Abstinence is Best, but … It is Not Always Practical
It is a proven fact that the best way to reduce your electric bill is to not use electricity. Simply put: Your electric company does not bill you for 100% of the electricity you do not use. Similar statements are true for your expenses for natural gas and gasoline. So next time you feel that you are paying too much for your energy, just remember that you have the power to spend less by using less.
Then again, the notification that using less energy is the best way to reduce your energy consumption has its limits. Should you be expected to read in the dark? Walk to work? Put on another layer of clothing as the temperature drops?
It is far more practical to seek out ways to reduce your energy consumption while maintaining or improving the effectiveness of the energy.
The motors in electric appliances, from the compressors in the refrigerator and air conditioners to the motors driving your laundry machines – even Energy Star appliances, all use too much electricity. This is due to a property of electricity called power factor. These motors are using a portion of the electricity to generate an electromagnetic field that enables the motor to do work. The electricity used in the generation of the field can be recaptured and reused by installing a properly sized bank of capacitors into the electrical system. If the electricity is recycled, it is not continuously purchased and a reduction in both usage and charges will result.
Incandescent lights are archaic. They are using the same technology that Edison used over 100 years ago! Too much of the electricity they use is wasted in the form of heat and they burn out in less than 1000 hours. They are fragile and dangerous when broken.
Fluorescent bulbs convert less energy to heat and are generally more efficient and have a longer life (about 10,000 hours). They are, however, not without their own problems: they dim over time, take a moment to turn on after supplied with power, and they contain the hazardous chemical chemical. Because of the mercury, they require special disposal and recycling procedures to prevent mercury contaminating the groundwater.
Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) are a superior form of lighting. They use 60% less electricity than fluorescents (85% less than incandescent bulbs). They are instant-on, shining as soon as the power switch is flipped. They contain no hazardous chemicals and require no special disposal procedures. Solid state technology means that they do not break easily and their life expectancy is often in excess of 50,000 hours.
Fuel additives designed to increase your gas mileage are not new and are readily available. The downside is the need to replace the additive every time you fill your gas tank. Essentially, all it is doing is adding a small amount of very high octane fuel to bring your overall fuel rating up. You could achieve similar results by purchasing a higher grade fuel.
Oil additives are less common. The ratione behind an oil additive is that that will improve the performance of the oil so that less friction develops in the engine. A replating additive such as Friction Free 3000 deposits micron sized beads of elemental copper and lead into the crevices and cracks that develop in the crankcase of an engine to resurface the metal and reduce friction. Less friction means that more of the energy contained in the fuel is converted into usable power for the vehicle and can increase the fuel efficiency by ten percent. Less friction also means that the engine produces more power per stroke while running marginally cooler (most engine heat is generated through combustion of fuel, not frictional forces). Less wear and tear on the parts results in a fewer maintenance calls over time.
Use Electricity, but Wisely
It is not always practical to avoid using energy altogether. If it were, the energy crisis would not exist. When it is possible, however, it makes good sense to do so: benefitting both the financial resources that pay for the energy and the environment that pays the price if we do not conserve.