Saving Without Solar
No matter where you are or what kind of housing you live in, you probably wouldn’t mind your electricity bill being a little lower. Plus, minimizing your carbon footprint to prevent an increase in global warming is always a win. Whether you have solar power or not, these energy hacks for your house will work to reduce your environmental impact as well as your bills!
1. Air conditioning
A great place to start is with your air conditioning. This is often one of the biggest contributors to your electricity bill. During the summer months, it’s recommended that you keep your A/C higher than you might normally feel comfortable – try using ceiling fans and floor fans for a cheaper way to keep cool. And during winter, you should turn your temperature lower – simply use a smaller space heater to warm up whatever room you’re in. Blankets can go a long way, as well!
Another option that is gaining in popularity is switching to a heat pump. They are more energy-efficient than air conditioners, dehumidify the air better, and can both heat and cool a house. And yes, they work for people who live in warmer climates. You can also get a tax credit of up to 30% of the cost – so if you’re looking to replace an old or broken-down A/C, now’s the time to check out heat pumps.
2. House insulation
This often-recommended tip is not often followed, simply because for many people, it feels like it’ll be a lot of extra work for so little! However, the difference that reinforcing and adding insulation to your house can make will surprise you. Anything you seal, from windows to doors to any other cracks, will add up. Use caulk for stationary openings like the frames of doors/windows, and use weather-stripping for those that move, like around the opening of the door or along window sashes. You can save up to a third of the costs of your energy use in summer as well as winter!
3. Refrigerator efficiency
If you’ve never thought about what exact temperature you should keep your fridge and freezer at, you’re not alone. Ideally, your fridge should be set to 37°F and your freezer set to 0°F – these are recommended as they help you save on your electricity bill! Any lower, and you’re wasting unnecessary power. Another energy-saving action to add to the list of monthly chores is cleaning the coils on the back of your refrigerator. The more efficiently it runs, the better off you’ll be.
4. Washing machine
Conserve energy by leaving your washing machine on the cold water setting. Heating the water takes up most of the energy use of a washing machine cycle, and it’s not necessary for most clothing. Bonus: cold water helps to preserve color. Turning down the temperature of your home’s water heater also saves money as it affects things like your shower and dishwasher.
Along those lines, you can add up your savings when you only wash full loads of laundry, which means less cycles for your machine to be using electricity on. You should also check with your utility company to find out about on-peak and off-peak hours, as you get charged less for electricity during off-peak hours. It’s probably not a surprise that your dryer sucks up a lot of energy as well, so if you can air-dry your clothes, it’s a much better option.
5. Unused electronics
When you’re thinking about how to save energy at home, unused electronics probably aren’t on your usual list of concerns. Unfortunately, even when they’re turned off, many devices still drain energy from your outlets! While there are many names for this, from “vampire power” to “phantom load”, the solution is simple. Unplug devices such as televisions, laptops, gaming consoles, and so on when you’re not using them. Understandably, plugging and unplugging everything like that can use up more time than you might want, so the alternative of an advanced power strip that can reduce energy waste might be more to your liking.
There are plenty more tips to save energy out there, but these will give you a great start. As you get into the habit of spotting and decreasing excessive electricity usage, you’ll be able to easily add more good habits while on a roll. When you work toward an efficient energy lifestyle, you not only help reduce the future effects of climate change, you help yourself in your present financial situation as well.
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