Saving money in the home isn’t all that hard. Really, it’s not. It just requires that you have a working understanding of why more electricity could end up being used than necessary. Armed with that and some general know-how of your appliances and you’ll have everything you need in order to start saving energy in your home.
Energy saving techniques will vary from appliance to appliance, but there are some general rules that can be applied to all of your appliances (well, at least most of them). So it’s only a matter of knowing some specific tips for each.
But I digress. The first thing you need to know is what causes a waste of electricity in the first place. The answer is inefficiency.
Power gets lost when appliances have to work harder than necessary. Obviously, it’s going to take a certain amount of power to get a job done, but more than that can be avoided. Some ways electricity gets wasted include opening the fridge unnecessarily. When you do this, you are letting the cold air fall out of the appliance (remember that if hot air rises, then cold air sinks down to the floor) thus causing the temperature inside the fridge to raise. This means that another cooling cycle will be required to keep your food fresh. If there was no need to open the fridge, then this was just a waste.
Another way power gets wasted is by just having appliances left plugged in even when not in use. Now, most of us just plug an appliance in and then turn it on when we need it and off when we’re done. But realize that just by virtue of being plugged in the appliance is “consuming” some electricity (in a phenomenon known as “line loss”). This does waste a bit of electricity.
To avoid this, you’d need to unplug appliances when not using them. This can get tiring and so smart power strips exist which will do this chore for you automatically. A few of those and you’re all set.
But if inefficiency wastes power, then how can we improve efficiency to save even more? Well, that’s the right question to be asking.
Optimizing For Efficiency
Many appliances can be optimized to run more efficiently. This process will vary from appliance to appliance and there sometimes exist multiple optimization tips for a single device. But in the interest of giving you as much data as possible, here’s some quick ones you can go and apply right now (seriously, you can just get up and do these while reading this):
- Set the fridge to 40° and no colder (this is cold enough to keep food fresh
- For the freezer, 30° is good
- Turn your a/c up (in the summer) by 2°. Use a fan to substitute the extra heat but this will make a difference in your overall bill
- Keep your a/c filter cleaned out regularly
- Use cold water when you wash clothes and dishes as you’ll still get a good clean but without the energy spent
- Use natural light during the day
- Use the toaster oven rather than the conventional oven if possible
- Again, don’t open the fridge unnecessarily
- In the winter, use a small space heater if you only need a room or two kept warm
See? Aren’t those easy? Now, if you really want to get some results going, then you’ll need to invest (relax, it’s not all that expensive) in some power saving devices. The best power saving devices are those that will literally give you a return on your money in short order (not in terms of years, but months or less).
So what are they? Well, here’s the three best:
- LED light bulbs are great because they use less than 20% of the electricity of incandescent bulbs all while lasting over 50 times as long. If you find inexpensive ones (which isn’t that hard nowadays) you’ll be saving money in no time.
- Programmable thermostats allow you to run your a/c on a schedule. Many come with power saving settings which will work to control the temperature in a way that saves you money.
- Electric savers are good as they will keep your appliances (like pool pumps and a/c unit) from wasting electricity due to their inefficient motors. Literally, one can save you from 10 to 20 percent on electricity.
Follow the above tips and you’ll be doing fine. Follow the above tips while getting the devices listed just above and you’ll be doing great on your home energy saving quest!