Energy vampires are those plugged-in devices that use electricity even when they’re turned off or not being used. This standby power is what keeps the clock ticking on your cable box, your Amazon Echo waiting for its next “Alexa” command, and your TV’s settings in place. While this is obviously convenient, it can cost the average US household $100 per year. You can eradicate these phantom loads simply by unplugging your devices.
2. Get Smart about Your Thermostat
Smart thermostats can help to decrease your energy bills by automatically adjusting heating and cooling settings within a range of comfortable temperatures. Some, such as the ecobee4, can also adjust your home’s temperature based on whichever rooms are currently occupied. The average smart thermostat will save you $180 per year on your energy bills and will analyze your energy usage with monthly breakdowns.
3. Switch to Energy-Efficient LED Lighting
Did you know that LED light bulbs can use 90% less energy than standard ones? Yes, they cost more than ordinary bulbs, but in addition to saving you money on future electric bills, they last around 15 times longer, meaning you won’t have to keep spending money replacing them. For example, Philips LED bulbs have an average lifespan of 25,000 hours. This means that if you keep one on for three hours each day, you won’t have to buy a new one for nearly two decades.
To conserve energy while cleaning your clothes. You should wait until you have a full load in the washer and run it using lower temperature settings. Whenever possible, air dry your clothes instead of using the dryer, but if you do use the dryer, be sure to clean the lint trap before starting. Every now and then, remove the vent duct that connects the back of your dryer to the outside of the house and clean that too.
5. Avoid the Oven
When your air conditioning is working to keep your house cool, you should avoid using appliances that radiate excess heat. Therefore, you should opt to cook with the microwave or stove top when possible. Or bet yet, fire up the grill and cook outside.
6. Turn off the Lights
Lighting your home accounts for around 20% of your electric bill, or an average of $200 per year. If you’re guilty of always leaving the lights on, try a smart light switch such as ecobee Switch+ that will automatically turn off your lights a few minutes after you leave the room. You can also use them to turn on your lights, so you don’t have to come home to a dark house.
7. Upgrade Your Shades
When picking window shades for your house, you should consider insulated cellular shades, which can increase energy savings by making your windows more efficient. The Department of Energy reports that these single-cell shades can decrease heat loss in the winter by 40% and prevent unwanted solar hear in the summer by up to 80%. Even better, these shades can be automated, meaning that they can be programmed to rise at certain times of the day to support your energy savings.
The average household spends $400 to $600 on water heating every year; approximately 18% of your utility bills. An easy way to cut back on your hot water usage is to take shorter showers or install a smart shower head to monitor your water usage and temperature.
9. Make Your Windows More Efficient
If you have money to spare, replacing old windows with energy efficient ones is a worthwhile investment as they also add value to your home. A lower-cost option is to install window film that blocks out the summer sun’s heat reducing demand on your cooling system, and helps to keep warm air from escaping during the winter.
10. Change Your Furnace Filter
A dirty or clogged furnace filter can create a lot of pressure on its motors, making your furnace work a lot harder. The harder your furnace is working, the more energy it uses, so start replacing the filter on a regular schedule.