gaps.

Replace your five most used light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. These light bulbs use less energy and last up to 10 times longer.

Use light-colored, loose-weave curtains on your windows to allow the daylight to penetrate while preserving privacy.

Dry towels and heavier cottons in a separate load from lighter-weight clothes.

Computers and chargers use power even when turned “off”. Use a power strip w/ith a switch to turn them completely off when not in use.

Take short showers and turn off the faucet when you’re brushing your teeth to save water.

Clean the lint filter in the clothes dryer after every load.

Wash your clothes in cold water using cold-water detergents whenever possible.

Reduce air drag by placing items inside the car or trunk instead of on roof racks. A loaded roof rack can decrease your fuel efficiency by 5%.

Activate “sleep” features on computers so they power down when not in use.

Only use air conditioning to achieve neutral temperatures. Lower temperatures use significantly more energy.

If you pull your refrigerator 10″ away from the wall you will save energy.

5% of an average homes energy goes to heating water. Lower the temperature on your water heater so you don’t add cold water to shower.

Check your furnace or air conditioner filter each month. Dirty filters increase energy use.

In the summer, use fans whenever possible instead of air conditioning. Fans use considerably less energy.

As the seasons change, remember to dress appropriately for the weather so you’re not using heating or air conditioning unnecessarily.

Shortening shower time by a few minutes can save hundreds of gallons of hot water per month for a family of 4. Showers account for 2/3 of your water heating costs. Cutting your showers in half will reduce your water heating costs by 33 percent.

Do only full loads when using your dishwasher and washing machine. Use the cold water setting on your clothes washer whenever possible. Using cold water reduces your washer’s energy use by 75 percent. Be sure to clean your clothes dryer’s lint trap after each use.  If you have one, use the moisture-sensing automatic drying setting on your dryer.

Many new TVs, VCRs, chargers, computer peripherals and other electronics use electricity even when they are switched “off.” Although these “standby losses” are only a few watts each, they add up to more than 50 watts in a typical home that is consumed all the time. If possible, unplug electronic devices and chargers that have a block-shaped transformer on the plug when they are not in use. For computer scanners, printers and other devices that are plugged into a power strip, simply switch off the power strip after shutting down your computer.

Choose ENERGY STAR® Products. Replace incandescent light bulbs with ENERGTY STAR compact fluorescent light bulbs, especially in high-use light fixtures. Compact fluorescent lights use 75 percent less energy than incandescent lights.

Plug your home’s leaks. Install weather-stripping or caulk leaky doors and windows and install gaskets behind outlet covers. Savings up to 10 percent on energy costs.

Install low flow showerheads. Low-flow showerheads and faucets can drastically cut your hot water expenses. Savings of 10-16 percent of water heating costs.

Wrap the hot water tank with jacket insulation. This is especially valuable for older water heaters with little internal insulation. Be sure to leave the air intake vent uncovered when insulating a gas water heater. Savings up to 10 percent on water heating costs.

Check out our Tighten It Up Section for more ways to make your home as comfortable and energy-efficient as possible.

When buying new appliances, choose ENERGY STAR-certified models. For example, a new ENERGY STAR refrigerator uses about 20 percent less energy than a standard new refrigerator, and 46% less than one made in 1980. A new Energy Star® clothes washer uses nearly 50 % less energy than a standard model.

Increase ceiling insulation.  increasing your insulation to up to R-38  reduces heating costs by 5-25 %.

High-efficiency windows. If you’re planning to replace your windows, choosing ENERGY STAR windows can reduce your heating and cooling costs by up to 15 %.

From the RED CROSS: Power Outage Checklist

Sudden power outages can be frustrating and troublesome, especially when they last a long time. If a power outage is 2 hours or less, you need not be concerned about losing your perishable foods. For prolonged power outages, though, there are steps you can take to minimize food loss and to keep all members of your household as comfortable as possible.

