Fuel Tips For Your Home
By Cecilia Sherrard
With gas prices almost doubling this year in the Cleveland Ohio area, (As if last year wasn't bad enough) Any and all short cuts will help.
- Covered pots or pans will boil or steam faster, allowing lower temperature settings.
- Cook outdoors, use a microwave oven, or prepare cold meals to avoid heating up the kitchen and adding moisture to the air. Microwaves use less than half the power of a conventional oven and cook food in about one-fourth the time.
- Use small appliances like a toaster oven or electric skillet. On average, they use half the energy of a full-size oven.
- Turn off the surface element or oven a few minutes before cooking time is up. The pot is still hot enough to continue cooking.
- Don't line oven racks with foil. It blocks the heat flow and makes the oven work harder to cook food.
- Do your heavy summer cooking in the cooler early morning or evening hours.
- It takes energy to heat water so use as little as possible. Most frozen or fresh vegetables can be cooked in a quarter cup of water. Even eggs will cook in this reduced amount if the pan has a tight-fitting lid.
- In the oven, cook as many dishes as possible at one time. Foods with cooking temperatures within 25 degrees can be cooked simultaneously at the same temperature.
- Preheat the oven only when necessary. Many foods don't require it. Use your self cleaning function while the oven is already hot.
- Don't peek into the oven. Each time the door is opened, the temperature drops 25 to 50 degrees.
- With stews, soups, and other foods that need long cooking times, cook in large quantities and freeze in meal-sized portions. Use a pressure cooker. It cuts cooking time to one-third that of conventional methods. Use a pressure cooker if possible. Here's my favorite tip: If you're going to clean your oven using the self cleaning function, do it while the oven is already hot!
Most of the energy in a washing machine is used to heat the water. Use warm or cold water when possible, and always rinse with cold water.
- Don't use more detergent than you need. Too many suds may require extra rinsing.
- Put full loads in the dryer, but don't overload. Overloading makes the machine less efficient and more costly to operate.
- Use warm or cold settings to dry, especially for permanent press clothes.
- Always keep the lint filter clean.
- Don't overdry clothes.
- The dryer will run most efficiently when drying clothes of the same thickness.
- Do two or more loads in a row. (The dryer is already hot) When possible, use an outdoor clothesline rather than a dryer. (Especially large blankets)
- Seal around areas where heat can escape such as windows, doors, bathroom vents, and chimneys. Insulate attics and walls.
- Check the manufacturer's label before insulating your water heater; set the temperature to about 120°.
- Properly maintain your heating system - have it inspected and cleaned annually; replace furnace filters once a month during the heating season, or as needed.
- Clean warm-air registers, baseboard heaters, and radiators as needed; make sure furniture, carpeting and drapes do not block them.
- Reduce the thermostat setting when everyone is asleep or away from the home. Consider installing a programmable thermostat.
- Install storm windows and lock your windows to create a tighter seal; use drapes and shades at night to conserve heat.
- Close the damper on your wood stove and/or fireplace when not in use.
- Invest in energy efficient appliances. Look for appliances with the EnergyStar label.
Please also view my saving fuel for your car article on my website.
Cecilia Sherrard is a full time dedicated Realtor in Northeast Ohio. With years of experience and knowledge, she has maintained a multi-million dollar producer status. Servicing areas such as: Westlake, Lakewood, North Olmsted, Rocky River, Cleveland, Brook Park, Parma, etc. Visit her website at http://www.youshouldown.com