Energy Saving Tips: A Comprehensive Home Guide
Summer has arrived and for most people, that means a few things. Barbecues, pool parties, vacations, trips to the beach and unfortunately, higher-than-average electricity bills.
Now this wouldn’t be such a big deal, if not for that fact that electricity rates have already been on the rise for years. In fact, the average household electric bill has increased by 2.5% per year since the year 2000. Current trends indicate that this will continue into the foreseeable future unless some dramatic changes are made in the way we consume and produce energy.
Rather than simply wait for those changes and continue to pay ever-increasing bills, some people have decided to take matters into their own hands and take measures to reduce their electric bills personally.
This is the only real solution for the time being and should be being employed by more individuals. The reasons that you don’t see everyone doing this are mainly time, money and lack of know-how.
As far as time goes, with many people already working 2 or more jobs, the thought of having to spend any of their free time on anything which amounts to “work” can be unpleasant. As far as money goes, there are those who think that in order to save on electricity they would have to make a pretty hefty initial investment. However, if you have the right know-how, then you would know that it doesn’t take a lot of time or money to effectively better the situation.
Therein lies the problem: lack of know-how. Maybe you’ve tried to save on electricity before only to have your efforts yield little to no results.
I can guarantee you that while your intentions were good, you didn’t target the correct things, or perhaps went about doing it wrongly. The good news is that results are obtainable by anyone with the correct know-how.
So let’s go over a few points of general know-how as well as some tips and starting points which will assist you to become a master of conserving electricity and saving money. You can also take the free energy-saving quiz on bottom of this page to see how much you can save!
ENERGY SAVING TIP #1:
LOWER THE A/C COSTS!
The first thing to know is where the electricity you’re paying for is going. For most, the majority is going to the air conditioner. This is where roughly 57% of your bill comes from.
This makes the a/c a big point of address as it will have the biggest impact on your overall bill. The other 43% comes from your usual appliances like the stove, washer/dryer, lighting, water heating and general electronics.
Obviously, you can just use these appliances more sparingly to achieve some results. But, that’s not exactly what we’re going for. It’s not all that desirable to have to do without in order to spend less. We want to have our cake and eat it too, and it IS possible if we target the EFFICIENCY of our existing appliances.
As far as the a/c goes, there are several ways in which it could be running less efficiently than it could be. The first (and easiest to correct) is that it is set to too low a temperature. Each degree colder that the a/c is set could add 5% to your bill if left that way all month long. It is far cheaper to set your a/c a few degrees warmer and use some electric fans to keep comfortable rather than run the a/c colder.
ENERGY SAVING TIP #2: INSULATION
Another way that the a/c is rendered inefficient is through improper insulation in your home. Small cracks and leaks in the walls, windows and doors (as well as the home’s insulation in general) let cold air out and more heat in resulting in an overworked a/c unit.
A professional home energy audit will isolate these points so you know what to correct, but unless your local energy company offers free inspections (and some do) they can cost $300 to $500.
If you want to go that way, feel free, but there are ways to do it oneself. I won’t get into details but a simple Google search for “do it yourself home energy audit” will yield a lot of information. With the faulty points located, you can then set about correction and this can present you with some noticeable monthly results.
ENERGY SAVING TIP #3: Power Correction on your A/C
Lastly (as regarding the a/c), a major source of inefficiency comes from the way the a/c itself consumes power. This can be a bit tricky to explain but in essence your a/c consumes electricity at a different “frequency” than the electricity is supplied by the power company. This causes more electricity to be drawn in by the a/c than it actually uses.
Correction of this problem can be done by either purchasing a new and more energy-efficient a/c unit (which can run thousands of dollars) or by installing a Power Saver 1200 device. The Power Saver is a good option because it costs less than $150 and can save you thousands of dollars over the product's lifetime. By installing this device on your A/C motor, you consume less energy and your home becomes more energy efficient. To get more information, click here.
ENERGY SAVING TIP #4: Get a Programmable Thermostat
There are a few other things that you can do to further reduce your a/c costs, such as getting a programmable thermostat so you can set up for maximum efficiency as far as temperature and run-time goes, or close vents in unused rooms (so long as they don’t contain the thermostat) to get the rest of the house cooler, quicker.
