1. LED Bulbs, bright and cheap
According to Energy Star, 12% of your annual energy bill comes from lighting. The great news is that new LED lighting can dramatically reduce your overall wattage usage. An incandescent bulb ranges from 40 to 60 watts per light, while an equivalent LED bulb consumes a miserly 7 to 9 watts. These bulbs will be more expensive to purchase, but they typically have a 20-year life span. Beware of less expensive bulbs with 5,000-hour or about 4.5-year life spans.
2. Ceiling Fans, turn ‘em off
If you’re a fan of fans, you may have grown up leaving them on in empty rooms to circulate and cool the air. Many of us grew up believing this. Sadly, it’s simply not true. Fans do not cool the air, instead they provide a sense of cooling when you’re sitting underneath or near them. To help save a few more dollars for that delicious pumpkin spice latte drink you love, turn the fans off when you leave the room and keep the dollars you would have sent to the electric company for your morning coffee escape.
3. Smart Thermostat, temperature cruise control
While we’re on the topic of cooling and heating, let’s check out the brains of the operation. If the thermostat in your home is not smart, you have a chance to raise its IQ. Making your thermostat smart can be as simple as selecting one that has date and time programming directly on the unit or a version that has WiFi-enabled motion detection and picks up on your daily routines. Either way, programming a thermostat to be cooler during the winter while you’re away and warmer while you’re gone in the summer can help. Cooling a room when no one is home, much like leaving the fans on, is a waste. If you have a smart thermostat, you can be even more sophisticated by programming temperatures for when you’re home. For example, keep your thermostat a few degrees warmer at 2 am when the temperature drops in the summer. Fine-grain adjustments can help you discover the thresholds of your comfort while being energy efficient. Check with your energy provider to see if they offer a free smart thermostat for good-looking customers like you.
4. Energy Vampires, unplug those suckers
Did you know that your cell phone charger and other power adapters have a tendency to draw electrical currents when they’re not in use? The U.S. Department of Energy calls these energy vampires due to their energy-sucking ways. To combat this, unplug those chargers and power adapters when they are not in use. You should also consider power strips with energy saving features or simply use an existing one and turn it off when nothing is plugged in.
5. Water Heaters, be cool
Another large perpetrator of energy use is your water heater. Few of us enjoy the regular cold shower, so we certainly can’t do away with it! If your water heater is gas powered, then it’s naturally more efficient in the way it consumes energy. If you have an electric water heater, some electric companies have programs where they will install a device to program times for the water heater to turn on and off automagically, like your smart thermostat. Program the times when you frequently bathe and turn it off while no one is home or the household is sound asleep to save precious watts.
6. Dishwashers, fill ‘em up
Finally, if your home is equipped with a dishwasher, you are in luck, too! Next time you run a load, make sure the dishwasher is full to maximize the energy and water used. Choose the eco mode (if available) to clean the dishes efficiently with the less water and power. You can even let the dishes air-dry for an extra bump in savings. The half load doesn’t typically use half the water and energy, so skip it. I’ll leave the conversation on how to “properly” load a dishwasher to you and yours. 😉
I hope you find these six tips on how to save energy and money useful. Even if you start by choosing one or two tips, it can be a great way to have a few extra bucks left over at the end of the month to buy yourself something nice.
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