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SENIOR  TIPS  UTILITIES 

New Tips added every day !

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"Remember the time when a $500 bill was money in your wallet, and not the monthly charge from your gas company?"    ~ Notso Funny

 

 

You will also find money-saving tips at:  www.SaveOnUtilities.com

  Snowflake = tips for cooler seasons. UTILITY TIPS AND NEWS

Seniors, Senior Citizens, those noisy Boomers, and concerned caregivers, have submitted the following tips for utilities savings. Saving on utility costs does not involve one magic silver bullet. It comes as the result of doing many things a little better. Here are some senior suggestions.      

Will you make a suggestion that will help others save?

1.Save on your heating bill. Let in the heat from sunshine by opening window blinds and drapes on the sunny side of the house, then close them at night to act as window insulators. Let in the heat from sunshine by opening window blinds and drapes on the sunny side of the house, then close them at night to act as window insulators.

2.If you use a wood-burning fireplace for ambience--which is its only purpose because it's a lousy method of heating--close doors to the fireplace room if possible and crack a window an inch. A slightly open window supplies outdoor air to fuel the fire, which is cheaper than sending your already-heated air from other parts of the house up the chimney. Lower the central heating thermostat to about 50 degrees. A "direct vent" gas fireplace draws air from the outside to provide oxygen to the flames, and does not draw out warm air from the house.

3.Kitchen, bath and other ventilating fans can pull out a houseful of warmed air in just an hour. Use them sparingly and turn them off as soon as they're not needed.

4.Check with your state energy department and your utility provider to see what energy-efficiency programs they offer. Low-income requirements for some programs are fairly generous. The federal program is called Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, often called LIHEAP. It can help pay for heating bills, weatherization assistance and energy-related home repairs. Don't assume you do not qualify without investigating.

5. http://www.getenergysmart.org/ Go to this   useful New York State site for timely energy-saving tips.

6. Don't automatically assume that electric heating is too expensive. Some electric utilities offer much lower winter rates to those who heat with electricity. Remember that with electricity no heat goes up the chimney, and no fumes can leak into the house. Talk with your electric company to determine your options. If they offer lower rates for heating, ask whether they have made a commitment to that program for a number of years----in writing.

7.Look for  a sale on screw-in fluorescent bulbs. They go right into the same socket your regular incandescent bulbs use. A 10 to 15 watt bulb gives the light of 60 to 75 watts. You will pay more, $1.25 to 3.99 per bulb depending on where you buy them. Prices do seem to be coming down. They last up to 15 times longer than a regular incandescent bulb, and will save you many times over their cost in electricity savings. They are making them now to even give off the same quality of light as incandescent, if that is your preference. I have  two 5 watt bulbs that light up a large front porch, and 18  watt  lawn lights that do  a great job in front and in back. Almost every interior light or lamp in my house has the same. You can get them to look like a regular bulb, or something like the picture.

8.  32 super tips for saving money on cooling and air conditioning costs
9.  electricity myths
10. Residential Electricity Prices: A Consumer's Guide    Energy Information Administration
11. I have broadband internet access.  So I was able to replace my old telephone service (over $60 a month) with the following phone service which uses my existing broadband connection (for about $15 a month):  http://www.vonage.com/   Bill M  5-11-06

12, If you have a window(s) that the sun hits directly for long periods of time in the summer, you are  getting a lot of heat from it. Awnings will help. a light colored blind will reflect some of the heat. Try taping the shiny side of aluminum foil to the inside of your window where the sun hits. This will be a low-cost way of getting rid of a lot of heat. Of course, if the window is in the front of the house, or you need light from that window, one of the other solutions may be better.

13. Ceiling fans. Blowing straight down, they will cool you in the summer,. and enable you to save on air conditioning. Reverse them in the winter, and they will bring the heat down from the ceiling. You can get a very effective fan--with lights--for as little as $30 to $60. They are a little tricky to install, so you will want help on that. You can do some of the assembly ahead of time, and get an electrician in to install two or three at one time.

14. Maybe you hang your clothing on an outside line in the summer. It is fresher, the sun bleaches the whites, and you save energy. But what about the winter? Hang them in! Often the humidity in your home could use a boost in the winter, and all that moving warm air from your furnace can help you save on dryer energy use. Consider buying a portable hanger that can collapse and be put away when not in use. Or get creative and make your own. But be careful you don't put it in a place that is easy to trip over, or where clothing could catch fire.

15. An interesting article for Seniors who have a dispute with a utility company Older Americans Dealing with Utility Companies Regarding Disputed Utility Bills and Security Deposits.
16. Online energy calculators, and cold weather tips from Kentucky Power, begun 9-1-06. You might suggest this to your utility company! Energy Calculators

17. Consider eliminating your "land line" (i.e., home phone) in favor of a cell phone. You can use a cell phone ANYWHERE. Home, on the road... it's the best deal ever. Just take your phone with you wherever you go, and then use it at home as well. Why pay for TWO phones?!? Cell phones are invaluable when you are traveling. Many people don't know this, but even a non-connected phone (that is, not hooked to a service provider such as Verizon or Sprint) MUST be able to access 911; so even if you can't afford a phone, you can take a "dead" cell phone (maybe your child or grandchild has one laying around?) and, as long as it is able to be activated (by that, I mean the battery charged), you can reach 911 and get help on the road (or at home, for that matter). That is a Federal statute, courtesy of the FCC.   Rivahcat - Virginia

18. Making your home energy efficient may cost a little bit up front, but the extra effort and expense can save you a lot of money in the future. Here are some energy-saving tips to try:
* Replace your old thermostat with a new digital one
* Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescents
* Replace the old seal on your refrigerator door
* Get a furnace “tune-up”
* Install a ceiling fan
Many utility companies offer free energy audits by trained representatives who come to your home and point out areas where energy is being wasted.  C. Foy, (A Senior in the distant future)  Neshannock, Pennsylvania

19. Turn off your computer and monitor when not in use. Could save hundreds of $$$ per year.
20. See how much power your appliances are using DOE
21. Your Home's Energy Use DOE
22. 25 cheap ways to keep your house cooler  (internal SeniorArk page)

23. Plug home electronics, such as TVs and DVD players, into power strips or better yet, surge protectors; turn the power strips off when the equipment is not in use (TVs and DVDs in standby mode still use several watts of power, up to 40% of the power they use when running.).  Many electrical devices in our homes use a lot of energy, even when they are idle. All devices have the potential to be vampire devices in the sense that its really the characteristic of sucking extra electricity while they are in standby mode.
A washing machine with electronic keypads still requires energy even when not washing laundry. California outlaws the sale of devices that use more than three watts when on standby mode. But nationally, the federal government is not setting standards for those yet. To save on watt usage, experts say you can unplug appliances when not in use. D.D.L. San Fran, Ca

24. Lower the thermostat on your hot water heater to 120° F

26. Look for the ENERGY STAR label on home appliances and products. That extra $20-30 may seem like a lot, but not when you figure the savings every year of ownership.

27. DEHUMIDIFIERS ARE CHEAPER TO RUN THAN AIR CONDITIONERS
When I come in from the heat, or in the morning after sleeping with the windows slightly open, I turn on my dehumidifier and in about 10 minutes maximum I feel cooler, and comfortable again -- and turn it off! For most of the summer I can get by with just my dehumidifier and electric fans, keeping air conditioner use to a minimum except on the hottest days. That's a definite savings in electricity use!

28. Thermal Windows and Doors   Thermal glass windows and doors have two or more sheets of glass in a single frame. An insulating air space between the sheets reduces heat gain during the summer and heat loss during the winter. Thermal glass is usually installed to replace single-pane glass.

29. During heating and cooling seasons your furnace filter should be replaced monthly. This makes your air flow more even, keeps your air cleaner, and saves utility money. Consider a better filter than the 99 cent blue things you see. They do a better job with smaller particles and other assorted fine things that float around the house.

30. Extend the life of your refrigerator compressor, and save electricity, by keeping the "coils" free of dust, and allowing some space for air to flow.  As air is constantly sucked over those fins for cooling, they act as dust filters and become plugged. If you have a lot of dust or pet hair, this could result in a ruined refrigerator.

