Electricity prices are always rising and utility bills are getting harder to pay. By making some small changes on how you use energy and by updating the electrical items you use, you can save money and help the environment.
Here are some helpful tips to help save electricity to lower your electric bills:
1. Switch off electrical items when not in use
The simplest thing first: stop wasting electricity by turning off lights when no one is in the room. Two 100-watt incandescent bulbs switched off for two more hours a day can save you $15 for a year. Turn off your heater, cooling units and unplug appliances (except for your refrigerator) whenever you leave the house. Switch off your computer and other equipment like Wi-Fi routers and printers before you sleep or while you’re away. Better yet, invest in a power strip where you can keep these items plugged in, and you can simply turn off the strip.
2. Switch to more energy efficient light fixtures
Replace your incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lights (CFL). It’s the easiest way to start looking for more energy efficient light solutions. CFLs can last up to 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs, and it can use 75% less energy. Switching to CFLs with Energy Star labels can give you the biggest savings.
However, switching to light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs is better for more savings. LED bulbs consume less power and last longer. LED bulbs to use around 6-8 watts to provide the same intensity of light as a 60 watt incandescent light bulb. It’s even twice as more energy-efficient compared to CFLs.
3. Use Energy Star appliances
When buying appliances and electrical devices, look for the Energy Star label. This can be found on washing machines, dishwashers, refrigerators, air conditioners, freezers, home electronics, and light bulbs. This means the product has met strict energy efficiency standards. This means these products consume less electricity that translates to more savings for you. Look for ways to recycle or repurpose your old appliance – you can check with your utility company or local home center for appliance recycling.
4. Maintain your air conditioner
Don’t take your air conditioner for granted. The best way to keep it running for a long time is by spending a couple of hours on basic maintenance. Replace the air filters once a month (or at least once every three months) to keep it running at its best. Clean and straighten the fins, and lubricate the motor at least once a year.
If you’re planning on installing an air conditioner in your new home, or simply planning to move the unit, avoid installing it in a place that receives direct sunlight. Doing so can increase electricity consumption to up to 10% more. But if your air conditioner already sits under the sun, install an awning over them or plant tall shrubs nearby, but don’t block the air flow.
If you’re using a 10+ years old central air conditioner, upgrade it with higher efficiency units, especially Energy Star models, as it can reduce your cooling costs by up to 30 percent. Measure its efficiency level by the seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) – the higher the number, the more efficient the air conditioner.
5. Manage your thermostat
During the winter, heating can account for more than 30% of your electric bill. And every degree above 20 degrees makes your thermostat work harder, thus adding more to your heating consumption. To save energy, set your thermostat between 18 to 20 degrees during the winter. During the summer, set it to 26 degrees or above. Close the door of the rooms not in use, so the thermostat won’t waste energy heating or cooling that unoccupied space.
6. Be efficient with refrigerators
The refrigerator is the top energy consumer at home. It uses more electricity than all your other kitchen appliances because it runs 24 hours a day. Keep it at an ideal temperature to prevent energy wastage. Set your fridge to 4 or 5 degrees Celsius, and your freezer to -15 to -18 degrees. Brush and vacuum the coils at the bottom or back of the refrigerator twice a year to improve efficiency.
Fridges and freezers run more efficiently when they’re full. If it isn’t, keep them full with water containers in the fridge and ice bags in the freezer. Make sure the fridge door is sealed tight so that cold air would not escape. If you have a second fridge, only plug it when you need it. Also, limit how often and how long you open your refrigerator door.
Replace your fridge if it was made before 2001 since these older models use at least 40% more electricity than newer models. Choose Energy Star appliances and recycle your old one. Don’t plug it into your basement or garage – look for other ways to recycle it.
7. Be efficient with your other kitchen appliances
You may need to make some small adjustments about how you use your other kitchen appliances, too. When cooking, try to cook in more batches so you’d have leftover meals for the next day to conserve energy. Plan your meals ahead – if you’re going to cook meat for dinner, put it in the fridge in the morning to thaw it out and reduce cooking time. If you use a stove, keep the lids on top of pots to lessen cooking time.
As much as possible, use a microwave oven instead of using the oven. Microwaves use much less electricity than an electric oven.
Only use your dishwasher when it’s full and use the economy cycle to get the most out of the energy consumed. Skip the heat-dry setting, since it can easily get expensive. It’s better to air dry the dishes, especially when you’re using it in a normal, three-meals-a-day household.
8. Save energy in the way you wash and dry your clothes
Save energy in water heaters by washing clothes in cold water. Run a wash cycle only when the machine is full. Take advantage of the sunlight in hot days and hang dry your laundry. As much as possible, hang dry 50% of your clothes on the clothesline to save more energy. To reduce drying times in the dryer, add a dry towel to the dryer load.
9. Clean out the lint dryer
A clogged lint screen or dryer duct can reduce the efficiency of your laundry dryer. Drying with a dirty lint screen can cause the dryer to consume around 30 percent more electricity. Help it work efficiently by cleaning lint out of the ductwork at least once a year.
10. Install motion sensors
Keeping a light on in your outside space can make you waste a lot of electricity. But some households do it for security purposes and for the sake other members of the household who comes home during the night. Motion sensors are the perfect remedy for that left-on kind of lights. They automatically turn off when there are no people around, and only turn on when somebody needs it so you don’t waste energy.