COASTAL LIVING: Household energy savings all about common sense

  • Jun. 29, 2013 10:00 a.m.

Rust never sleeps, and neither does waste. Here are some quick tips to make your house more efficient:

Dishwasher

Fill it up – A dishwasher uses the same amount of energy whether it is full or empty so do only full loads.

Be lazy – Most newer-model dishwashers do not require pre-rinsed dishes so don’t do it.

Choose wisely – Select the energy-saving cycle, most of the time it will clean regularly soiled dishes just as well as the normal cycle.

Be a drip – Drip-dry your dishes to save energy. Turn off the automatic drying function or simply turn off the machine at the end of the washing cycle. Open the door and forget about it.

Washer and dryer

Get cold – Heating the water accounts for up to 90 per cent of the energy required for washing your clothes. Use cold water.

Fill them up – Washers and dryers use the same amount of energy for a full loads as they do for half loads, so unless you have a half-load setting, fill them.

Don’t over-dry – Remove clothes when they are 95 per cent dry and save yourself the ironing while extending the life of your clothes. Also, try to group similar materials together, like towels or denim jeans.

Hang ’em high – Use a clothesline – sunlight and fresh air are free.

Bathroom

Slow the flow – Install low-flow shower heads and flow-reducers on your taps.

Brush in silence – Turn off the tap when you brush your teeth and save seven to 12 litres of water per a minute.

Tighten up – A hot water tap dripping once every second wastes 720 litres of water per month – that’s about 16 hot baths. Tighten taps and replace washers, if necessary.

Flush less – Put a plastic pop bottle or milk jug filled with water, pebbles or sand into your toilet tank and save 45 litres of water a day. Make sure to keep the bottle away from the operating parts.

Computer

Shut it down – Turn off computer equipment when it is not in use. It is a myth that computers use large amounts of energy when starting up or that constant start-ups damage components or lead to electrical surges.

Go to sleep – When your computer does get left on, make sure you have enabled the sleep power-management function.

Unplug – Chargers for equipment like laptops, cell phones and digital cameras draw power whenever they are plugged in, even if they are not charging anything.

Source – Fortis B.C. PowerSense and LiveSmart B.C.