As I noted in a previous post, your heating costs typically account for more than 30% of your home’s energy bill. This post is particularly relevant during the long winter months, but we should consider our electricity use all year long.
A Home Energy Assessment, done by a professional, will be useful in identifying these deficiencies in your home, but in the meantime, you can start with a few of these easy DIY steps:
- Each incandescent light bulb you replace with a compact fluorescent light bulb will save you $6 per year. The average household has over 50 light bulbs; how much could you be saving in energy costs? Using task lighting and natural lighting is more efficient than lighting your entire space. Remember how opening your curtains during the day takes advantage of solar heat gain? It also provides natural light to save you electricity!
- Look for ENERGY STAR products, including appliances, electronics, and light fixtures. These products use less energy without sacrificing quality or performance. Look for ENERGY STAR qualified cordless phones that feature switch-mode power supplies and “smart” chargers.
- Remember to always turn off your lights when leaving a room, even if only for a few minutes. Using a power strip as a central “turn off” switch for electronics will save you significant phantom power and electricity for equipment on stand-by. Likewise, unplug any battery chargers or power adaptors when they not in use.
- Unlike air conditioning, fans cool only people, not the room, so remember to turn them off when you are not in the room.
- Wash your laundry with cold water whenever possible. Don’t over dry your clothes; use your dryer’s moisture sensor whenever possible. Dry full loads, or reduce drying time for partial loads.
- Set your water heater thermostat to 120ºF or lower. This is important for efficiency and safety.
- Your refrigerator is probably one of the largest energy users in your home. New refrigerators are much more efficient than older models. If you have a second refrigerator that you don’t use frequently, consider getting rid of it, or upgrading it for energy savings. An older model can cost more than $100 or more per year to operate. Keep your refrigerator and freezer as full as possible, and unplug it when it is empty.
- Use your microwave to reheat or cook small portions. Use your toaster oven instead of your oven whenever possible. While using the stove, use the right sized pot on burners. A 6” pot on an 8” burner wastes over 40% of the burner’s heat. Also, cover pots and pans to keep heat in.
- Your outdoor porch or post light is one of the most used light fixtures in your home, and is the ideal place to install ENERGY STAR lighting fixtures and CFL or LED bulbs. Installing a fixture with a motion sensor or photocell will further save you time and money. Look for other ways to control the lighting in your home, like dimmers, sensors or timers to reduce your lighting use.
- Enable Power management features on your home computer, monitor, and television. Save energy and space with multi-function equipment, such as a 4-in-one printer.
For more energy saving tips, check out the following websites: