It’s always rewarding to be able to do more with less. A great way to accomplish this is by lowering your energy usage. In doing so, you can reduce waste, save money and play your part in making the world a better place.
Of course, this doesn’t just happen. You need to know how you consume electricity and where you can improve. The US Energy Information Administration estimates that the average American home uses around 876 kilowatt hours of energy per month, with air conditioning, heating, lighting and other basic utilities taking the largest share.
There are many ways to bring down your usage in all of these areas. Here are ten smart and simple solutions to consider. Use them and maybe you will be able to afford some replacement windows, which would lower consumption even more.
Run the Numbers
First, you should find out where exactly your energy bill is going. You can do this by consulting an online tool that offers recommendations based on your lifestyle factors, or by hiring a local energy auditor to walk through your home and point out the main culprits.
Another option is to pick up an energy monitor (popular brands include Sense, Smappee and Efergy) that slides into your breaker board and reads the current to provide an accurate picture of which devices are consuming the most power.
Check Your AC and Heater
After air conditioning, space heating is the second biggest consumer of electricity in US homes. It’s not always easy to turn down the thermostat during your winter morning showers, but a smart thermostat (Nest and Ecobee) can learn your habits and make the right adjustments independently.
Plus, they can be controlled from anywhere via your smartphone, so you can turn devices on and off even when you’re out. Fixing air leaks with proper insulation in your attic and around windows can also help. Be sure to read this guide on how attic insulation improves your home’s energy efficiency to learn how you can prevent costly heat loss.
Address Your Washers and Dryers
The majority of energy consumed when washing clothes is from heating the water. With a specialized detergent, you can switch to using cold water to keep your garments clean. If you aren’t able to air dry your clothes, setting your dryer to an automatic cycle (instead of a timed one) will stop it as soon as the moisture sensors deem it appropriate.
Be sure to check out tankless water heaters while you’re at it, which can save space and reduce electricity consumption by heating water as it flows to the outlets. The initial investment may take some time to pay off, though.
Replace old bulbs with LEDs
Old light bulbs consume much more electricity than the modern LEDs, which are nowadays so much more impressive than you might think. You can basically find LEDs that offer light of any color and arrange them in any way possible. You can even create very complex light schematics in your home, all while you end up consuming much less energy.
Also, LED lights do emanate less heat, which automatically means your heating bills will be lower by simply using them.
Unplug electronics when not in use
We do not think about unplugging electronics when not in use because of a very simple reason. They do not consume a lot. After all, there is just a little light that is usually on and that is the consumption. While this is often true, it is not reality with all electronics. Also, when you have many small lights in your home, they do end up consuming much more than expected.
The most important electronics you should unplug to save electricity are small kitchen appliances, your entertainment system, chargers, and computers. Those that you do not really need to unplug are older, nondigital electronics and power strips.
Avoid placing heat-emitting appliances near thermostats
This includes appliances like lamps and TV sets. The problem with the thermostat is that it senses the heat created by the appliances. Your air conditioner will end up running more often and longer, which will cost you money.
Clean your air filters regularly
If your air filters are not clean, your air conditioner is going to end up working much more than it should. This is one of the most common mistakes people make with their HVAC systems. And it is a shame since cleaning air filters is very easy to do. You just have to take them out and wash them with water, which is usually ready in just a few minutes. Then, you let them drive and put them back.
Cover the Basics
In addition to the afore-mentioned essentials, the following basics are well-worth looking into.
- Close blinds and drapes in summer
- Find ways to incorporate natural light
- Don’t peek into the oven
These are all tried-and-true solutions, but there are more ways to make an impact. Always keep an eye on your power consumption and see where else you can improve.