21 Impressive and Easy Ways To Save Electricity at Home
The subject of saving electricity is becoming bigger and bigger each day due to extraordinary energy bills caused by rapid changes in lifestyles. People want to make their homes as comfortable, entertaining and aesthetic as possible by installing heating and cooling systems, buying heavy appliances and fitting lighting systems that suck up a lot of energy. With the rising costs and shrinking economy more and more people are acting responsible and searching for reasonable ways to save electricity.
Each day you take a step to save electricity, it translates to more money in your bank account. Also, lower energy bills means lower electricity consumption, which is good for your health and the environment since fewer greenhouses gasses are emitted to the atmosphere. Although many people have shifted to renewable sources such as solar power, there are other electricity saving tips too which will help you to conserve power. The advantage to electricity saving is you don’t need total overhaul of your home to make it highly energy efficient. There are small yet effective steps you can take to save electricity at home:
Make use of natural light
Making use of natural light during the day has the potential to save you up to $9 per day. A single, strategically located window has the capability to illuminate 20 to 100 times its area. Besides saving you money, natural light enhances the aesthetic value of your room.
Replace old appliances
Large household appliances such as refrigerators and dryers are big consumers of electricity in any home. Make a point to replace old, inefficient ones with the latest models that come along with the Energy Star approval. Replacing an old dryer with the latest energy efficient version can save you up to $130 each year. Equally, replacing an inefficient refrigerator can save you up to $65 each year.
Unplug any electrical gadget
Some gadgets like computer printer and gaming systems consume electricity even when they are inactive. In fact, these kinds of electronics contribute to 10% of energy consumption. You can take advantage of a power strip with a switch to help you turn off numerous devices at a go.
Initial complete makeover to your water heater
Ensure to reset your hot water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Additionally, cover it using an insulating blanket. Bringing down the temperature and insulating the hot water heater can lead to significant energy savings of up to 15% each year. Also, occasionally inspect the water heater for leaks.
Caulk is a waterproof filler and sealant utilized in building works and repair. Caulking results in the formation of a flexible seal around door frames and windows. Caulking is an economical electricity saving measure. The return on investment would be realized within a year.
Consider installing a digital thermostat
When at home, find time to install and program your digital thermostat to ensure electricity efficiency. Resetting the temperature by 10-15 degrees Fahrenheit when not in the house can save your electricity bills by up to 10% each year.
Schedule an HVAC inspection
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, about half of homes electricity is channeled to heating and cooling. So it’s sensible to hire an expert technician to inspect you air conditioning, home’s furnace and ventilation (HVAC) to make sure they are working at peak efficiency. This inspection will cost you about $100 on the higher side, but the amount you’ll save per year will be astronomical.
Make a point to seal and insulate ducts
Ensuring that every ductwork in your home is sufficiently sealed and insulated can lead to remarkable energy savings of up to 20% each year. Also, make a point to regularly repair air filters to ensure air moves flawlessly through the ducts, which mitigates the HVAC system from working more than it should.
Join the solar panel revolution
Installing solar panels is expensive, so it might not represent an economical option to some. However, solar panels offer the greatest possibilities for saving energy. Traditional forms of electricity can be expensive, especially when used to power heating and cooling systems. Solar power will take up those big energy consuming tasks since its abundant and cheap.
Install a windmill
Well, this might sound like searching for a needle in a haystack, but if you’re actually capable of installing this, you could save up a big part of your electricity cost. To add to that, it perfectly good for the environment.
Minimize TV watching time
Most people, especially kids, are addicted to watching TV. This can lead to a bad routine where the TV is left on the whole day. Minimize TV watching by refocusing kids on other creative activities like reading interesting books or engaging them in light house chores.
Weather-stripping is the act of sealing openings like windows, trunks, and doors from external elements. This process keeps drafts at bay, hence, dialing back on your heating and cooling costs, while maintaining the required temperature inside your house to guarantee comfort.
