It’s the hottest time of the year, which probably means there is a way over the thermostat. The house is too hot, but you’re trying to keep the electricity bill reasonable. Here are some simple and inexpensive ways to save energy without sacrificing the comforts of modern living.
Energy Efficient Appliances
Consider this: Turning off two 100-watt light bulbs for just two hours a day would translate to saving over $15 a year. Switching to LED lightbulbs would further reduce electricity consumption by up to 80%.
If that is a simple lightbulb, just imagine what a larger appliance could save?
Some of the biggest energy hogs in your house are the hot water heater, washer/dryer, electric oven, refrigerator, and television. Energy-star appliances save, on average, 30% on your electricity bill. For most households that would equate to around $600 a year in savings.
Upgrading to a smart appliance could help you save even more money. Smart thermostats are popular because they help ensure that you aren’t cooling an empty house. Why stop there? You can find smart versions of most appliances, including refrigerators, lighting, oven, and washer & dryer sets.
As a kid, I remember hanging on the refrigerator looking for a snack. After a matter of seconds, my dad would tell me to close the door -- I was letting all the cold air out. Once I closed the door, you could hear the motor kick on to try and maintain the temperature.
This uses electricity.
Of course, a hungry kid isn’t the only reason a refrigerator might have a hard time keeping a temperature -- a big reason could be a leaky seal, low on refrigerant, or a motor that needs replacing.
Other appliances have similar requirements to work efficiently. Your air conditioner will work less if you replace your air filters regularly.
Pick Smart Temperatures
Can you really tell the difference between 71 and 72 degrees? You can when you look at your bill, but it likely won’t make a big difference in terms of comfort. Picking the right temperature setting for your appliances can help reduce your electricity bill.
Here are some recommendations:
- Refrigerator between 30 and 42 degrees.
- AC around 78 degrees and use a fan.
- Turn your water heater to a max of 120 degrees.
- Turn off your oven slightly before it should be done and let the residual heat finish the job.
Turning Off Things When Not In Use
This is the most obvious thing ever written; If you aren’t using an appliance, turn it off. Not watching the TV? Turn it off. Not in the room? Turn the lights off.
You can go one step further with this by using efficient power strips and then unplugging the entire power strip if you aren’t using those appliances.
Upgrade Your Insulation
You might have noticed that a lot of this post centers around maintaining temperatures. Your HVAC unit is a major culprit, so making sure your house is well insulated is important. Here are some quick items to check:
Check weather stripping around doors for any gaps or cracks.
Make sure that your windows and doors close completely.
Have your home insulation inspected for hotspots.
Seal any cracks around windows, doors, basement, or attics.
Upgrade your windows to double-pane if you live in cold climates or coated windows in hot climates.
Consider your alternatives
There are also a couple of smart choices you can make that will help save energy. Here is a quick list of our favorite energy savings tips.
- Use a microwave and not an oven.
- Wash with cold water when you can.
- Take shorter showers (to cut down on hot water usage).
- Use your ceiling fan in conjunction with your AC.
- Turn off kitchen or bathroom vents as soon as possible.
- Use your laptop over your desktop.
- Run your laundry and dishwasher with full loads.
- Don’t let recharged items keep charging once full.
Hopefully, with these tips in mind, you can drive down your energy consumption and save more on your next electric bill!