31. Turn off the "heat dry" option on your dishwasher. Your dishwasher uses only hot water, and when completed, the dishes are so hot they will air dry without extra heat.

32. If you live in an older house where windows tend to be drafty, get a brand name product called "Moretite". It comes in rolls and is similar to caulking, but not as sticky. You apply it easily by hand to all the cracks between your windows and their frames to keep out the air. In the spring, just pill it off and trash it. I do it. It works.

33.  Ventilate your attic. This is important in the summer for both cooling and extending the life of your shingles. It is important in the winter to deal with any moisture accumulation. A "ridge vent" can be added if you are reshingling. Or as a second best choice, you can easily have side louvers added. A whole house fan installed in a first or second floor hall ceiling is another money saving addition. On summer evenings when the outside air cools more quickly than inside, a short period of time with this fan running will cool off the entire house.

34. Make a phone call to your phone company and speak with a real person – a customer service representative. Ask them to review your account and make a suggestion as to how you might be able to save. The company I use also has a program for seniors called Lifeline Economy Service. submitted by L.L., , Maine
35. Many heating oil companies offer August and/or September quantity discounts. Call them.

36. It's tempting to turn up the heat on a cool, rainy Sunday. Instead, I dig out the sweatshirt and jeans, dress for the weather and decide to cook something in the oven. This takes the chill off and when it's time to read the newspaper, I can always make a cup of hot tea and put a "throw" across my legs.

36. Some tips from Consumer Reports on Saving Money on Your Phone Bills    
37. Prepare in Fall, Save Money in Winter. Useful article telling us the things we need to do before the worst of the weather hits.

38. In western society we have gotten so used to all out electrical gadgets and do-dads that we seldom stop to think about the cost of these devices. Yet, a modern computer for example can cost several hundred dollars per year in electricity alone! And when you are done using your computer for this session, you WILL turn it off - right?! ;-)

39. Unplug all your chargers. Yes, they consume small electric current but if you leave them plugged in day in and day out for months, you will feel their effects on your electric bills. Remember that these little things, when pile up can be big.

40. If you do not want to enter cold home, you can set up remote control heating system or a programmable heating system. In this way, you do not have to leave the heating system running all day. All you have to do is to set the time when you want your heating system to work and you will save a lot of money.

41. If you don't want to turn the lights on and off every time you go in and out of the room, you might want to get some timers, dimmers and motion sensors to do the job for you. They are worth investing for.

42. LIHEAP energy saving tips from the Department of Energy

43. Ever notice in the winter that the inside of your dryer is ice cold when you open the door? Check the flap on the exterior of your house. If it is sticking open, it is allowing cold air to pour into your house. Some folks with electric dryers only, disconnect the exhaust and plug the hole to the outside in the winter, so the hot air can be discharged into the house. Be sure to filter the discharged air or your house can become a mess. I have used a nylon stocking slipped over the end of the hose. Check stalking regularly for plugging up with lint, or the dryer will lose efficiency. Also consider how much humidity is going into the house. I have seen items that you can purchase in Home and Hardware stores to aid in this process.

44.  Did you know that light colored shingles remain cooler and tend to outlast dark colored ones. (Heat reflection) They also keep the attic cooler.

45. When deciding on what to do when installing a new heating system, many folks are selecting a "hybrid" electric/gas system. Combining an electric heat pump with a gas furnace isn't really a new idea. What's new is that the controls are getting more sophisticated and making it easier to switch between the two. “Now you have a thermostat on the wall that does the controlling for you. It monitors the indoor temperature and monitors the outdoor temperature and automatically switches over at the temperature that you can preset at the thermostat. Plus there is the added feature in tht the heat pump doubles as a central air conditioner.

46. Insulate both your water heater and hot water pipes, and perhaps your heating pipes to realize considerable savings all year round. Make sure that you don't cover the top or bottom of the tank, nor get insulated material anywhere near the thermostat or burner compartment on he water heater. For the pipes themselves, you can either go with specialized insulation sleeves for use with hot water pipes, or make up your own out of strips of thin insulation. If your furnace pipes run through unheated areas, you may want to insulate those as well.

