Heating and cooling your house uses up more energy than anything else in your home. Install a programmable thermostat so that you are not heating and cooling the house while you are at work. Program your thermostat consciously — and don’t habitually bump the temperature up and down. The thermostat should also be set to “auto” so that the fan does not run constantly, only when the A/C or furnace actually is actually running.
Make sure you go to the effort to install storm windows if you have them; and double check to make sure all of your windows are closed when the air conditioner or furnace is running.
In the summer, set your thermostat at 78 or higher while you are home; in the winter set it at 68 or lower. In the winter, you can also drop the temperature 10 degrees at night to save significantly on your heating bill.
Sources: Energy Savers and “How to Save Money Heating and Cooling Your Home.”
Lighting is also a significant use of electricity in the home. Switch to CFL bulbs. The upfront cost will be returned quickly. According to 18seconds.org, you can save $60 per year in energy costs if you replace the five most frequently used light bulbs in your home with Energy Star-qualified CFLs.
Sources: “Compare the differences between CFL bulbs and LEDs” and “CFL Bulbs Facts | Safety & Savings.”
Clothes dryers and refrigerators are typically the energy hogs when it comes to appliances. Only wash and dry full loads of laundry. Don’t over-dry clothes and don’t let clothes sit in the dryer and wrinkle so that you have to restart the dryer to get the wrinkles out. Better yet, use a clothesline!
Keeping refrigerators and freezers colder than necessary wastes energy. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends you keep a refrigerator set at 37° to 40°F for the fresh food compartment and 5°F for the freezer section. A separate freezer for long-term storage should be kept at 0°F. Frost buildup also causes the appliance to cool inefficiently. Do not let frost build up more than one-quarter of an inch. Clean coils regularly and make sure door seals are tight.
Sources: Energy Savers – Laundry and Energy Savers – Refrigerators.
Phantom energy is a tremendous waste of electrical energy in most U.S. homes. Anything with a remote and anything with a digital clock is using energy all the time that it is plugged in. According to the Energy Star website, these appliances cost the average U.S. homeowner $100 per year. TV off? Microwave not in use? It doesn’t matter — these appliances pull from the electrical grid all day long, unless they are unplugged or the power supply is interrupted. Power strips and The Smart Strip can help.
Source: “Save Energy and Money by Taming the Vampires | Phantom Energy”