Nowadays, more and more conscientious homeowners are paying attention to both their spending habits and to the effects their own consumption is having on the environment.
As the effects of climate change are starting to sink in — with glaciers shrinking, accelerated sea levels rising, and heat waves becoming stronger and lasting for longer stretches of time — thankfully, people are realizing that small changes in our lifestyle can have a big impact in reducing energy consumption.
And there’s no better place to kick off small lifestyle changes to address this that at home.
Even the smallest changes can have a significant impact on the energy consumption, especially if you take into account the compounded effect of implementing them in households across the country.
So whether you’re trying to be more environmentally conscious or simply looking for ways to save on your monthly electricity bill, here are some things you should be paying attention to:
Turn off the lights and electrical appliances when away from home
When you’re not at home, make sure to turn off all the lights and electrical appliances not in use. Same applies whenever travelling — be it for the weekend or for a full vacation stay — make sure to turn everything off (coffee maker included) — except maybe for the appliances that keep foods from spoiling.
To make it easier for you to figure out what those appliances are, a good exercise is to turn off the lights one evening and check for all the blinking lights around the house.
You’ll find tons of opportunities to save energy this way, from your Wi-fi router to your microwave, coffee maker, kitchen appliances, TV, printer, and so on.
If you’re willing to commit and take things a step further, you can also turn them off every night — and that’s sure to make a bigger difference on your energy footprint.
Doing this may seem difficult at first, especially when you’re used to just keeping things plugged in and switched on.
But, once you get used to it, you’ll see that this small change can radically reduce your bills — and the need for that is all the more dire, at a time when energy costs have become so high that a whole new industry was born around no deposit electricity companies (where homeowners acquire pre-paid plans and run the meter only until they meet the limit they paid for).
This practice will also help prolong the life of your appliances.
Optimize cooling and heating
Shut doors to rooms or areas you are not using, and only cool or heat the areas where you are spending the most time in, like your bedroom, living room, and kitchen.
This will help you save big on wasted energy. There’s no need for you to heat your garage, your storage, or laundry area, not to mention any guest rooms that nobody is occupying.
During the winter, make sure to seal your windows firmly and close curtains at night properly, to keep heat from escaping. During summertime, close the curtains during the day to keep sunlight away from your home and refrain as much as possible from opening the doors or windows while the AC is on. I mean, we’re not trying to cool the outside, are we?
To take things up a notch, try using the newest models of cooling and heating devices — that have energy-saving technology incorporated and that will better control your energy footprint without much input from you.
Use LED lighting
Did you know that energy-efficient lights can save up to 70% of your lighting cost? LED lighting products use less energy and have a longer lifespan — which means you could save money in both energy savings and in unnecessary spending on replacements.
There are also smart home lights that can be controlled through mobile apps or home automation hubs with the integration of Wi-Fi or Bluetooth that are worth considering; you will be able to control them from anywhere and decide just how dim your lighting gets.
If you’re the type that often runs out of the house and forgets to turn off the lights, this is definitely something you should consider — as it allows you to log into a mobile app and turn them off remotely. Isn’t technology beautiful?
Manage washing dishes and clothes
A great way to save energy in your home is by holding out from washing your dishes or clothes until you have a full load or a full machine.
Also, you can stop the washing operation after rinse and let the dry cycle be done by natural air. When was the last time you got your clothes out of the washer and hung them out to dry?
Remember that drying cycles consume a considerable amount of energy for something that could happen naturally with the same results.
While getting your laundry to dry naturally might take some work on your part (who wants to hang tons of socks to dry?), doing so with your dishes is a small change that can have a significant impact, without much input from your part.
Consider doing this every time you do your dishes in the evening, and leaving them overnight to dry in the washer — which could save you good money over the course of a year.
Make sure your insulation system is on point
Insulation matters: add insulation to your roof, water heaters and hot water pipes, and doors to save energy in your home by making sure you’re not letting any of the heat disperse (don’t forget about the crawl space either, if your home has one).
Make sure to turn off water heaters if you plan on leaving for a few days, it can save big on energy; most of the new heaters nowadays can heat water within one or two hours maximum, so there’s no need to worry about how long it will take to reheat after you return home.
Use energy-efficient kitchen appliances
- The fridge is running 24/7, so you need to make sure that the door sealing is perfect to prevent any leakage, while also making sure you set the degrees of your fridge and freezer to match the perfect condition for your weather.
- Use microwaves instead of electric ovens, as they consume much less electricity and need less running time to heat food.
- Remove frozen food from the freezer before cooking to give it a chance to thaw naturally without the need for heating.
- Keep the oven door closed while cooking and refrain from constantly checking your food, as the temperature can drop by quite a few degrees every time you open the oven door, which forces you to use more energy to bring it back up.
Upgrade your HVAC system
If you’re not fully familiar with this, the HVAC system consists of your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning equipment. Here’s how you can save home energy by upgrading your HVAC system:
- In northern regions, heating consumes about 45% of home energy because of cold weather. So upgrading your heaters is mandatory. You can also consider replacing them with a fireplace in your living room. For instance, if you notice that your water heater is going bad, now’s a good time for you to replace it.
- Ventilation system consists of a network of ducts that distributes cold and hot air throughout your home. So you must insulate ducts properly to avoid heat dissipation and save energy from being wasted in vain and do the maintenance for this system.
- In southern regions, air conditioners consume a high amount of energy during high-temperature times; an AC with inverters is useful to optimize the usage.
Buy A-rated appliances or appliances with energy-saving technology
While A-rated appliances may be a little more expensive than regular appliances, the additional energy savings will end up covering the additional cost in a year or two tops. These devices are better, safer, and help you reduce your energy bills significantly.
For example, today’s modern electric fireplaces do have the elegant look and when it comes to power consumption, these are totally bill-friendly equipment.
Install motion-detector sensors
Motion-detector sensors are those lights that brighten once they feel movement near or under it. These devices can help you turn off the lights in any room if you completely forgot to do it yourself, or if you end up spending more time away from home than you had expected.
Solar energy has been growing in popularity in recent years, with many homeowners successfully using solar power for their lighting or heating water needs. Using solar energy would require a bigger initial investment on your part, but it would help you save significantly on the long run — plus, you’d be doing the environment a big favor.
You’ll start to feel the differences in your bank statements when you no longer have to pay as much in your electricity bill, even if you still have a lot of appliances and gadgets at home.
Energy savings start by creating small changes at home. The above tips can point you in the right direction, but if you have better ideas and solutions for running a more efficient, environmentally friendly home, drop us a line in the comments section below.
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