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Use your appliances more efficiently and save big

BY Allconnect | Mon Jul 20, 2015
Use your appliances more efficiently and save big

Not looking forward to your next bill from the local electricity provider? Like many Americans, you may be paying more for monthly utilities than necessary. That’s because a good deal of homeowners are currently overpaying for electricity, gas and water without even knowing it – and much of that overspending is caused by inefficiently operated appliances.

In fact, there are plenty of ways you can slow down the consumption of electricity in your home via small adjustments to how your appliances run on a daily basis. Whether new savings occur based on limiting energy consumption or simply modernizing your home to run more efficiently, a more sustainable approach to household energy can help you lower the amount you spend on bills each month.

Tag the biggest sources of waste
According to the Department of Energy, appliances consume 13 percent of your home’s electricity on their own. However, the amount of electricity consumption and waste across the spectrum of appliances is quite varied – it makes sense to target the biggest offenders first and make a bigger impact right away.

“Target the biggest offenders first to make a bigger impact right away.”

A chart from Energy.gov illustrates the home’s most energy hungry appliances based on cost, and notes that a home’s electric water heater is on average the leading source of energy consumption. The next few spots on the list include clothes dryers, refrigerators, freezers and desktop computers. For homes with swimming pools, electric pool pumps are also leading sources of energy use.

Try limiting your use of these energy hogs for a month and see if the adjustments make an impact on your power bill. Small habit fixes like closing the fridge or turning computers off instead of letting them run on sleep mode will eventually add up and make visible difference. If using key appliances less doesn’t have as big an impact on your energy bill as you expected, another appliance may be your biggest source of waste. Consider investing in an energy monitor to get a more exact pulse on where you should focus your home improvement upgrades.

Size your appliances to limit inefficiencies
Picking an appliance that’s too small or too large for your home can lead to instances of inefficiency, and wasted energy leads to bigger power bills. Incorrectly-sized appliances can even lead to reduced functionality, according to the Natural Resource Defense Council. That’s why it pays to size appliances appropriately when moving into a new home or deciding on a replacement model.

Major investments like refrigerators, freezers, washers and dryers should be sized according to the square footage of your home, the total number of occupants and expected frequency of use. Inspect Energy Guide labels for more information pertaining to the appliance’s performance and annual operation costs.

If possible, focus on appliances that carry the Energy Star label as well. These high-efficiency designs are guaranteed to help minimize energy consumption compared to traditional models, and investing in these cost-saving appliances now can contribute to big electricity savings down the road. When it comes to improving energy efficiency in the home, reducing energy use starts with changing how electricity is consumed in the first place. Choosing appliances that require less electricity to operate is a great place to start.

Use energy demand to your advantage
Several electricity providers across the country allow their customers to participate in demand response programs, which incentivize consumers to use electricity during periods of time when demand on the grid is low. Demand is typically at its peak during the middle of the afternoon, so power is rated more expensive during the day. In addition to receiving credits for helping the power company balance the grid’s peak load.

Customers who participate in demand response programs also benefit from lower electricity costs. Even homeowners who don’t have access to  demand response program can likely take advantage of cheaper night time rates. This is another way that homeowners can reduce their monthly costs by changing the way their appliances consume energy.

Greater energy efficiency translates to more money staying in your bank account.

Cut off energy vampires from their prey
The Public Broadcasting System highlighted five types of appliances that contribute the most to energy vampirism in your home. The list includes computers, televisions, cable and satellite boxes, surround sound systems and any device that operates with an internal clock, such as a DVD player or gaming console.

These appliances are designed to continuously draw power from the socket, meaning your electricity usage is constantly creeping up, even while your family is sleeping. You’ll need to devise a strategy to conveniently plug and unplug these appliances from the walls if you want to put a stop to this unnecessary energy waste. Additionally, new appliances are hitting the market that promises lower consumption rates when in sleep mode – keeping an eye out models like these will help you stop your energy vampire problem from getting bigger.

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