Do you know how much energy you waste?
Many people are unaware of the extremes of their consumption habits, especially when it comes to energy use. Calculating your electricity-use can be shocking— no pun intended.
Cutting back on your consumption benefits the environment, reduces your power bill, and can even make you eligible for personalized electricity rates. Here are five things you can do now to cut back your household energy use.
Seal and Shade
One of the best ways to cut back on energy consumption is to seal and shade your home. Drafts will dramatically impact your power usage in the winter and summer by allowing heat or air conditioning to battle the outside elements.
Seal your home by maintaining the weatherstripping and adding more insulation around outlets and dated windows. In the winter, consider sealing your windows with shrink wrap. In the summer, seal your fireplace and use shades to block the sun.
Change the Temperature
Subtle temperature adjustments yield significant results. Start by turning down the temperature on your water tank. A few degrees will be imperceptible to you, but noticeable on your power bill.
The same applies to the temperature in your home. Use a programmable thermostat that decreases the temperature when you’re sleeping or away from home. If you feel chilly, put on some socks. In the summer, opt for a couple of degrees warmer than your ideal air conditioning temperature. Your body will acclimatize within a few days.
If you aren’t already washing your laundry in cold water, do so. Turn down the dryer to medium heat and use reusable dryer balls to make your machine more efficient.
Mind the Lights
Leaving the lights on adds up over the year. Remember to turn off the lights or use smart lighting to ensure everything is powered down when you leave for the day. Swap out your traditional bulbs with LED bulbs for some serious, eco-friendly cost-savings.
Swap out exterior lights with motion sensors to cut your consumption even further. During the holidays, opt for LED decorations and lights as well. You can also install dimmer switches to turn down the lights, which is a great way to cut back on consumption while adding to your home’s ambiance.
Eliminate Vampire Power
Vampire power, AKA phantom power, gets its name for leeching energy from your home when things aren’t in use. Common offenders for vampire power include:
- phone chargers
- DVD players
- coffee makers
Vampire power allows these items to be on standby so that you can start them with the click of a button. However, unplugging these items or using a power strip can cut 5-10% off your power bill, saving you hundreds of wasted dollars each year.
While power strips are a budget-friendly option for reducing vampire power, you can also invest in smart home outlets. Many of these are programmed to detect when phantom power is in use and cut it off at the source.
Upgrade Your Appliances
Older appliances use much more electricity to operate than newer models. Replace your dated dishwasher, fridge, stove, air conditioner, dehumidifier, heat pump, and laundry machines with a newer, Energy Star model.
It’s also worth swapping out your faucets and showerheads with an aerated or low-flow model to cut back on hot water use. As a bonus, using low-flow showerheads, taps, and toilets can also cut back on your water consumption as well. You can often get rebates for purchasing energy-efficient appliances— be sure to explore your options.
With these five simple upgrades, you can improve your home’s energy efficiency and reduce your carbon footprint.