Winter can be an especially expensive time for energy usage, but so can spring when your appliances are outdated. If you’re looking for ways to cut costs, there are some easy places you can start! Depending the on the age and energy efficiency of your electronics, you could easy save money each month while doing your part for the environment. Just follow these simple tips and see the difference they can make.
- Figure out your energy usage.
Your bill should spell out exactly how much you use, but if you want to discover the culprits, you’ll have to dig a little deeper. What are the biggest energy drains in your household? Your HVAC? Washer/Dryer? Unfortunately, your energy company probably won’t (or can’t) break down that for you, but you don’t need to hire an electrician to determine it either.
When was the last time you really looked at your major appliances? Most of them are labelled with the year they were manufactured, along with their wattage. Once you know the wattage, you then need to think about how much you use it each day. For some people, this requires making a log, but that’s not always necessary. If you multiply the wattage by how many hours you use the appliance each day (approximately) and then divide that number by 1,000, you’ll have your daily usage. If you want to take it a step further and figure out exactly what these appliances are costing you, you can do that with a little help from your electric bill and the cost per kilowatt. Armed with this information, you can identify your heavy users and then form a place to bring these numbers down.
- Replace out-of-date items.
If your appliance predates the energy efficiency movement, then the easiest thing may be just to upgrade. When shopping for replacements, look for the “Energy Star” label that indicates that electronic not only meets federal standards, but exceeds them! These versions may be a bit pricier than their standard competitors, but they can save you more on utility bills in the long run. Most appliances must also display an EnergyGuide label to let you know how one unit compares to others currently available. While they don’t necessarily identify which one is the best deal outright, they are forced to show the estimated annual energy costs, along with a scale showing where that model falls among its contemporaries (in the same price range). These labels are made for the consumer, so don’t hesitate to use them!
- Reduce day-to-day use.
This can take a variety of forms, whether it’s remembering to turn off or unplug something when it’s not in use, to purchasing some high-tech helpers. How much you will save using these methods will really depend on your current usage. However, now you can buy a timed system to control your electronics and adapt to your patterns. That way, it turns items off at times when you usually don’t use them anyway, and then turns them back on right before you need them. While it’s not perfect, it’s a user-friendly option for many.
You should also look into advanced power strips, which can help to reduce “vampire loads.” That’s the name giving to the energy drain that occurs when an appliance is plugged in, but not in use. Don’t forget to buy energy efficient lightbulbs to go with your new energy efficient appliances! You can also try to rely on nature a little more for your heating and cooling needs. Open the blinds to bring more light and warmth into a space. Conversely, try insulating curtains and simply wearing layers during colder months.
If you’ve tried all of this, and still your energy bills are a little too much, you can also get a home energy audit. Don’t forget to ask us about green alternatives to heating and cooling systems, along with R-value insulation. For more tips and tricks, visit: https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/estimating-appliance-and-home-electronic-energy-use.