Create Your Home and Business Lighting Energy Savings

PREVIEW –This article may be just the thing to get you to make your move and begin using CFL bulbs now for more energy savings. Both residential and business usage is discussed as well as thought given to the use of the lighting. There’s a relationship between  lower lighting costs and sizing of a future solar panel project for your home. Begin planning future lighting changes or home remodeling using “next-gen” lighting, e.g. LED’s. Cost benefits are compared. Pick a new type of lighting that you can implement in YOUR home and get started creating your UtilsForLess!!  – Paul


Saving Energy With CFL Light Bulbs

By John A Knoelk

Energy savings covers a great deal of ground. Some of the ways require constant change, or changing the way you do things, and other ways require a one time change. Let’s look at a one time change that can reflect substantial savings. Let’s do a comparison of Edison’s favorite, the incandescent bulb, versus the new CFL.

Incandescent bulbs cost on average $0.50 a piece while CFL’s (compact fluorescent) cost on average $2.50 a piece. Quite a bit of difference, but the longevity of an incandescent bulb is on average 750 to 1000 hours, whereas the CFL is 10,000 to 15,000 hours. It is very easy to see which one is the better bargain to purchase. Now let’s look at the energy usage. A typical incandescent bulb you might have in a lamp is 60 watts while a similar CFL is 15 watts. That is a whopping 75% savings in watts used per bulb.

What kind of savings can you expect if you were to change all the bulbs throughout your house? To figure the savings we have to make certain assumptions. The average house has 30 bulbs, and average usage of 5 hours per day. With those assumptions you can save on average $6.00 per bulb per year. That is a household savings of approximately $180 per year just changing bulbs. The costs of the bulbs are already factored in.

Here is something to think about if you have a business, or commercial building. Lights are often on for 12 hours in a commercial environment so the average CFL will last 2 to 3 years. Wouldn’t you rather pay someone once every 2.5 years rather than 2 or 3 times a year to change those bulbs? Also the longer the lights are on the more you save.

Now the real wave of the future is LED lights, although their cost is very high, coming in at $40 to compare to our above examples. They run at about a tenth the cost of an incandescent and a little less than ½ of the CFL, coming in at a little less than $1.00 per bulb per year. LED’s are rated at 50,000 hours of usage, roughly 5 times that of a CFL. Saying all that, before you all run out to change bulbs, know that the incandescent bulbs project light farther and colors are viewed better under them. So changing them in the hall may be ok but not in my favorite reading area or my home decorating business office. One bonus of CFL’s or LED’s are if you are thinking about or have solar panels or other green energy sources the reduced wattage will reduce the amount of panels you need, and that can be a big savings. I hope I have shed some light, on a sometimes confusing subject.

Find out more about home repair and maintenance by visiting Home Repair Helpers

Contractor John has over 35 years in the home building and remodeling industry. He has earned the prestigious CGR (certified graduate remodelor) and CGB (certified graduate builder) designation from the NAHB (national association of home builders). He has sat on the educational advisory board for the Midwest Builders Show and is a past President of the Will and Grundy County Home Builders and Associates. This unique blend of experiences equips John to expertly advise you as your Home Repair Helper

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A parting thought, or two……This new technology is now available to you with the passing of an era – that of incandescent bulbs – and the emerging alternative lighting choices. As the commercial says, “Just Do It” – I began changing over to CFL’s as my old bulbs burned out and as a fixture that used more than one bulb had a bulb burn out. I’m researching LED lighting and will begin implementing them when the prices ratchet down a bit. I’m also on the lookout for cost-effective suppliers of both CFLs and LED lighting for you, my readers. Please come back for a visit and check my lighting items for sale!!

If you have comments or more hints on how to save money on your utilities, please comment below or use my contact page – I’ll do my best to pass your ideas along to others!! – Paul

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Energy Saving With Compact Fluorescent Lighting

PREVIEW – This article approaches the use of the “New CFL’s” in a practical way, e.g. with a confidence builder paragraph. I agree since we really have been using fluorescent bulbs for quite a while. I remember the circular tubed ones in my grandmother’s and aunt’s kitchens. As a matter of fact, I still have one of those in my basement now.