47. Energy efficient upgrades will often pay for themselves through greater savings on energy bills. But that initial cost of upgrading a person’s home can get expensive. One possible solution that Phelps suggests is taking out an Energy Efficient Mortgage. These mortgages can help pay for the start-up costs of upgrading a person’s home, and can even have financial benefits in the short term. For example, if the mortgage costs $20 per month, but the upgrade saves $40 per month, the homeowner will save money and use less energy.

48. To move us away from dependence upon non-renewable oil, gas and coal, and high-risk nuclear power, alternative energy systems utilize renewable resources for electricity, heating, cooling and transportation.  Read more

49. Many states have programs to help seniors, and others, cope with utilities . For example, Pennsylvania, an extremely senior-friendly state, has a winter program called   "Stay Warm PA"   ( http://www.staywarmpa.com/ ) Click on your state on our Links/Government page, then click your state on the map to begin a search.

50. Take every bill you pay each month and get in touch with the company, utility, etc. that the bills come from to ask if there is anything you can do to reduce your monthly costs. It never hurts to ask. Many of these sources are very helpful in suggesting ways to save, recommending different pricing plans, etc.

51. Expanding on 50, above,  Go To The Source To Ask About Savings  When in doubt, reach out. Take every bill you pay each month and get in touch with the company, utility, etc. that the bills come from to ask if there is anything you can do to reduce your monthly costs. It never hurts to ask, and we've found that many of these sources are very helpful in suggesting ways to save, recommending different pricing plans, etc.

52.Use Airlocks to Cut Down on Energy Loss. In cold winter climates, one of the best ways you can cut down on energy/heat loss in your house is to employ an "airlock." Yes, think science fiction movies. Essentially, an airlock is an area that exists between two doors that you must go through to enter your house. This can either be an existing porch structure, or even a simple 2x4 and plastic structure that you add to your main door. The whole philosophy of this is that you go through one door before opening another, keeping the cold gusts from flowing into your house, and the hot air from flowing out.

53. If you use a clothes dryer, be sure to follow one load immediately with another. This avoids the cost of heating up all of that metal in the dryer itself. And be sure to clean the lint filter every time. This enables the dryer to dry more quickly, and saves you money.

54. Remember, saving money on utilities, or anything else for that matter, is a matter of adding together many small savings. They add up!

55. It makes no sense to heat or air condition rooms you never or rarely use. Close and perhaps tape the vent. Close the door to the room, and place a blocking towel or other item at the space under the door.

56. The Senior who has been gouged at the gasoline pump for the last two years or so, should not sit and take another gouging at the basement furnace. Read the facts on how your natural gas provider is not passing on reductions in cost to you, and what you can do to change that.

57. Here is what may be happening in our state. Sounds like a good Federal program.

Lawmakers Propose Tax Cut for Money-saving Light Bulbs How's this for a bright idea? Give every Utah family a $30 tax cut for the purchase of long-lasting light bulbs and save the state millions in energy costs. RL, Salt Lake

58. SPI has just introduced a new common sense approach to saving energy and money with the Vent-Miser™, an easy to use product that automatically shuts air flow to individual rooms when they will be unoccupied.   Here is an article on it. A.T. Somerset, NJ

59. Consumer Reports Oct 2007 -10 Things You Can Do to Save Hundreds on Energy Costs

60. Fix defective plumbing or dripping faucets. A single dripping hot water faucet can waste 212 gallons of water a month! That not only increases water bills, but also increases the gas or electric bill for heating the water. That would be like heating a 40-gallon tank, all the way from cold to hot----5 TIMES !!!!     

Caren Foy, Realtor, New Castle, PA

61. There are a lot of online sites to help you make simple repairs in your home. For example, here is an ehow.com page on how to fix a leaky faucet. If you don't like this site, search on Google, Yahoo, or elsewhere for "fix a leaky faucet" , or "fix a ___________whatever".

62. Here's a new, nifty little service that could save you money on your cell phone bill, especially if you're a heavy user. Validas is a web service that works like this: You download your bill from your cell company's website in PDF format (Validas tells you how to do this), then upload it to Validas. The numbers crunch, then you get a report graphically outlining your cell phone usage, plus a page suggesting ways you can save money on that bill. Validas is free for the first use, then you have to pay for additional bill uploads: $5 for one upload to $20 for 15 uploads.

