The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimated that the monthly electricity costs for Americans averaged nearly $400. With the annual cost of electricity nearing $5,000, homeowners should determine why and where they are overpaying for utilities. A few efficiency strategies could make a big dent in a household's monthly spending.
Some appliances, such as refrigerators, are natural power hogs. Other appliances, such as washers and dryers, utilize a large amount of power but can be operated to maximize efficiency. The San Francisco Chronicle explains that homeowners can wash clothes in cold water and increasing load sizes to boost the efficiency of their laundry appliances. Finally, families must be wary of appliances that sap electricity by simply being plugged in. Home electronics like Blu Ray players and big screen monitors should be unplugged when not in use to save power.
Utilize power strips
Plugging and unplugging appliances each day could turn into an inconvenient chore. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends that families use power strips to simplify this process. Inefficient appliances or a room's worth of electronics can be localized around strategically placed surge protectors. This strategy allows homeowners to "un-plug" several appliances at once with the flip of a switch. Make sure to invest in a high-end surge protector when utilizing this strategy. Homeowners risk electrical fires when unprotected power strips are overloaded with energy-hungry appliances.
Energy savings become more complicated as homeowners acquire additional electronic devices. Thankfully, consumer technology has trended toward bundles and all-in-one devices. Homeowners interested in setting up a home entertainment center, for instance, could instead invest into a Playstation 4. The console combines streaming capabilities of a TV box with a Blu Ray player and an advanced video game console. More importantly, families who consolidate hardware have far fewer devices to plug in and manage. Cable and internet service providers often bundle convenient media devices with their services.
A power monitor is an invaluable tool for homeowners attempting to cut power costs. These devices provide real-time data on the distribution of electricity in your home. Data recorded by a power monitor can be used to test the efficiency of new appliances and identify when changes around the house have translated into savings. Advanced power monitors will provide detailed information about which appliances are wasting the most energy as well.