Is your electricity bill sky high? If so, you probably need to start conserving energy at home. However, saving money is not the only reason to conserve energy. By using less electricity, you’ll also help the environment because less electricity use means less fossil fuels burned, which is better for the planet. Here are ten ways you can conserve energy at home.
Insulate your ductwork
If the air ducts in your home are poorly sealed or insulated, it will add unnecessary dollars to your energy bill each month.
As explained by the Department of Energy, air ducts are scattered throughout your home, carrying air from your home’s furnace and central air conditioner to each room. These ducts are usually made of sheet metal, fiberglass, or another durable material.
Not many people realise that these ducts often leak air into unheated spaces, making your electricity bill skyrocket. You can avoid this by insulating your HVAC network. This relatively simple task can save up to 20–30% of the system’s output that is lost due to leaks.
2. Landscape for comfort
Have you considered how landscaping can help you reduce your home’s heating and cooling costs?
As noted by First Energy Corporation, carefully positioned trees that shade the house from the sun can reduce a household’s energy consumption for heating and cooling by up to 25%, saving an average household between $100 and $250 in energy costs every year.
In fact, a well-designed landscape will provide enough savings to return your initial investment in setting it up in less than eight years. If you want to maximize your savings even more, make sure your air conditioner is in the shade––this can increase its efficiency by as much as 10%.
3. Minimize phantom loads
According to the U.S. Department of Energy in the average home, 75% of the electricity used to power home electronics is consumed while the products are turned off––this kind of energy use is called a phantom load.
Eliminating phantom loads is easy. Simply unplug appliances and electronics when they’re not in use. Or, if that sounds like too much effort, plug them into a power strip and turn the strip off when you’re not using the items plugged into it.
4. Update your bulbs
Changing the lightbulbs in your home to light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs can drastically reduce your energy consumption. As noted by the U.S. Department of Energy good quality LED bulbs, especially ENERGY STAR rated products, use at least 75% less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescent lighting.
The department says that the widespread use of LED lighting has the greatest potential to impact energy savings in the United States. By 2027, widespread use of LEDs could save about 348 TWh (compared to no LED use) of electricity; this is the equivalent annual electrical output of 44 large electric power plants (1,000 megawatts each), and a total savings of more than $30 billion at today’s electricity prices!
5. Cold wash your clothes
Do you still use the hot water setting on your washing machine? You shouldn’t be. Most modern detergents don’t need warm water to work and using cold water means your washing machine will need much less electricity per wash.
According to Energy Star, 90% of your clothes washer’s energy usage goes toward heating the water! Simply switching your temperature setting from hot to warm can cut energy use in half. Using the cold cycle reduces energy use even more. By washing your clothes in cold water, you’ll not only reduce your energy bill, but you’ll also reduce your environmental footprint. Washing 4 out of 5 loads of your laundry in cold water could cut out 864 pounds of CO2 emissions in a year. That’s a lot!
6. Turn the fan on
If you’re spending a lot on air conditioning in your home, consider turning a fan on while the air conditioner is running. According to the US Department of Energy, turning on the fan in a room can allow you to raise the thermostat by 4 degrees without sacrificing comfort. But remember to turn the fan off again when you leave the room to avoid it using more electricity than needed. Fans cool people through a wind-chill effect, it won’t cool the room!
7. Air dry your dishes.
Do you know how much electricity your dishwasher uses to dry your dishes? Well, according to Hawaii Energy, the heated dry setting on your dishwasher causes it to use an extra 110kWh per year.
To save this electricity, simply open your dishwasher’s door once it’s done washing and allow your dishes to air dry. This can save you up to 50% of the energy the dishwasher usually uses.
8. Update your thermostat
If you’re still using an old thermostat, upgrade it to one you can program. Doing this you can save on the electricity used when you’re not at home. According to the Department of Energy, programmable thermostats can save you up to $150 a year on energy costs when used properly.
A programmable thermostat will automatically adjust your home’s temperature to your schedule, turning off your heating/cooling system when you’re not home, and turning it back on in time for you to arrive to a comfortable home.
9. Turn down the thermostat on your water heater
How hot is the water coming from your warm taps? If the answer is scalding – you can definitely turn down the thermostat on your water heater and save on your monthly energy bill. As noted by Ecomall most water heater thermostats are set to 140 degrees F when 120 is usually fine. Each 10 degree reduction saves 600 pounds of CO2 per year for an electric water heater, or 440 pounds for a gas heater.
This means that if every household in the United States turned its water heater thermostat down 20 degrees, we could reduce annual CO2 emissions by 45 million tons––the same amount emitted by the entire nations of Kuwait or Libya.
10. Clean and replace air filters regularly
The US Department of energy recommends routinely replacing and cleaning the filters in your air conditioners to make sure they operate as efficiently as possible. Filters usually have to be cleaned or replaced every two months during the cooling season. However, if your air conditioners are subject to dusty conditions or you have pets in the house, you may need to do it more frequently.
Replacing a dirty, clogged filter with a clean one can lower your air conditioner’s energy consumption by 5 to 15%.
There are many easy ways to conserve energy at home, so why not start today? Remember, you don’t have to implement all of these measures at once! Every little bit helps, so just do what you can now because you can always implement more energy saving measures at a later stage.