63. With cooler weather coming up, don't forget to change your ceiling fan direction.

  • Summer - generally, blades move in a counter-clockwise direction (downward)

  • Winter - generally, blades move in a clockwise direction (blowing against ceiling, upward)
  • Don't forget to turn the fan off when you leave the room (Ceiling fans cool people, not rooms. If the room is unoccupied, turn off the ceiling fan to save energy.)

  • Don't forget to clean the dirt from the fan at least before you switch directions, or you may see a dust storm in the room. Your fan will either have a switch on the base of it or if you have an older one, it will have a smaller chain you will pull to change the direction. sfw, DC 

64. Support & Assistance - If you are a senior citizen, a member of the military or are in need of financial assistance to keep the heat running this winter, talk to a utility company representative. They have a wealth of information on groups and organizations who are ready to step in and help. Also, agencies like The National Energy Assistance Referral hotline (1-866-674-6327, energyassistance@ncat.org) and LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program-1-800-252-8643 or 217-785-6135) can be very helpful to lower-income families searching for help to pay their utility bills.

65.Lowering the heat settings from 72 to 67 degrees during the day and down to 55 degrees at night. According to the US Department of Energy, this can trim the heating bills a hefty 10-20 percent.

66. You can get free directory assistance from your phone by calling 1-800-GOOG-411 (1-800-466-4411).  I played with this a little and it is really easy to use and fast.  It has one big downside, it doesn't have residential listings.  For those, you can use 1-800-FREE-411 (1-800-373-3411).  With this service, you have to listen to a couple ads, but there is no charge for the call.  Unlike the Google service, I had a hard time searching by business category for my local area with this one.  It kept trying to give me suggestions that were farther away, but that they obviously were paid to list.  Also, unlike the Google service, it is not entirely voice driven so it doesn't work for hands free operation.

67. Change your shower heads to "Low Flow" shower heads. These heads use approximately 40% less hot water, but provide excellent water pressure. Two people could save up to $150/yr on energy to heat the water. And it is a simple do-it-yourself fix. It can be done for less than $10, and 5 minutes of your time. Don't forget to buy that little roll of teflon tape, or a tube of joint "stuff", for the threads. After I did it without the tape or "stuff", there was some leaking at the joint.

68. Install a high efficiency toilet. Most new toilets flush with 1.6 gallons of water, and older toilets use a lot more than that. High efficiency toilets flush with 1.3, or less. This scares some people because they think less water will give a less powerful flush. However, new high efficiency toilets that carry the EPA "Water Sense" label have been tested and certified to deliver a strong flush with less water. Although toilets all look pretty much alike, the amount of water released by flushing varies widely from one toilet to another. Generally speaking, the older the toilet, the more water it uses. Toilets built before 1982 use 5 to 7 gallons per flush. Now, toilets are designed to flush using only 1.6 gallons of water

69. Do-It-Yourself Home Energy Audits. You can easily conduct a home energy audit yourself. With a simple but diligent walk-through, you can spot many problems in any type of house. When auditing your home, keep a checklist of areas you have inspected and problems you found. This list will help you prioritize your energy efficiency upgrades. U.S. Dept of Energy

70. Easy ways to save water and energy to heat water:

1) Wet, Wash and Rinse. Showers are big water guzzlers. To economize, don’t run the water any longer than you need to. Instead, after you wet your body turn off the water. Don’t turn it on again until your done washing and are ready to rinse.
2) Wash Dishes the Frugal Way. First soak the dishes for about 10 minutes. Then scrub and stack on the side. When a small stack is ready to be rinsed, turn on the water and quickly run them through. Be careful not to let the dishes sit so long that the soap begins to harden.
3) Purchase Water Saving Appliances. The next time you’re in the market for a new washing machine or dishwasher, be sure to check out the water saving models. We did this with our washing machine and now we save substantial amounts in our monthly utility bills.
4) Never Let The Water Run. Whether you’re washing your hands, brushing your teeth, or mopping the kitchen floor, be sure not to let the faucet stay on.
5) No More Drips and Runs. A dripping sink and running toilet wastes water fast. Don’t procrastinate. Get them fixed right away.  Thanks to Jill J., PA

71. Stumped on that Christmas or birthday gift for a Senior? Some utility companies now offer gift certificates. In this day of rapidly rising heat and light costs, this would be a valuable gift.