Don’s 3 major points are the biggest points of concern when deciding on whether to start slowly or to just replace everything. Use them in conjunction with his “Checklist” and you can’t go wrong in selecting CFLs for your home. In the town where I live there are folks who have done a wholesale replacement and are offering their old incandescent bulbs on Freecycle, a service that allows folks to share items that still have value with others rather than throwing them in a landfill. And there are others, like me who are replacing the bulbs on a more gradual basis as the incandescent bulbs burn out.

Adding Compact Fluorescent Lighting is  something you can implement in YOUR home to help you get your UtilsForLess!!  – Paul


How to Choose the Right CFL, Or Lighting – My Energy Savings

By Don Ames

How to Choose the Right CFL

It takes a little getting used to, this business of selecting a CFL (compact fluorescent light ). Now, replacing the old standard incandescent bulb takes some thinking. It used to be easy, if you needed more light, replace the 60 watt bulb with a 100 watt bulb. The best part of replacing an incandescent bulb is the knowledge that the new compact Fluorescent bulb is going to use about 75% less juice. Saving power and saving money on power is a good thing.

Some of you probably thought I was going to talk about the Canadian Football League. I can guess that Doug Flutie is out there somewhere nodding his head in agreement.

I don’t see what the big deal is, we have been using fluorescent bulbs for years. Those long slender tubes that light up the shop, garage, classrooms etc, have been lighting our way and saving us energy for a long time. All the light manufacturer did was make a small curly light and put a small ballast on each light.

Before I talk about how to select the correct CFL, I would like to make 3 important points.

1. Your home has more light bulbs than you think. Right now, guess how many light bulbs are in your home, quick, guess. What did you say, about 18. OK, now go and count each one, don’t forget the closet, the porch, the garage, the range hood, the chandelier, the bar over the bathroom mirror. What is the actual number? See, by changing out all the bulbs to CFL’s, you may save more juice than you thought possible.

2. CFL’s use mercury to enhance the fluorescent chemical process that leads to light. Most of the mercury is in vapor form, if you break a CFL bulb, keep your nose away from the broken bulb, ventilate the space and carefully secure the bulb in a plastic container such as a zip lock bag. Do not put the bulb in the garbage. Take the bulb to a location where it can be properly disposed. I take mine to Home Depot, they have a nice container for the bulbs right near the front door. By the way, a standard CFL contains about 0.000176 ounces of mercury. Since the amount of mercury is so small and there are proper places to put spent bulbs, the presences of mercury is not a reason to black list the bulbs.

3. A CFL bulb is made for almost every light fixture in your home. Lack of versatility is no longer an excuse for not using the energy efficient bulbs. Yes, there is a CFL for your bedroom light fixture that is on the dimmer switch. Yes, there is a CFL for your grandmothers 3-way light fixture in the dining room. Yes, there is a CFL for the recessed light over the kitchen sink. Yes, there is a exterior flood CFL for the motion detector light along the side of the garage. CFL’s have you covered.

OK, let’s trip on over to the store and select the proper CFL for your favorite light fixture. Here is my CFL Checklist:

A. Look for the Energy Star Seal. CFL’s are energy efficient compared to incandescent bulbs, but not all CFL’s are Energy Star Approved.

B. Choose the correct wattage. A 13 watt CFL bulb equals a 60 watt incandescent bulb. The equivalent watt ratings are clearly printed on the front of CFL packages.

C. Choose the bulb that is designed for your fixture. Table, floor and desk lamps, enclosed ceiling fixtures, dimmable, 3 way, indoor or outdoor flood, bug repelling yellow, or reflective. Reflective is often used in track lighting or recessed can light fixtures. All CFL’s should be instant on except some of the exterior flood lights, they may need to warm up to provide full light.

D. Choose the bulb with the desired color temperature. Look for packages labeled “2700 degrees kelvin” or “warm-white” if you want the same color and feel as the old incandescent bulbs. If you seek a brighter, “whiter” light there are CFL’s with 5000 degree kelvin or “bright-white” color temperature. In between the “warm-white” and the “bright-white” bulbs is the “cool-white” bulbs. At 4100 degree kelvin, the “cool-white” bulbs are a little whiter than the “warm-white” and a little more yellow than the “bright-white”.