Change up incandescent light
Lighting takes up 11% of an average household’s energy budget. Conventional incandescent lights convert just about 10% of the energy they consume into light. The rest becomes heat. Changing up to light emitting diodes (LEDs) and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) can minimize the energy required for lighting by 50%.
Invest in a tankless water heater
Tankless or Instantaneous water heaters provide only the required amount of hot water. They don’t generate the standby energy losses linked to the conventional water heaters. Tankless water heaters conserve energy by heating water directly without needing a storage tank. They also save you time as you don’t have to wait for the storage tank to fill up with sufficient water.
Use a laptop instead of desktop
An old desktop computer consumes way more energy than a laptop. If you’re still using an old desktop, consider recycling it and buy yourself a new generation laptop. Using a laptop for an average of two hours each day has the potential to save you up to $11 each year.
Ditch that old TV
Donate or recycle your old TV that consumes as much as $8 bucks per year. Buy the new generation LED TV that is highly energy efficient.
Turn off fans
If your air conditioner is in operation, there is no point of turning on the fans.
Change your laundry habits
Avoid using the medium setting on your washer. Just be patient until you have enough clothes since the medium setting is only capable of saving less than half of energy and water utilized for a full load.
If clothes are not very soiled, desist from applying the high-temperature setting. Water at a temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit uses a lot of energy than 104 degrees Fahrenheit for warm water setting. Also, 140 degrees Fahrenheit is less effective in getting clothes perfectly clean.
Hang clothes instead of using a dryer
Hanging clothes alleviates the needs for a drier, which consumes a lot of electricity and emits heat.
A vast amount of energy is always thrown into cooking. Consider the following recommendations to minimize cooking costs:
- Use convection ovens instead of conventional ovens since they are more energy efficient.
- Microwave ovens use a lot less energy (80% less) than conventional ovens.
- Utilize pressure cookers; they minimize cooking time dramatically.
- Always ensure to use lids on pots and pans as they enable faster heating of food compared to cooking in an open pot or pan.
Leverage off-peak rates
Most companies have scheduled off-peak rates that you can take advantage of to run your heavy appliances like dishwasher, HVAC system, electric ovens, freezers and so on.
Image credit: pixabay
Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.
Latest posts by Rinkesh (see all)
These days, it’s more of a win-win than ever to save on energy. Every time you lower your utility bills, you put more money back in your bank account. And lower energy bills also means less energy consumed, which means less harmful emissions released into our environment. And what makes this an even better deal is you don’t have to overhaul your home (or buy a new one) to make it more energy efficient. There are many easy, effective things that you can do, with little investment and little or no DIY experience, to save energy at home. Here’s a list of 10 ideas to get you started.
1. Minimize Phantom Loads
The term “phantom load” refers to the energy that an appliance or electronic device consumes when it is not actually turned on. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), “In the average home, 75 percent of the electricity used to power home electronics is consumed while the products are turned off.” A report from the University of California Berkeley says that phantom loads account for about 6 percent of all national residential electricity consumption. You can eliminate phantom loads by unplugging appliances and electronics when you are not using them, or by plugging them into a power strip, and turning the strip off when they are not in use. For more information, see Save Energy, Eliminate Phantom Loads.
2. Use More Energy-efficient Appliances
If you are shopping for new appliances, make sure to look for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star label before making a purchase. Energy Star appliances use between 10 and 50 percent less energy and water than their conventional counterparts. They may cost more than appliances without the Energy Star designation, but in most cases they will more than make up that additional cost through energy savings.
3. Change Your Light Bulbs
One of the least expensive and most effective changes you can make in your home is replacing your light bulbs. According to Energy Star, one of its qualified compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL), which cost just a few dollars, “will save about $30 over its lifetime and pay for itself in about 6 months. It uses 75 percent less energy and lasts about 10 times longer than an incandescent bulb.” Although some people are concerned because CFLs contain mercury, Energy Star says that CFLs do not release any mercury when in use, and actually reduce mercury emissions because they lessen the need for electricity from power plants that emit mercury. Learn more at Energy Star’s CFLs and Mercury page. For more energy-efficient lighting, see Bright Ideas for Home Lighting.