With the a/c handled, there are still other things that you can do to further reduce your electric bill. Many of them are very simple and can be done quite easily and at virtually no cost. Others will require a little doing and maybe a small investment.
The main thing you need to ask yourself is, “How much effort is it worth it to me to save on electricity?”Just keep in mind that the more you do to save now, the more saving will accumulate in the future. With that being said, let’s look at some other ways to save electricity.
ENERGY SAVING TIP #5: USE Power Strips & Lower Energy Costs
This one may surprise you, but did you know that electrical appliances use electricity even when they are turned off? Also, many appliances don’t ever really “turn off”, but rather go into a standby mode. Appliances like TVs, Blu Ray players, microwaves and home stereos are rarely ever fully off. Things like cell phone charges will consume 1 watt of power even when not charging a cell phone.
Although this sounds like a small amount of electricity, it can add up. A family of 4 can easily be spending over $300 a year on electricity for appliances in this way. What’s the solution? Well you could simply unplug appliances when not in use. This is the most effective way, but by far the most annoying.
Another way to plug multiple appliances into a power strip and simply switch the power strip off when you’re not using the appliances. This is more convenient but the power strip itself consumes power even when the appliances plugged into it are off.
The best solution is to get a smart power strip. It will automatically detect which devices plugged into it are turned off and cut the power to them. It also will only use around 0.25 to 1 watt of power itself. If you have a large home entertainment setup this one is a must.
ENERGY SAVING TIP #6:
Change Computer's Energy Settings
Now let’s take up your computer. Most people leave their computer on for days on end and this can get costly. Turning it off isn’t the problem, it’s the amount of time that it takes to start it up again that people try to avoid.
The simplest solution is to change its power settings to make the computer sleep or hibernate after a short period of inactivity. It will use far less power when in one of these modes. Don’t forget to switch the monitor off too as it only takes a second to turn it back on.
Using a laptop rather than the desktop is the best choice as it uses less electricity overall. As most of what people do with their computers is browse the internet and e-mail, you don’t need to run a very powerful machine for most of your computing needs and a laptop or tablet will suffice without all the added power consumption.
ENERGY SAVING TIP #7:
Update Lighting to CFL or LED
Next we move onto the home lighting. Although regular incandescent light bulbs aren’t a big source of power consumption, like most things, they add up.
Getting fluorescent bulbs or CFL bulbs will greatly reduce the power expended on lighting. These types of bulbs cost a bit more, but they make up for it in their longevity alone.
ENERGY SAVING TIP #8: Bathroom Lighting Habits
Another point to consider is that people frequently use more bulbs than they need. A typical bathroom can have as many as 7 light bulbs. Do you really need that many? Just unscrew a few and see how much light you really need and stick with that. Leave them partially unscrewed in the socket and this way if one blows out, you’re not far from a replacement.
ENERGY SAVING TIP #9: Energy Efficient Appliances
Finally, we’ll go over the selection of appliances. If you are needing to replace a refrigerator or washer/dryer, make sure your next one is Energy Star certified. These appliances use a great deal less electricity (and also water in the case of a washer).
ENERGY SAVING TIP #10: Cooking & Laundry Alternatives
Even if you’re not looking to buy new appliances at this time, the appliances you choose to use can make a difference. Baking cookies? Use the toaster oven instead of the convection oven. Drying your clothes? Hang them on a line in the backyard if weather permits. These “little” choices can assist you in your quest to saving electricity.
So with all that being said, how much can you cut off your electric bill by using the above?
Every case is different and savings depends on how honestly and thoroughly each method was applied.
But, you could save between 20% to 40% easily on electricity each and every month. That doesn’t sound too bad now does it?
As most of these tips can be applied over a weekend, there’s no reason not to give it a shot.
So take your electric bill into your own hands and stop paying more than you need to.
These steps can be done by pretty much anyone.
Wouldn’t you like to be able to see a reduced electric bill knowing that you caused it?
Take the Energy Saving Quiz and see how much you may be being overbilled!