 

How do I prepare for a power outage

To help preserve your food, keep the following supplies in your home:
• One or more coolers—Inexpensive Styrofoam coolers work well.
• Ice—Surrounding your food with ice in a cooler or in the refrigerator will keep food colder for a longer period of time during a prolonged power outage.
• A digital quick-response thermometer—With these thermometers you can quickly check the internal temperatures of food to ensure they are cold enough to use safely.
Put together an emergency preparedness kit with these supplies in case of a prolonged or widespread power outage:
• Water—one gallon per person, per day (3- day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
• Food—non-perishable, easy-to prepare items (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
• Flashlight (NOTE: Do not use candles during a power outage due to the extreme risk of fire.) • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, possible) • Extra batteries
• First aid kit • Medications (7-day supply) and medical items • Multi-purpose tool
• Sanitation and personal hygiene items
• Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information,
• deed/lease to home, birth certificates, insurance policies)
• Cell phone with chargers • Family and emergency contact information • Extra cash

If someone in your home is dependent on electric-powered, life-sustaining
equipment, remember to include backup power in your evacuation plan.

• Keep a non-cordless telephone in your home. It is likely to work even when the power is out.
• Keep your car’s gas tank full.
• Keep food as safe as possible.
• Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. First use perishable food from the refrigerator. An unopened refrigerator will keep foods cold for about 4 hours.
• Then use food from the freezer. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about
• 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed.
• Use your non-perishable foods and staples after using food from the refrigerator and freezer.
• If it looks like the power outage will continue beyond a day, prepare a cooler with ice for your freezer items.
• Keep food in a dry, cool spot and keep it covered at all times.
What should I do during a power outage?
• Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. First use perishable food from the refrigerator. An unopened refrigerator will keep foods cold for about 4 hours.
• Then use food from the freezer. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed.
• Use your non-perishable foods and staples after using food from the refrigerator and freezer.
• If it looks like the power outage will continue beyond a day, prepare a cooler with ice for your freezer items.
• Keep food in a dry, cool spot and keep it covered at all times.
Electrical equipment
• Turn off and unplug all unnecessary electrical equipment, including sensitive electronics.
• Turn off or disconnect any appliances (like stoves), equipment or electronics you were using when the power went out. When power comes back on, surges or spikes can damage equipment.
• Leave one light turned on so you’ll know when the power comes back on.
• Eliminate unnecessary travel, especially by car. Traffic lights will be out and roads will be congested.
Using generators safely
• When using a portable generator, connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator.
• Do not connect a portable generator to a home’s electrical system.
• If you are considering getting a generator, get advice from a professional, such as an electrician.
• Make sure that the generator you purchase is rated for the power that you think you will need.

What should I do when the power comes back on?
• Do not touch any electrical power lines and keep your family away from them. Report downed power lines to the appropriate officials in your area.
Throw out unsafe food.
• Throw away any food that has been exposed to temperatures 40° F (4° C) for 2 hours or more or that has an unusual odor, color or texture. When in doubt, throw it out!
• Never taste food or rely on appearance or odor to determine its safety. Some foods may look and smell fine, but if they have been at room temperature too long, bacteria causing food-borne illnesses can start growing quickly. Some types of bacteria produce toxins that cannot be destroyed by cooking.
• If food in the freezer is colder than 40° F and has ice crystals on it, you can refreeze it.
• If you are not sure food is cold enough, take its temperature with the food thermometer. Throw out any foods (meat, poultry, fish, eggs and leftovers) that have been exposed to temperatures higher than 40° F (4° C) for 2 hours or more, and any food that has an unusual odor, color or texture, or feels warm to touch.
Caution: Carbon Monoxide Kills!

• Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area. Locate unit away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.
• The primary hazards to avoid when using alternate sources for electricity, heating or cooking are carbon monoxide poisoning, electric shock and fire.
• Install carbon monoxide alarms in central locations on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas to provide early warning of accumulating carbon monoxide.
• If the carbon monoxide alarm sounds, move quickly to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door.
• Call for help from the fresh air location and remain there until emergency personnel arrive to assist you.
Let Your Family Know You’re Safe.

If your community experiences a disaster, register on the American Red Cross Safe and Well Web site available through RedCross.org to let your family and friends know about your welfare.

If you don’t have Internet access, call 1-866-GET-INFO to register yourself and your family.