Tips for Cutting Down on Home Energy Use
There are several ways to cut down on energy consumption within the home. The best way to start is by dividing up your efforts based on the rooms or areas of your home. Then, once you have established an organized system, you can begin to cut down on energy use across all fronts. For more details, review the sections provided below.
In the Kitchen
When cooking, put lids on pots and pans to reduce cooking time. Got leftovers? Leave them out of the ‘fridge until completely cooled. And when you want to heat them up again, use the microwave rather than the oven – it’s much faster.
When was the last time you defrosted the freezer? It’s a good idea to do so regularly, as a buildup of ice reduces its efficiency. Plus, a fuller freezer is a more energy-efficient freezer. So fill her up!
Understandably, with ovens and hot water doing their work, kitchens can quickly become very warm spaces. A great tip for keeping it cooler is to have a ceiling fan running when using the air conditioner. The effect means you can raise the temperature of your thermostat by about 4 degrees without any reduction in comfort.
In the Bathroom
Heading upstairs to get clean? Get in the shower – not the bath! Why? Because a full bath tub requires approximately 70 gallons of water, while taking a five-minute shower uses just 10 to 25 gallons.
Ever considered drying your clothes in the bathroom rather than using the dryer every time? Expandable clothes lines that can be tied onto your bath tub take up little space with maximum drying power. Plus, if you separate light fabrics from the heavy ones during the drying process, items will dry quicker.
In the Bedroom
Did you know that leaving a computer on or laptop plugged in all day can cost around 21 cents per day? That’s about $75 per year! Be sure to unplug these and other electronics when they’re not in use (for example: cell phone chargers, hair straighteners and hair dryers). Having a power surge strip will make this much easier, as you can turn everything off with a single switch.
If you don’t have one already, invest in a programmable thermostat. They have truly revolutionized the way we regulate the temperature in our homes, and could save you up to $150 per year.
In the Garden
Water your garden first thing in the morning when the temperatures are lower, and the wind tends to be more still. This will slow down the rate of evaporation. And, if you’d like to cover up your ugly air conditioning unit with foliage, just be sure not to cover the vents, as the system will work less efficiently.
Strategically placed plants and shrubs can have a big impact on your energy bills by reducing the amount of sunlight that gets into your home. If you’re unsure where the sun is coming in, speak to a gardener for advice on positioning and to find out what the best types of shrubs are.
In the Attic
It’s thought that around 50 percent of energy costs go toward heating and cooling our homes. So, an excellent place to start is to insure you have good quality insulation in your attic. One-hundred percent natural sheep’s wool is best. And, have you recently checked to see how draft-proof your windows and doors are? You can keep the heat out and the cold in (or vice-versa) much more effectively if you ensure air cannot escape from such nooks and crannies. Old windows are terrible for letting air escape, so replace them if they’re passed their prime.
And, have you considered how cozy your hot water tank is? Head down to any hardware store to buy an insulated wrap for it (called a jacket). This will prevent unnecessary heat from being lost from its immediate vicinity.
In the Lounge
If you’re looking to unwind in the evening, why not reach for a good book rather than turning on the TV? It’s proven to be more relaxing, plus, it is a large savings on electricity bills. If you’re chilly in the winter months, pull across some thick insulating curtains and put on an extra sweater or a blanket before reaching for the thermostat.
Lighting accounts for around 10 percent of home energy costs. But you can save up to 75 percent of that by replacing incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs, as they consume less energy. Not only do they use less energy, but they last around 10 times longer, saving you money on buying replacements in the long-term. It’s obvious, but it has to be said: when you leave the room, turn off the light. Speaking of lamps, make sure yours aren’t positioned near your air conditioner or thermostat, as it will assume the temperature in the space is much higher, and therefore the cost of running the A/C will increase.