72. Many contractors sell and install only air conditioning OR heating systems. Get estimates for the system you need IN THE OFF-SEASON, and you may get a deal. Heating contractors are busy in the winter, so wait for spring to call them. The reverse is true of air conditioning contractors. You could save $800-$1500 on a system by doing it this way.

73. Heating units built during the 1960s or earlier have low Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE). Gas-fired furnaces and boilers can have AFUEs as low as 60 percent; oil-fired units can be around 65 percent. If you think in terms of dollars, I translate this to mean that for every dollar of fuel being burned, only 60 to 65 cents is used for heat. The remaining 30 to 35 cents goes up the chimney or is vented from the house as exhaust. Only in the late 1980s and early 1990s did the minimum AFUE on gas- and oil-fired systems change considerably. Today, minimum AFUEs are 78 for fossil-fueled warm-air furnaces and 80 for fossil-fueled boilers.

74. When building or shopping for a new house, pay attention to the overhangs. Those are the roof extensions that exceed the main body of the house. Summer shading of windows can be accomplished, and exposure in winter will allow warm sunshine to enter. In summer the house is cooler, requiring less air conditioning, and in the winter the sun enters and saves on heat. Click this example of how it works to see a larger illustration.  I have 3' overhangs on all sides of my house, and the  result is incredible.

75. According to the US Department of Energy's Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy website, most conventional draperies can reduce heat loss from a warm room up to 10 percent when drawn during cold weather. Their site states, "To reduce heat exchange or convection, draperies should be hung as close to windows as possible. Also let them fall onto a windowsill or floor. For maximum effectiveness, you should install a cornice at the top of a drapery or place the drapery against the ceiling. Then seal the drapery at both sides and overlap it in the center. You can use Velcro or magnetic tape to attach drapes to the wall at the sides and bottom. If you do these things, you may reduce heat loss up to 25 percent."

76. This is my 2nd year in a row of lowering both my electricity and natural gas bills, despite natural gas prices substantially rising in Colorado. Here's what I did: New windows - almost $11k, old wood ones were rotting, so I didn't have a choice. There is (was?) a federal tax deduction of a couple hundred bucks for this. Weather stripping around doors where I could see light shining through, including all outside doors. Insulating around outlets. You can buy a 10-pack of foam outlet insulation things for about $1.50. Buying a clothes drying rack. In a state with practically no humidity, why not? It even makes the house feel more comfortable with the humidity.  vtg

77. This is something I never thought I would do-- hand wash my clothes. But when we moved into an apartment without a washer and dryer, costs quickly were adding up to do our laundry at the apt. machines. At a $1.45 per wash and then another 1.45 per dryer load and doing anywhere from 3-5 loads a week, we were spending from $9-15 a week on laundry, which turned into the lovely amount of $36-60 a month! In order to save money, we found this amazing little hand washing machine. It costs $43 at http://www.laundry-alternative.com/ and is great! You put in your water, your detergent, then your clothes, turn the crank for 2 min. to wash, drain the water, then rinse, and voila! clean clothes! Here are the advantages as listed on the website: -Washes a 5-lb. load super clean in just a couple of minutes. -Has a patented pressure system that forces detergent into the fabric at high speed for a fast, efficient, economic and very easy wash -Is ideal for campers, single persons and even for the housewife with small frequent loads like hand washables and diapers. -Is ideal for delicates such as woolens, silks, knitted dresses and cashmere garments. -Uses 90% less water and detergent than conventional washing machines. -Uses far less water than even hand washing.

78. Read carefully those little notices stuffed in with your gas and electric bills. A major shift is taking place with many companies in 2008 with how they charge for energy. In the past, many rates dropped as you used more of their energy in any given month. But now, utility companies are charging, or thinking of charging, more per unit of energy as you use more. The need for conservation takes on yet another value for seniors.

