Don’t Let Your Appliances Kill Your Family Budget

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Having the convenience of home appliances can be a big part of your utility bill. The more efficiently you operate your appliances the more money you will save every month. Even if you can’t afford to replace old, inefficient appliances with new Energy Star rated models, you can still get the most out of your existing ones with these simple tips.

The Kitchen

Your fridge is one of the hungriest appliances in energy consumption because it must run full time. You can reduce the amount of energy it requires by adjusting the temperature controls. Your freezer section should be set to about 5 degrees Fahrenheit (5F). If it’s running colder than that, you are just wasting money. Just put a thermometer in there and keep it there overnight. In the morning take a reading and, if it’s too low, adjust the setting a little. Freezers work best when the compartment is fairly full. You still want air to circulate. The refrigerator compartment should operate at around 38 degrees. Measure and change it if it’s set too low. As a final suggestion, twice a year, pull the refrigerator away from the wall so you can look at the coils (most models have them there). If they are covered with dust and cob webs, clean them. This allows the refrigerator to vent heat more efficiently.

Next, let’s take a look at the dishwasher. There are some easy choices that can save you money. The first is the “heated dry” cycle. Just turn it off. The pre-rinse feature is in the same category; you do not need it. Just turn it off.

The Laundry Room

Your clothes dryer is a big energy user. Using it intelligently can save you a lot on your use of energy, whether you have an electric or gas dryer. If the dryer has a moisture sensor, be sure to use it instead of running your laundry for a certain time. Overdrying your clothes will simply wear them out faster anyway. Good air flow in the dryer is important for efficient operation. To ensure good flow, clean the lint screen. Also, you should inspect the exhaust ducts once in a while to ensure that they aren’t clogged. Not only is a blocked exhaust duct a fire hazard, but it also means that the dryer is working too hard to do its job. Make sure the ducts have a minimum number of 90 degree turns in them. They need to be as straight as they can be in order to work efficiently. Do multiple loads back to back. If the tumbler is already hot you’ll save a bit by not wasting that heat. Far and away the best way to save, of course, is to dry your clothes on a clothesline. That’s really using solar power.

Now for the washer. Most of the energy that your washer uses is expended in the heating of the water. You can easily avoid using hot water. Modern detergents work well in cold water. Hot water doesn’t kill any germs or sterilize your clothes, so only use it if the clothes are badly stained or especially dirty. If the machine has a load size setting, as most do, set it at a setting that matches the load. This is particularly important if you’re using hot water with the load.

These are some pretty simple steps to take, but don’t overlook them. They’re easy.

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