E. Choose the light output rating. Marked on the bulb container will be the light output intensity measured in lumen’s. A standard 13 watt CFL may have a light output of 900 lumen’s. The more lumen’s the brighter the bulb.

F. Choose the bulb with the greatest life expectancy. Most CFL’s will have life expectancy listed in both hours and years. 12,000 hours and 11 years is average and pretty good. The years is based on 3 hours a day. You might pay a little more for the bulbs that last the longest.

G. Choose a CFL bulb that is packaged in a container that is 100% recyclable.

Well, there you have it. Count up the exact number of light fixtures you have in your home ( more than you think ) and keep your eyes open for that sale on a package of four CFL bulbs. Choose just the right package for you and join the CFL, save energy, switch out program.

Don Ames is the host of, stop by and sign up for my free weekly email newsletter on conserving power, one watt and one home at a time.

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Just a couple of other comments – some towns have a CFL recycling program and Home Depot/Lowe’s also have collection boxes for spent CFLs so getting rid of them is easy and safe for the environment.

In my most recent trip to Home Depot I saw a display showing the different lighting colors (temperatures of the light) produced by incandescent bulbs vs various CFL bulbs. You now get a choice of color of light based on your need and area of use – cool! Another trip to a local Battery and Lighting store found me in CFL heaven with various sizes, shapes, colors, dimming and 3-way versions of type of bulb!!

I’ll have more about CFLs with a cost-savings formula in another posting soon as well as information on the new upgrade for your incandescent bulbs and CFLs, the LED bulb. Make sure you come back to check for new articles.

If you have comments or more hints on how to save money on your utilities, please comment below or use my contact page and please come back for more ways that you can save money on your utility bills!! – Paul

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3 Ways To Go Green And Save Energy At Home

Are you serious about saving on your power bills? The good news is that you can not only save on your energy consumptions but you can be green in the process and significantly reduce your carbon footprint. While most people pledge their commitment to help save the planet, very few are prepared to take the necessary steps to actually do it. Burning fossil fuels is not only bad for the planet but its extremely expensive.

Its estimated that if we use just 70% of all the roof space in a city like London we can generate enough solar energy to fulfill more than 50% of the power needs of the city. While a lot of green energy has become catch phrases and cliche’s in our modern culture the fact remains that you can get practical about it and save a lot in the process.

So, what can you do at your home to utilize free energy sources? Here are 3 great suggestions that you can start using almost immediately.

1. Solar Hot Water Systems
One of the biggest energy consumers in any home is the hot water system. Heating water takes a lot of energy and regardless of the system you use it uses a lot of power to fill your bath and wash your dishes. If a family of 5 each takes 2 showers a day then that is a lot of hot water. Multiply that over a week, a month and a year and you will see just how it adds up. Installing a hot water system can make a huge difference. It basically uses the heat from the sun to warm up water and then stores it for when its needed. Although it does not heat it up to high temperatures, it does get warm enough to take a serious load off your electric or gas system.

2. Solar Panels
While a solar hot water system relies on the energy of the sun to generate heat, Photovoltaic cells allow us to convert the sun’s energy into electricity. Solar panels is probably the oldest form of passive energy but its only in recent years that its become very efficient – and affordable for home use. Depending on your energy consumption you can generate as much as 75% of your home’s electricity needs through solar energy alone.

3. Wind Turbines
Wind energy is one of the most untapped energy sources in nature and while so-called wind farms are springing up everywhere there is an opportunity for you to use this technology at home. Windmills have been around for ages and by using the same principle you can use the wind to generate electricity at your home. By installing a wind turbine on your roof you can capture this energy and convert it into electricity that either feeds directly into your home’s supply or gets stored in batteries for when you need it.

Read more about wind turbines and how to make a wind turbine… 

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A few words from Paul -

These ideas are real, and while the timing may not be right for you, the reader today, they may serve as a springboard to plan for future projects or identify requirements for your next home. You may want require that your next home, has enough roof space and is correctly oriented to take advantage of the free energy available from the sun. Alternatively you may require that your next home have either solar water heating or solar electric panels already installed.

