It’s easier to maintain a budget when you have a good idea of how much your utilities will cost every month. To help you start saving money, we’ve identified five reasons why your household power usage may be high and solutions for how to overcome them.
1. Power Mode: OFF versus ‘Stand By’
When you press the “Power” button on your DVR, computer, or television, it actually transitions from a ‘standby’ mode so it can be turned back on faster. While this is great for convenience, with these devices are sitting idle, they’re sucking electricity out of your home while waiting for a command from you.
Anything with a clock (such as microwave ovens and coffee makers) need power to keep time while idle.
- You can start saving energy by fully unplugging electronics when they’re not in use.
- Another way to cut back on energy use is to connect these devices to power strips and turn off the power strips when you’re not using them. That way, off will really mean OFF, as you’ve effectively disconnected the device from the power source. Check out how these devices rank in terms of energy usage.
2. Big Machines = Lots of Energy
Big appliances, like dishwashers, clothes washers and clothes dryers love electricity! A washing machine can use between 400 to 1300 watts, with modern Energy Star rated models using about 500 watts.
The energy consumption of a clothes washer using 500 watts for 0.25 hours a day @ $0.10 per kWh. This is the same as washing twice a week for 52.5 minutes each time. Talk about washing money down the drain!
- For your dishwasher, make sure that you fill it to capacity before you run it. Choose an appropriate wash cycle and change the drying setting to use no or low heat.
- For clothes washers and dryers, try having only one laundry day each week, fill your loads to capacity and select low heat for drying.
3. Light Bright
Lights are most efficient when used directly to provide light to specific areas of a room, such as couches, chairs, kitchen tables and workspaces. Full room ceiling lights are much less effective than individual lamps for providing the light you need.
- Use lighting only for specific areas that are occupied and make sure to turn off lights when those areas are no longer in use.
- Change out inefficient incandescent light bulbs for energy-efficient CFL bulbs to save money when the lights are on.
- Turn your ceiling fans off when nobody’s in the room and be sure to set the toggle switch so that the blades run counter-clockwise during the summer and clockwise during the winter to circulate air more efficiently – this will keep your rooms cooler/warmer without using more energy.
4. Retire the Dinosaur Appliances
Using old appliances can really make your energy bill take off. As appliances age, they cannot use energy as efficiently as newer appliances. Furthermore, if your dishwasher, washing machine, or dryer were built in the 1990s, they are eating up your energy and raising your monthly bill (Energy Star didn’t begin rating those appliances until after 1997)!
- Consider upgrading your appliances with new energy-efficient models. You’ll often notice a big difference the energy usage. You may also even notice a better clean from your newer appliances!
- Depending on where you live and the appliance you’re upgrading, you may be eligible for an for making the switch.
5. Device-Charging Frenzy
Everything needs a charger these days: cell phones, MP3 players, iPads and tablet PCs, electric razors, electric toothbrushes, laptops, portable game systems, and more. The more battery-operated tech you have, the more likely you are to have these devices plugged in and sucking energy from your home.
- Like our advice from tip #1, fully unplug AC adapters and chargers from sockets when not actively charging a device. They’ll pull electricity simply from being plugged in.
- Additionally, make sure to only charge your devices when they need it. Unnecessary charging not only costs money, it can shorten your gadget’s battery life.
Next month, when you’re afraid to open your electric bill, consider the source before calling out your energy provider. Chances are, you have a thing or two you can unplug and replace. Still stuck? Connect with us today and we’ll help you get on track to a more energy efficient home.