When it comes to reducing energy costs, little gestures can go a long way. By apply these 10 simple tricks at home, you will shrink your energy bill, all the while doing something good for the planet!
1. Fight the Phantom Load!
You probably think that your TV, DVD, computer, microwave and other appliances use electricity only when you are using them. Well, it is wrong: The phantom load, or standby charge, is the amount of electricity used by appliances when they are plugged, regardless of if they are used or not. You’d be surprised by how much energy phantom loads represent. Try and unplug all your appliances when you do not use them or when you leave the house. If the plugs are hard to reach, try and plug as many as possible on a power bar that you’ll place in an easily reachable spot and switch it off when needed.
2. Install Programmable Electronic Thermostats
An electronic thermostat is good: It’ll allow you to control the temperature of a room very precisely. A programmable electronic thermostat is even better: It’ll allow you to lower the temperature when you are not home, or during the night, which can make you save a lot of money.
While we’re on the subject of heating, know that lowering your thermostats by no more than one degree will help reducing your energy bill considerably.
3. Use Your Dryer As Less As Possible
Along with your refrigerator, your dryer is the most energy-consuming appliance in your home. If you can, try and line dry your clothes as often as possible. If you don’t have a yard or any outdoor space to line your clothes in, no worries: Buy a drying rack and hang your clothes inside – you can also do that on rainy days and during winter. Not only will you save up a lot on energy costs, but you’ll also keep you clothes in good condition for a longer time.
4. Fight Heat Naturally During Heat Waves
Forget bout cranking up the AC! Fight heat by shutting all windows, curtains and blinds during the day to avoid hot air to come in your home. When the night falls and the temperature cools off, open your windows wide and let the fresh air in. You’ll be surprised by how cool your house will remain just by doing this.
5. Insulate Your Windows During Winter
Air drafts can be the cause of considerable heat losses during winter, increasing your energy bills faster than you can account for. Make sure you seal your windows perfectly before the cold season comes. There are plenty of products you can use: Self-adhesive foam strips, clear plastic window films, etc. Ask for advices at your local hardware store.
6. Wash Your Laundry in Cold Water
About 80% of the energy used by your washing machine is used to warm up the water. If you buy a cold water detergent, there’s no reason why your laundry should not be perfectly clean when washed in cold water.
7. Wrap Your Water Heater In An Insulating Jacket
You can buy an insulating jacket for a few bucks in many hardware stores. It’ll help your water heater maintain the temperature of the water and it’ll reduce your energy bill considerably.
8. Turn Off The Lights When You Exit a Room
Lighting counts for about 10 to 15% of our energy bills. Taking the habit of turning the lights off the minute you exit a room is a great way to save some money. In places such as the bathroom, you could even install a timer. Be careful though: If you intend to come back in the room in a few minutes, leave the lights on. Switching lights on and off repeatedly can increase their energy consumption and reduce the useful life of your light bulbs.
9. Switch To CFLs
If you haven’t yet trade your old incandescent light bulbs for compact fluorescent ones, do it now! A CFL can last up to 30 000 hours! And, unlike the common belief may suggest, they don’t create a cold, white, crispy lighting: They come in various tones and shades.
10. Install Ceiling Fans
Not only will a ceiling fan freshen your house during hot summer days, it will also help evenly distribute heat during winter. As a matter of fact, hot air has a tendency to rise up and get stuck close to the ceiling: With a ceiling fan turning very slowly, the hot air will spread all over the room, heating it more effectively.