I’ll talk more about both of these energy systems along with wind power in future blog posts and will be offering information for the “Do-It-Yourselfer” who wants to build a system for their home or become more knowledgeable when planning or installing any of these systems in their current or future homes. That’s it for today…….please come back soon and thanks for visiting!!  – Paul

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Water Savings – Begin On The Path To Lower Your Utility Bills

PREVIEW – Here’s an article with several excellent ideas for homeowners looking to find ways to lower their utility bills. Saving water in the shower is one of the easiest ways to begin. Besides shortening your time in the shower, there are many “water-saving” shower heads and inexpensive water restricting washer sets available on the market to get you started saving water at home. Click Here to see some examples from my Store Page!!

I have a garden and have begun to notice that people are using rain water collection to water their garden rather than using their home water supply. Remember if you’re using water, you’re paying for water and sewer charges for that water that never gets flushed – a double savings!! I’ll do some research to bring us more information about rain water collection – ease of implementation, cost savings and implementation.

I hope you find the article gives you an idea about something you can implement in YOUR home to help you get your UtilsForLess!!  – Paul  ________________________________________________________________

Easy Ways On How To Save Water At Home


Did you know that only 2.5 percent of our planet’s water is fresh water? That means that is the type of water that we use to drink, take a bath, cook our meals, and wash our clothes. And with all our bad habits we are making it all go to waste. Don’t you think it’s about time that we do our fair share and save water at home?

It should be an easy thing to start saving water in our own little ways, it is just that through the years we have accumulated a number of water wasting habits. And these are the habits that we need to unlearn if we want to contribute in conserving this very precious and very limited resource.

So here are some of the best tips that I can share to you so you can get started to save water at home.

Take a shower in just 15 minutes or less. In fact you can have a good shower in just about 5 minutes. Showering can sometimes be a great water waster because the water just keeps on coming out of the shower head and a great amount of it would just go straight to the drain. So limit your time in the shower and if possible, minimize the pressure so you are not using as much water as before.

Check on the pipes for any possible leaks. Sometimes the leak can be found buried in cement or underground so by our visual inspection alone may not be enough. Therefore you should make it a point to have a professional plumber do regular check ups on your plumbing system just to be on the safe side.

Install rain water tanks in your home. This is an excellent way of saving rain water that otherwise would have just gone straight to the ground. There are many ways that you can use the water that can be saved in these water tanks such as flushing the toilet or for other general cleaning purposes. Just make sure you are buying from a reputable manufacturer or dealer so you can have a good guarantee that those tanks will last for many years.

Use your washing machine only when it is full. Pile up on your dirty clothes so you can wash them all at once, in effect minimizing your water usage for washing your clothes alone. For most houses this practice can help save about 1,000 gallons of water in a month.

And if you have a driveway or a sidewalk, instead of hosing it down to clean it why not use a broom instead. Think about all the water that you can save and all the exercise that you can get out of this very simple water conservation tip.

So there you have it. These are just a few of the effective tips that you can follow to help you get started to save water at home. You do not have to memorize them all, just be extra mindful with every drop of water that you will be using. It is a step closer to saving our planet.

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As always, let me know your thoughts on this article and please come back for more ways that you can save money on your utility bills!! – Paul

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Summer Energy Savings Tips…..

Well as those of us ‘up North’ know, the summer is coming! It doesn’t seem that long ago that it was winter jacket weather and then spring jacket weather. Now it’s just evening light jacket weather. With the changing of the seasons it’s time to think about ways to save energy during the coming warmer part of the year – SUMMER!! For readers in the southern part of the country just make believe you saw this video a month or so ago and have begun to implement some of the ideas presented here!!

Here are some simple ideas presented in a video entitled “Summer Energy Savings Tips”. A few of the ideas presented are usable year around and the remainder are specifically aimed at those lazy, hazy, crazy, er, hotter days of summer!!

