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The following article is by MPFJ staff writer, Miss T from Prairie Eco-Thrifter. If you want to learn how to live your dream life in a sustainable, healthy, and money savvy way, check out her site here.
How can you save money in the living rooms of your house?
In other articles in this series, we’ve talked about saving money by turning off lights when no one is in the room, adjusting the thermostat a few degrees and turning appliances off at the wall when not being used.
Are there any other ways that you can save money in living rooms?
Using the windows and drapes to control the temperature inside your living room is going to save you money on your heating and cooling bills.
In summer, if you open the windows and drapes in the early morning, you will draw in the fresh, and usually cooler, morning air to lower the temperature of the room and freshen the atmosphere. As the day heats up, and especially before the sun hits that side of the house, close the windows and pull the drapes to help maintain the room temperature. You will save dollars by not turning on your cooling system until after midday. As the day cools down again in the evening, open your drapes and windows on the shaded side of the house, or where you will get a cool breeze blowing in, and let nature cool your house down again.
In winter, keep the drapes and windows closed in the morning. When the sun hits the wall of the house, open the drapes and let the sun warm the room and lift the spirits. As the warmth of the sun fades, close the drapes again to conserve the warmth in the room. Use drapes that are made from special insulating fabric for the best results. If you use this strategy in conjunction with adjusting the thermostat on your heating, you will certainly notice a drop in your energy bills.
Use ceiling fans to help with temperature control.
In summer, they provide a gentle movement of air to cool you down. In winter, don’t ignore these great heating helpers. Most ceiling fans have a reverse function which forces the warm air in the room down towards the floor, keeping the warmed air where you need it and helping to keep the room warmer.
Consider ways in which the lighting in your living areas can save you money.
Overhead lighting is usually very bright and may not be necessary in rooms where you are just watching TV, listening to music or having a quiet conversation. Change the bulb in your central lights to a low-wattage CFL to conserve power and use only as necessary to light the whole room. Use table lamps beside sofas and chairs for light as needed. By only turning on the lights you actually need, you could save up to a hundred dollars a year. During daylight hours, open the drapes instead of turning on the lights and watch your power bills drop.
When the time comes to replace or upgrade your electronic appliances in the living room, look for low energy usage and energy-efficient models so that you will be able to keep your energy bills as low as possible.
Consider the size of the TV you buy; do you really need a huge TV that is going to use loads more power than a smaller one? Another little known fact about televisions – the factory settings on your TV may not be at the most energy-efficient levels, nor the most suitable for home viewing. Did you know that the brighter you have your TV, the more energy is uses? No, I didn’t either and I found I could adjust this setting several degrees lower and save money.
We now know that electronic equipment left on standby continues to use power, even though they seem to be turned off. However, these are often very difficult to get behind to turn off at the wall, so consider plugging them all into one power strip that you can put somewhere that is more easily accessible. It won’t be such a chore to turn off the TV, DVD player, computer etc and you will be more likely to do it regularly. When spending time on the computer, use the low power mode for as much of the time as possible to save energy as well as extending the life of the computer. Most people believe that a screen saver saves power but this is incorrect; set your monitor to sleep mode after a certain time or switch it off manually when not in use. Another misconception is that computers and other electronic devices last longer if they are never turned off; the best way to conserve power is to turn them off when not in use.
If you have more than one living room, such as a family room and a formal living room, you probably usually only use one room at a time. I know when we had a formal living room in our last house, we hardly ever used it. Another way to save money is to turn the heating or cooling off in the room you aren’t using. If you plan to use the room, you can always turn it back on ahead of time but in the meantime, you’ll have been saving even more off your power bills.
I’ve noticed a drop in our energy bills by putting most of these ideas into practice While, on their own, they may seem minor, the most effective way to save money in living rooms is to put several small initiatives in place, rather than looking for one major to change.
How about you all? What techniques do you all use to save some money in the living rooms of your house? Have you used any of the strategies mentioned above?
Share your experiences by commenting below!
***Photo courtesy of http://prairieecothrifter.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/iStock_000014230326XSmall-300×199.jpg