Hey Kids! Saving energy and water is not just a job for your parents, but one that you can take part in too! Using the items in your kit and installing them throughout your home is a great start, but changing how you use energy and water will make an even bigger impact. By changing your habits, you could help save your family as much as 30 percent on the utility bill! Your good behavior can even influence the whole family. Read the tips below to learn more about the energy and water you use around your home and what you can do to get started. Then, check out these Cool Links for more ideas. Savings amounts may vary.
Vampire devices (sometimes called phantom devices or phantom load) is the name given to electronics such as TVs , Video Game Consoles and Phone Chargers that still use electricity when they are off or in standby mode. We call them Vampire devices because they continue to drain power and electricity when they are not being used. Vampire devices can account for as much as 20 percent of a family’s energy bill!
- Did you know your TV and Video Game Consoles suck up power even when you are not using them? Don’t just turn off the power button when you are done, unplug them to save even more energy. You can also ask your parents to get a smart strip, and save energy automatically.
- Unplug your charger from the wall when your phone, tablet, MP3 player or portable gaming device is done charging.
- Unplug any appliance you are not using to avoid unnecessary energy use. Need an example of an appliance you could turn off? Your lap top, radio and even guitar amp all qualify as energy sucking vampire devices.
Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) not only last 10 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs, but they also save money because they use less energy. LED bulbs are also a great choice to save energy and money in the long run. Plus CFLs and LED bulbs stay cool to the touch.
- Always turn the lights off when you leave a room.
- Don’t just replace the incandescent lights in your overhead lighting. Make sure your lamps, reading lamps and even night lights contain energy efficient lighting like CFLs or LED bulbs.
- Whenever possible, use natural light from the sun to avoid using artificial lighting altogether.
- If you frequently forget to turn off your light, make a sticker or leave yourself a note right on the light switch, reminding you to turn off that light!
- Don’t forget about the lights on the outside of your house. Mom and dad can replace older holiday lights with LED lights, and save 10 times the energy. Not to mention, those LED lights will last as much as 20 times longer than incandescent holiday lights, and they are cool to the touch, so they don’t pose a fire hazard when lighting up the tree.
- Solar lights are also great. Does your family like to leave a light on at night to brighten up your house? Instead of using house lights, buy solar lights. Solar lights get their energy from the sun during the day, and light up your house at night.
Did you know when you save water you are also saving energy as well? It takes energy to heat our water, clean our water, and even get water to your home! Water is vital for our earth and our health, don’t let it all wash down the drain!
- Turn the water off while you are brushing your teeth.
- Do you help mom and dad wash the car or water the lawn? Make sure the hose has a hose nozzle to prevent water from being wasted. Want to save even more water? Turn the hose off while you wash and save 100 gallons.
- Only wash your clothes when there is a full load to be washed, and encourage mom and dad to do the same. Don’t forget to wash clothes in cold water to save both water and energy.
- Use a broom instead of a hose to clean your driveway, back patio or sidewalk. Do you like to use sidewalk chalk? A broom can even sweep away those chalk designs so you can create new ones!
- Help mom and dad collect the water that would otherwise run down the drain while rinsing produce or waiting for the water to warm up, and re-use it to water house plants.
- Fix a water leak and save 500 gallons each month! Do you know how to check for leaks? Watch faucets for drips, and use the toilet leak detector tablets from your kit. If your kit does not come with toilet leak detector tablets you can also put a couple drops of food coloring in your toilet tank. If the color leaks into the bowl, you have a leak.
- Don’t forget to check for outside leaks too! Sprinklers, outside faucets, hoses and even drip lines all have the potential to leak. Let mom and dad know if you see something suspicious, so they can fix the leak in a hurry.
- Take short 5 minute showers instead of baths and save energy as well as water.
- Water plants when it is coolest outside. Just like watering your lawn during the hottest time of the day, the water you feed your plants during the heat will evaporate. So water first thing in the morning or before going to bed at night, and you will have healthier, happier plants and more water saved.