79. A utility company representative recently stressed that energy efficiency is not just about saving the environment, it is about saving money. Energy-efficient appliances can quickly pay for themselves in energy savings. Refrigerators, freezers and washers and dryers have all made significant technological strides in efficiency. And while window companies often stress the energy savings of installing new windows, a new HVAC unit might make more sense.
"You could spend $20,000 on new windows and save maybe $100 a year," said Curt Atkins of Waverly Light and Power. "But if you spend $6,000 to $7,000 on a new HVAC unit, you could easily save $500 to $600 per year."

80. For directions to build a solar oven visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_oven and http://solarcooking.org/plans/

81. Is this a sign of the times?   ROCKVILLE, Md. -- If you don't already, start hanging onto those monthly utility bills. You may need them to sell your house. Montgomery County passed a raft of so-called "green" legislation. Home sellers will have to show home buyers how much they may end up paying to heat and cool the property. Builders will have to build homes that meet Energy Star efficiency standards, something builders say will cost more In the long run, Council member Roger Berliner says the changes will save consumers money.

82. The U.S. Department of Energy, (DOE) has launched an interactive internet site to help consumers make the daily choices necessary to save money on utilities. If the interactive picture does not appear on your screen, scroll to the bottom of the page and click "text version".

83. Did you know that roughly 60 percent of a home's water consumption takes place in the bathroom, according to the California Urban Water Conservation Council? The largest culprit is the toilet, which accounts for 27 percent of your household supply every year. By installing low-flow toilets, showerheads and faucets, you can save thousands of gallons of water each year. In addition, replace leaky fixtures. That slow-dripping faucet can waste as much as 2,400 gallons of water per year. (click picture to enlarge)          

84. Nine quick tips for keeping your house cool this summer, and saving money in the process. Tips are from Southern California Edison
85. SeniorArk came across a site offering waterless toilets. called the "envirolet". SeniorArk knows nothing about it, so investigate for yourself.

86. Did you know you can install a natural gas central air conditioning system. Makers claim that you may spend only 1/3 as much as you are spending on electric central air. These are available in small-size, packaged cooling units suitable for single-family homes, condominiums and townhouses. Using a process known as absorption chilling, these air conditioners replace ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) by using water and an environmentally safe solution for cooling. Improved efficiency is achieved by capturing and reusing the heat that is released during the absorption process. Here are some sites for more information: http://ezinearticles.com/?Natural-Gas-Air-Conditioning&id=304376 , http://www.onlinetips.org/natural-gas-ac   We are having a lot of trouble finding a source for these units, but we know they are available.

87. See Kiplinger's list of the best 15 things you can do today to save money on your utilities, Includes a link to a Kiplinger slide-show and the complete story.

88. Google.org is looking to help out with your electric bills. The search giant's charitable wing has announced the Google PowerMeter, an app designed to help users track their home electricity usage.

89. I just discovered a site that may soon be very useful in providing information on how to save money on utilities. www.saveonutilities.com
90. 5 Things you may not know you can do with your cell phone.
91. Use glass/ceramic pans in the oven. Glass and ceramic heat faster than metal pans which means, according to the American Council for Energy Efficiency, that you can cook your meals at a temperature 25 degrees lower in the same amount of time. G.J. Tulsa, OK
92. Set your refrigerator on the right temperature. The optimal temperature for your refrigerator is 37 to 40 degrees. Anything colder than that will not keep you food longer, and in fact may damage it by freezing.

93. Did you know that a full refrigerator is more energy-efficient than a sparsely filled one? If you fill milk jugs with water and place at the back of your refrigerator shelves, they will retain the cold, and cause you refrigerator to run less often. The same is true of the freezer, where you could add water to expandable plastic jugs, leaving a little air inside for expansion. Or extra meat and vegetables can be added to fill the space. Air spills quickly from your cold areas when doors are open, requiring frequent re-cooling.

94. An oven wastes 95% of the heat produced. It is far more energy-efficient to use your cooktop, microwave, toaster oven, or slow-cooker. This is less important in cooler areas where escaped heat is useful in heating the home as well.

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