One of our favourite blogs - Gizmodo - listed 17 common heating and lighting mistakes, as well as some quick fixes and general tips - some of which are of interest to our readers.
The article as a whole has some great advice for saving money, including some tricks about heating and lighting systems specifically:
Overlooking LEDs. Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are sometimes a better choice than CFLs. They don't contain mercury, aren't affected by frequency of use, and use less energy than CFLs. Plus, some pretty appealing products are hitting the market.
Using incandescent bulbs without a dimmer. Dimming incandescents reduces the amount of electricity they use. "The bulbs last longer and use less energy," Winters says.
Under utilizing your ceiling fan. A ceiling fan keeps air circulating. In the winter, the fan pushes the warm air down from the ceiling to help keep your warm.
Most ceiling fans have the option to change the direction of the fan's rotation. Clockwise-rotating blades create an updraft that pushes all the hot air trapped at the ceiling downwards, into the actual living space.
Not adjusting the thermostat at night. When you're away from home for more than four hours, or tucked in at night, turn down the heat to save a few bucks. Programmable thermostats can do this for you. Some can even think of this on their own.
But one of their tips set off a few alarm bells among the staff at Sparks Electrical. Gizmodo offers the following adviceon whether leaving a CFL bulb on uses less energy than turning it on or off.
"They're really not made to be turned on and off repeatedly," says Brian Winters, co-owner of Winters Electric, Inc., in Colorado Springs, Colo. "They are designed to be turned on and left on."
We would like to point out that Mythbusters debunked this old wives' tale a few years ago. They found that a standard CFL bulb would need to be turned off for just 0.015 seconds in order to save energy.
Thanks to the 21st Century's finest minds we can safely say that it is always worth turning off the bulb. Thanks to Gizmodo for an excuse to watch Mythbusters in the office.
It's true that turning a CFL lightbulb off and on repeatedly might shorten its lifespan. But the cost of replacing the bulb is far less than the cost of the energy bills you will receive should you leave them on from now until April.
Read the whole article over at the Gizmodo UK site for more tips and tricks to save money this winter, and let us know about any more in the comments. It's getting cold over here and we have spent all of our money on chocolate.