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The Thirty Second Rule

I want to dedicate this blog entry to my friend Levi. In a conversation he and I had a while back, he told me they have, what he calls, a “thirty second rule.” What that means is, if they are going to leave the room for more than thirty seconds, they turn off the lights. Simple, huh?
Yet this is such an easy habit to get into and it can make a difference. While I can’t say it will cut your electric bills in half (this is “halve it all”, after all), it can make a serious dent in your energy use.
My wife and I started being more diligent in turning off lights around our house. Since we currently have gas heat, most of our electric bills are lights and appliances. In just being careful: turning off lights when we’re not in the room, not turning on lights if we don’t need them (our house has wonderful natural light in most every room), and those sorts of things, we have been able to reduce our annual electric bills every year for the last three years. That’s pretty good.
There are a few additional things we’ve done to help with this, and I’ll talk about those in future blogs. But today, in addition to employing the thirty second rule, we installed timers on our bath fans.
One of the problems faced we are faced with in the Pacific Northwest is damp air. When we shower, we need to use the exhaust fan, but it usually doesn’t pull all of the moisture out of the air before we have to go to work. So what to do? We can turn off the fan and get SOME of the moisture out, we can leave the fan on all day while we’re at work and get ALL of the moisture out, as well as a significant amount of heated air.
OR, we can install timers. I remember in our first house we had the turn-the-dial timers on our bath fans. But those don’t look very good anymore and they fell into disuse (if they even make them anymore). But Leviton┬ámakes a multitude of nice timers. The one pictured here is what we installed on our bath fans. We set the timer for 60 minutes and the fan runs while we go to work, then turns off after an hour.
Leviton also makes a 24 hour programmable timer that we used for our exterior porch lights, too. But I’ll talk about our porch lights (CFL and LED as well as the 24 hour timer) next time.

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