I hope you enjoyed the video…….there’s lots of information packed into 2 1/2 minutes or so. Feel free to review it as many times as you’d like. I’ll be bringing you more information about ‘Keeping the Summer Heat Out’ soon, so please come back to see what’s new!! If you have any comments or any tips you’d like to leave, please do so below or visit my contact page: I will be compiling helpful hints from visitors and once the list has grown long enough to do so, will be publishing them for all to benefit. If you leave any hints, please tell me whether you mind if I include them in a later post or not. That’s it for now and thanks for visiting!!  — Paul

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10 Tips To Help You Save Home Energy

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Before you spend money on the latest energy-efficient gizmo that’s supposed to save you money let’s look at some energy saving ideas that will really help you save home energy. The strategies that we will look at maximize the effort you put in and the reduction in your home energy consumption.

First sit down and think about all the different ways your family uses energy around the house. Now put an approximate type and cost of energy used. You may have trouble breaking down the cost but try to do it. Now all you have to do is find ways to save on your resources at the same time cut your costs. You may have to think creatively but it can be done.

So here are some tips to get you started:

- Turn the lights off when you’re not using them. This is really simple and easy to do. Do you really need your bedroom light on when you’re in the living room? Do you leave lights on when you leave the house? Do you even need more than one light on in a room for what you are doing? Believe it or not it makes a big difference.

- Turn all electronics and other appliances off when you’re not using them. No one can do everything at the same time. Can you really listen to a radio watch television and use your computer all at the same time?

- Set your thermostat down a couple of degrees in winter or up in summer, to conserve energy. And dress appropriately indoors for the time of year it is. For instance in winter, put on a sweater or some extra clothing, or may snuggle under a blanket to stay warm. In the summer, wear less and stay cooler naturally.

- Only turn an appliance on when you have a full load. This is true especially for the washing machine, dryer and even the dishwasher. It is amazing how much extra energy is used doing multiple small loads in comparison to one full load.

- Do regular maintenance on your appliances. Keeping them clean means they don’t have to work as hard. Changing filters again reduces the energy needed to accomplish a task. Regular care will also mean any maintenance bills that you might come up against may well be cheaper.

- Be careful how you use your water. Like when brushing your teeth or washing your hands, use only the water you need. Don’t let the water run the entire time. Also, try and use less water if you take a bath, or control your shower times.

- Simply let your hair air dry, instead of using a blow drier every day.

- Lower the temperature on your water heater to 120 degrees F.

Don’t forget the bigger projects as well.

- Seal the cracks around your doors and windows. You are paying for your hot air that escapes through cracks all around your house. You need to make sure you are doing all you can to keep the warm air you’re paying for inside your house.

- You also need to check your house’s insulation. Though this has been done by many homeowners nevertheless you still need to do it before you pass it over. It is probably the biggest thing in reducing heating costs.

Now some of these things may seem trivial to you but let me assure you that even the small things add up over time. And really most of them you won’t even notice the difference to your life except your bills.

These tips and suggestions will make your home more affordable, and take some strain off of our world’s resources. Just think if all of us would just made a few of these changes to how we do things on a daily basis it would make a huge difference.

Dave McIntosh has been in the renovation business for more than 30 years. He also believes very strongly in going green. With this combination he has developed over the years a huge amount of information about how to save energy and save money on your energy bills.
For more great information on, secrets on an energy saving house, visit

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A few comments by Paul…

Dave’s right on the money with these basics that can save you “Big Money” on your utility bills!! He talks about thinking about how your family uses energy. Are both or 3 TVs all tuned to the same program but ‘on’ in different parts of the house? Not only is each TV using more electricity, but there are probably also other things going on that can be eliminated if everyone watched just one TV such as room lights, a higher heat setting because the TV watcher is not moving and may need a higher room temperature to be comfortable, etc.

Setting one’s water heater to 120 degrees reminds me of two more tips – Flush your water heater twice a year to remove sediment and water scale that builds up over time and lowers the efficiency of the heat source when heating the water. Adding a thermal blanket over the heater will also keep in more heat once the water is heated and help decrease the need to repeatedly heat the water when it’s not being used during a good part of the day!!

That’s it for my two cents just now. I’ll have lots more to say about what we’ve been doing around our house to save energy – both electricity and natural gas as well as reducing the costs of each of these energy sources in later postings…..please stop by again!! Thanks – Paul

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