Are you sure that you've done everything you can to save energy and lower utility costs in your home?
You've insulated the house, you switch off all unused lights, and turn down the thermostat. But what else can be done to cut your energy costs?
First of all, stay out of hot water.
The typical household uses 15 to 20 gallons of hot water per person per day.
The average person uses 2 gallons of hot water when washing his hands.
A 5-minute shower consumes approximately 20 gallons of hot water.
One drop of water per second from a leaky hot-water faucet wastes 60 gallons of water a week.
For each 20 degrees that the water-heater temperature is lowered, consumers can save 22 cents out of every water-heating dollar.
Insulating the water heater and the hot-water pipes can save 15 percent on the cost of operating that appliance.
The average dishwasher uses 12 to 14 gallons of hot water per load.
The rinse-hold feature on dishwashers uses an extra 3 to 7 gallons of water.
Allowing dishes to air-dry after the final rinse cycle will net 10 percent on the total cost of operating that appliance.
Another area to watch is the stove. On a gas stove, a blue flame means that the fuel is being burned efficiently; a yellow flame is inefficient. Burners and pilot lights can be adjusted by repairmen to save energy and fuel costs.
Gas ovens and ranges with electric ignitions can decrease the amount of gas used in the ovens by 47 percent, and for ranges by 53 percent.
Peeking at food cooking in an oven lowers the temperature by 25 degrees each time the door is opened.
Glass or porcelain baking dishes allow a 25-degree decrease in the cooking temperature.
Twice as much energy is needed to bake two potatoes in a standard electric oven than is required to bake the potatoes in a smaller toaster oven.
Outside the house, homeowners can save $40 to $50 a year by turning off only one decorative gaslight on the front lawn, for example.
Trees planted as windbreaks can lower, by as much as 35 percent, home-energy requirements during one winter.