Cuddling is an energy-efficient say to keep warm. Want to save water? Bathe with a friend! Of course there are other ways to save on your energy bill. Here, smart conservation tips from Linda Cobb, the Queen of Clean and author of A Queen for All Seasons: A Year of Tips, Tricks, and Picks for a Cleaner House and a More Organized Life!
- Why heat an empty house? Lower the thermostat when your family is out during the day — try 65 degrees or so — and bring the heat back up in the evening. If you lower the temperature when everybody is toasty warm in bed, you’ll cut your bill even further. A double setback thermostat can adjust the temperature according to your needs. It’s well worth the money.
- Moist air retains heat, so invest in a humidifier (or adapt your existing heating system) and you could lower your thermostat by another 3 or 4 degrees. That can save you up to 12 percent on your heating bill!
- A gas-fired heating system should be professionally cleaned and serviced at least once a year to keep it working at maximum efficiency. Oil-fired systems should be cleaned and serviced twice a year. Those of you who have had the misfortune of a furnace backup know I’m giving you good advice. Cleaner is better.
- Shut the dishwasher off at the dry cycle and allow dishes to air-dry with the door partially open.
- Just cooked a nice roast dinner? Leave the door open a crack (once you’ve turned off the oven, that is), and let the heat warm the room as the oven cools. Don’t do this if you have young children — nothing is worth the potential burn.
- Keep radiators, registers, and ducts clean. Vacuum with the duster brush attachment; for hard to reach spots use a telescoping duster. Make sure they’re clear of debris and free from obstructions, such as furniture and draperies.
- Replace furnace filters frequently. A clean filter will distribute heat more efficiently. Check filters monthly, say the first of every month. Vacuum to remove dust, and replace filters when vacuuming alone won’t get the filter clean. Disposable filters should be replaced at least every three months.
- Heat can escape through air conditioners, so store yours if you can. If that’s not possible, do your best to winterize the unit. Cover the outside of the a/c with cardboard cut to size, and then wrap it in a heavy-duty plastic. Drop cloths and plastic tablecloths are ideal. Secure the covering with a bungee cord, making sure to avoid corner flaps that might tear in the wind.
- Conserve energy in winter and summer by adjusting the rotation of your ceiling fan. A counterclockwise rotation will push the hot air from the ceiling down into the room — perfect for winter. A clockwise rotation will pull up the warm summer air and replace it with a nice, cool flow.
- Conserve water by taking showers instead of baths. The average bath uses 25 gallons of water, whereas the average shower just 10 gallons.
- Don’t leave water running while you brush your teeth. Turn it off until you’re ready to rinse.
- That “small load” setting may save water, but the washing machine still goes through the same number of rotations. Avoid washing small loads if you can.
- Whenever possible, use cold or warm water for washing clothes. Always use cold water to rinse.
- Clean the lint filter on your clothes dryer each time you dry a load. Clothes will dry faster and more efficiently.
- That little black dress may be a hot number, but there’s no reason to keep it warm. Keep closet doors closed.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Linda Cobb, author of A Queen for All Seasons: A Year of Tips, Tricks, and Picks for a Cleaner House and a More Organized Life! (Copyright © 2001 by Linda Cobb), first shared her cleaning tips with readers in a weekly newspaper column in Michigan, where she owned a cleaning and disaster-restoration business dealing with the aftermath of fires and floods. After moving to Phoenix, she appeared weekly as a guest on Good Morning Arizona; since then she has shared her housekeeping tips on radio and television shows across the country, and in two New York Times bestsellers, Talking Dirty with the Queen of Clean® and Talking Dirty Laundry with the Queen of Clean®.
MORE ARTICLES BY THE AUTHOR
- 24 No-Fuss, All-Natural Gardening Tips
- End Closet Clutter and Get Organized in 3 Steps
- How to Remove Stains Using Common Household Products
- Make Your Own Laundry Spot and Stain Removers
- Tang in the Toilet and 17 Other Ingenious Bathroom Cleaning Tricks
- Read an excerpt from Talking Dirty with the Queen of Clean®, one of the author’s New York Times bestsellers
- Read an excerpt from The Queen of Clean Conquers Clutter
- Browse more books by Linda Cobb, the Queen of Clean