While conserving water and energy, you need to be sure you are staying safe as well. Energy is an amazing thing. Energy keeps us warm in the winter, cool in the summer, cooks our food, heats our water, and even powers our TV’s, Video Games and Computers. But Energy is also very powerful, so staying safe is important. Read the following safety tips provided by the U.S. Department of Energy:
- Never stick your fingers or another object into an electrical socket or outlet.
- Never touch broken electrical cords or ones that have wire showing.
- Do not pull on cords to unplug them. Hold onto the plug instead.
- Do not touch anything plugged into electricity when you are wet or standing in water.
- Stay away from fallen power lines.
- Do not fly kites or balloons near power lines. Electricity can travel down the ropes, strings and wires.
- Do not climb power poles or trees close to power lines.
- Stay away from pad-mounted transformers. Those are the metal cabinets on concrete pads that contain electrical equipment.
Is energy leaking out of your home? Check out these tips to learn small changes you can make around your house that will save energy and money.
- Even if you are using the appliances in your home the most energy efficient way possible, they could still be costing your family a lot of money to run. When it is time to buy new, encourage your parents to replace their appliances with those that have the ENERGY STAR® label. ENERGY STAR certified products use less energy, and can save your family money. Your refrigerator, freezer, microwave, dishwasher, and even the washer and dryer are examples of a home appliance.
- Don’t leave doors to the outside open any longer than they need to be. When you take the garbage out, take your dog for a walk, or run outside to grab the mail, make sure the door shuts behind you.
- Is the window open in your room even when mom and dad are running the air conditioner? Before opening a window for fresh air, check to be sure the heater or air conditioner is in the off position. More energy is spent on heating and cooling than anything else in our homes. Don’t let all that energy leak out your bedroom window!
- Can you hear the wind coming in through your window even though it is shut? If you can hear the wind or feel a draft, let your parents know. They may need to use rope caulk or weather stripping around your window to keep the air from coming in, or going out.
- Make the most out of the air in your room, or any room in the house with a fan! In the summer months, the fan should spin to the left to keep you cool. In the winter, put it in reverse and spin the fan to the right. And don’t forget to turn it off when you leave the room.
- Keep the vents in your home clear. It costs less energy to get warm or cool air into a room when vents are not blocked. And remind your parents to change their air filters once a month to keep your heating and cooling system at its most efficient.
- Did you know for each one degree change in the thermostat, your family can save 5 percent on your homes heating and cooling costs? Imagine how much money could be saved in an entire year! Tell mom and dad to set the thermostat to 68 degrees F or cooler in the winter, and 78 degrees F or hotter in the summer.
- Open curtains and blinds on sunny winter days to let the sunshine in, and keep them closed on hot summer days to keep the house cooler.
- Make sure you clean the dryer lint trap after every load. Don’t help mom and dad with the laundry? You can still help them remember to change the lint trap before putting in a new load.
- Nothing tastes better in the summer than BBQ Chicken! Did you know that cooking on the BBQ not only tastes great, but also saves energy? Don’t make mom or dad slave away over a hot oven all day! Encourage them to get outside and cook on the grill. And don’t forget, BBQ Chicken tastes great in the winter too.
- Don’t stare into an open refrigerator trying to decide what you would like to eat while all the cool air leaks out. Think about what you would like before opening the door. Make your selection quickly, and keep the cool air where it belongs.
- Check out this fun leak detective project: Check to see if your refrigerator door seals work properly. Get out a slip of paper, close the door on the paper, and see if you can pull it out easily. If it pulls out you may need new seals, or it might even be time to get a new refrigerator. If it sticks and you have to tug to get it out, that means the door seals are working properly. Don’t forget ENERGY STAR products if it needs to be replaced!
- The last and certainly easiest energy savings tip? Don’t forget to turn off all the lights and appliances when you leave a room.