Due to the rising costs of electricity and the new found “go green” attitude, many people are looking for ways to reduce energy consumption. Besides the obvious steps of making it a habit to turn off all lights and appliances when not in use, there are a variety of ways to cut energy use and lower your electric bill without a major investment or lifestyle change.
To begin, many people do not realize that household appliances and pretty much anything you plug into an outlet consumes energy even when turned off. It is a good habit the remember to unplug that cell phone charger completely when you are not charging your cell, or to store appliances like your toaster, blender, hairdryer, etc when not in use.
If you are like most, a large percentage of your electricity consumption is due to heating and cooling your home. Always remember to check your air filter regularly and replace it at least every three months. Its recommended that you keep your thermostat set at 65 degrees during the winter and 75 degrees during the summer. You may want to consider installing a programmable thermostat which will adjust temperatures automatically during set periods of time. Fight the cold in the winter by dressing warmer and keeping blankets out for lounging around. During the summer, use fans as they make a room feel cooler with a lot less energy it would take your AC to keep the whole house at a cooler temp. During the day, keep the blinds closed, particularly on windows facing south and west as this blocks the suns rays from entering during hot summer days.
Moreover, you may want to consider turning up the temp of your refrigerator as many household set this appliance unnecessarily cool, so it is worth checking. You may also want to check your water heater as a temperature too hot can not only pose a safety hazard, but also wastes energy. It is generally recommended that a water heater be set at 110-115 degrees.
Another major consumer of energy in your house is most likely your washer and dryer. Wait to do laundry until you have a full load for each and every load. Save energy by washing your clothes in cool or warm water rather than hot. Remember to clean out dryer lint in between each and every load and make use of “dryness sensor” setting rather than opting for “timed dry.” Of course, a smart step is too skip the dryer all together and line dry your laundry if you have the means to. It may not seem like much, but you would be surprised just how much your energy bill will drop when you tweak your laundry habits.
Next, you may opt to upgrade your home with black out curtains and energy saving blinds. Replacing cheaper old fashioned light bulbs, with more expensive compact fluorescent bulbs will payoff as they last longer and consume less energy. At the very least, you will want to be sure to properly insulate your home by filling in any gaps under exterior doors and consider replacing any insulation in areas such as your attic.