Trying to cut down on your use of electricity and gas at home can save you money, conserve our resources and also help the environment. If you want to see that electric and heating bill drop, there are things you can do in every part of your house. See our handy tips below.
The average house will use about 1,000 kilowatt hours per year to run the refrigerator. That adds up to at least $200-300 per year. If you want to cut that down, try some of these ideas:
- Keep the fridge at 40 degrees F. Buy a small thermometer to keep inside so you know if you should raise or lower the temperature. Keep the freezer at 5 degrees F.
- Do not fill the fridge so much that air cannot properly circulate throughout the unit.
- Suck the dust and dirt out of the condenser about every three months.
- Check the gaskets that go around the doors every year. Do this by putting a dollar bill up against the fridge frame and then close the door. If you can pull that dollar bill out easily, you will want to upgrade the gasket.
- Be sure to cover all liquids that go in the fridge. These will release vapors that require your compressor to work harder.
- Buy an Energy Star-rated refrigerator when it is time to replace.
2. Laundry Room
- Read the instructions on your detergent. If you use too much, you can hurt the washing ability of the unit. It may need to use more energy to overcome this.
- Set the temperature for rinsing to cold as much as you can.
- Wash clothes only when you have a full load.
- When you are ready to buy a new washer, try to buy a new high-efficiency, front-loading washer.
- Try to buy a washer that has many water level choices, as well as a setting to reduce suds.
For the dryer, remember that it will use up to 1,400 kilowatt hours per year. You can cut down on this by doing the following:
- Hang laundry to dry when you can.
- Clean your lint filter after every load.
- Dry your towels and heavy items as a separate load.
- Do not over dry.
3. Water Heater
Your water heater is a big user of energy, and can use up to 4,000 kilowatt hours each year. To reduce this, try these tips:
- Cut your water heater load by 10% or so by dropping the temperature to 120 degrees F.
- Drain a bucket of water from the water heater tank each year. This can help to drain the sediment that can waste some energy because the water is somewhat blocked from the burner.
- Insulate your pipes for hot water. You can buy these kits at the hardware store.
- Use the shower instead of the bathtub so you can cut down on water use.
- Always shut off lights when you are leaving the room.
- Use task lighting so that you can just turn on the light over the desk or the work bench, not the whole room.
- Buy CFL bulbs for the lights that you use more than 2 hours each day. These bulbs will use as much as 75% less electricity. They should last 5-10x longer too.
- Use a dimming bulb when you can.
- Use a timer or a photoelectric device so that your outdoor lights shut off during daytime.
- When it is sunny, keep your curtains open that are facing the west and south.
- Have your furniture away from the registers.
- Caulk and put in weatherstripping for your doors and windows.
- Turn down the thermostat as much as you can take. Every degree warmer than 68 degrees F boosts your heating use by 3%.
- Buy a humidifier so that it makes your air in the house more humid in winter. This makes it seem warmer and you will not want to turn on the heat as much.
- Put more energy efficient siding on your home, so that you can keep heat in in winter and cold air in in summer – see CreativeEnergyExteriors.com.
- 5 Energy-Saving Appliances to Save Money and the Planet! (makethelist.net)
- Green Energy: Technology That Is Good For The Home And The Earth (boldstate.com)
- Save Money on Heating Bills with Vinyl Siding (creativeenergyexteriors.com)