How many appliances do you keep plugged in at all times — a few? They can’t be contributing that much to your electric bill, can they? You’re not even using them most of the time. Wrong! According to the National Resource Defense Fund, always-on appliances may account for 10% of your energy consumption — and cost you $165 a year!
This means that homeowners can reduce their energy consumption and cut their electricity bill by simply adjusting a few energy-wasting behaviors. The potential savings for an efficient home go beyond a cheaper power bill, as several ways to save energy also protect a home from falling into disrepair.
How to save energy at home
Here are five low-cost ways for reducing energy consumption at home:
1. Manage lint and filters
Several appliances in the home begin to run less efficiently over time. HVAC systems, for example, use removable filters to prevent debris and buildup from damaging important components. Homeowners commonly forget to switch out AC filters on a routine basis, and the performance of their home’s heating and cooling system suffers as a result.
Likewise, lint buildup can compromise the performance of clothes dryers. A steady airflow is required for both dryers and air conditioners to run at full efficiency, and The Family Handyman notes that the two chores collectively save families up to $85 dollars annually.
2. Program home thermostats
Programmable thermostats make it easy for homeowners to further improve the efficiency of their heating and air conditioner. Energy.gov recommends programming in-home temperatures according to the family’s household schedule. Programming heaters or air conditioners to only run while occupants are at home and not at work or school is a great way to reduce demands on a home’s HVAC system.
This also keeps them from running at full power during peak temperature periods and could add up to double-digit savings. According to Energy.gov, simply turning your thermostat up or down 7 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit from your normal temperature for 8 hours a day, such as while you’re at work, could results in 10% savings on your heating or cooling bill.
3. Unplug wasteful appliances
Televisions, laptops and entertainment systems draw energy from wall sockets even after the screen goes black. The only way to prevent these “energy vampires” from inflating the power bill costs is to unplug them while not in use. Surge protected power strips are useful tools for localizing energy vampires and shutting them down at once. Homeowners can also contact cable and internet service providers and have extraneous media boxes removed from their home.
4. Practice efficient cooking
Homeowners can save big in the kitchen by employing a few efficient cooking strategies. Cooking multiple meals at once, for instance, is a simple way to maximize the efficiency of the oven.
Full freezers and refrigerators require less power to keep food cool, so stocking up on groceries can also help to cut down on wasted electricity. Likewise, households can cut water and gas waste by scraping dirty dishes and rinsing them at once with a dishwasher.
5. Embrace small solutions
Ultimately, the key to reducing energy consumption on a budget is to maintain an open mind. Tiny gains in energy efficiency may not entice homeowners to change their behavior, but households that look at conserving electricity at home collectively stand to save big on their annual electricity costs. Embracing small energy solutions also teaches homeowners to be ever-cognizant of new ways to save energy. This awareness will help energy-saving behaviors become regular habits.
Many of these solutions will require developing new habits, but the energy savings from reducing your energy consumption are well worth the effort. Additionally, if you live in a deregulated energy state, you may want to consider shopping around for a better electricity rate. Call today to learn more about your options today!
Originally published 09/10/14. Last updated 01/23/18.