4. Install a Programmable Thermostat
Programmable thermostats work by automatically adjusting your home’s temperature to your schedule, keeping it comfortable only when you need it to be. If you don’t already adjust your thermostat throughout the day, a programmable thermostat could save you as much as 15 percent on heating and cooling costs. For more information on programmable thermostats, including a step-by-step guide to installing one, check out How to Install a Programmable Thermostat.
5. Use Fans for Cooling
In the summer, use stationary, ceiling and whole-house fans to cool your home, reducing the need for air conditioning. Simple Ways to Cool Your Home and Save Big explains that for every degree you raise your thermostat, you reduce your cooling costs between 7 and 10 percent.
6. Seal Air Leaks
In addition to thinking about whether your home has enough insulation, you should also look for any small cracks and gaps where air is leaking into and out of your home. Energy Star says that between improving insulation and sealing leaks, homeowners could potentially save 10 percent on their annual energy bill. The article Leak-Proof Your House and Save suggests that the first step in sealing a house is to tackle windows and doors. If searching for leaks sounds like a daunting task, you can hire an energy auditor to assess your house and find problem areas. Read more in Energy Audits: What Homeowners Need to Know.
7. Make Windows More Efficient
Even if you seal windows well, window glass is a thin barrier against outside temperatures. If you can afford it, install new storm windows in your home. How to Make Your Home Energy Efficient explains that storm windows reduce temperature loss by sealing leaks and creating a dead airspace between window panes. Though installation is expensive ($8,000 to $10,000 or more, depending on a variety of factors), storm windows have a relatively short return on investment (about 10 years).
If you can’t install new storm windows, there are other simple and inexpensive ways to improve the energy efficiency of your windows. You can cover windows with transparent material to improve insulation. Energy guru Gary Reysa recommends using bubble wrap for this, and estimates that it can reduce heat loss from a window by half. Check out Save Energy with Winter Window Treatments for other ways to make your windows more efficient, including using insulated shades and window quilts.
8. Improve Insulation
The Energy Star program estimates that more than 50 percent of a home’s energy use goes toward heating and cooling. Beefing up the insulation in your house’s attic, walls, floors and ceilings slows the flow of air between inside and outside, making it easier to control your home’s temperature. The easiest place to add insulation in your home is the attic. You can find out how much insulation you have in your attic — and how much you can add — in How to Insulate Your Attic and Save Money Year-Round. For more general information about home insulation, see All About Insulation.
9. Conserve Water
Using less water will lower your water bill. And when you use less hot water, you’ll also see savings in your gas bill, or your electric bill if you have an electric water heater. According to DOE, water heating is the third most energy consuming function in the home. To cut down on water use, take faster showers and be conscious of the water you use when washing dishes and clothes and preparing food. You can also save energy by lowering your hot water temperature. According to DOE, a water thermostat setting of 120 degrees is sufficient for most uses. If you want more water-efficient fixtures and appliances, refer to the EPA's WaterSense program when buying a new faucet or shower head. See Save Money on Water for more on the WaterSense program, or the DOE site on Water Heating.
10. Plant Trees and Shrubs
Planting shade trees around your home can lower your summer energy bill by reducing your home’s exposure to the sun. The Sacramento Municipal Utility District, which operates a program that gives free trees to its customers, says that properly placed tress can cut your summer electric bill by up to 40 percent. Energy savings from a tree varies greatly depending on its size and location in relation to your house. Planting shrubs and bushes around your home can improve insulation in the summer and winter. Learn more about using trees for shade from Money Does Grow on Trees.
Unplugging devices when they’re not in use is a simple way to cut your energy costs.