It’s never too late to start saving electricity at home.
Whether you’re doing it for ecologically conscious reasons or to save money, there are things you can do in your day-to-day life that will save both the environment and your wallet.
Energy conservation is where you identify where you are wasting electricity in your home and take steps to stop it, typically smaller steps that don’t inconvenience you that much.
Your measures can be as simple or as drastic as you want, you’ll still be benefiting the environment and will have more dollars to spend if you follow our tips below.
Manage Your Refrigerator & Freezer
Starting at the kitchen, you should take a look at the refrigerator and freezer.
Many of us set these up in our kitchens, use them, and completely forget about their temperature settings. After all, they get the job done just fine, so what’s the point?
The point is that nearly 14% of average home energy use is taken up by your refrigerator. This is because it’s on all the time and always full, so you can’t turn it off.
What you can do is change the settings so that less power is consumed. It’s a small change but it pays off in the long run.
While only you can decide what temperatures are best based on your refrigerator/freezer model and what’s inside them, 36 degrees Fahrenheit seems great for refrigerators while 3 degrees is often close enough to freezing for most storage.
Wash With Full Loads
This is an easy way to conserve energy at home. All you need to do is hold off on using the dishwasher and your washing machine.
The logic here is that you wait until you have a full load, justifying the use of the appliances, instead of washing quarter or half loads and wasting power.
All you need is somewhere to keep dishes and clothes before you wash them.
You’ll probably use the dishwasher twice a week and the laundry once a week, if not once every two weeks if you’re living alone.
Use Cold Water
When washing clothing, you should use cold water to save money. Some estimate that the average homeowner can save over $100 a year by using cold water for their laundry.
As for washing dishes, you’ll need to use hot water often to get rid of stubborn stains and food debris.
That said, you should use cold water if giving cups quick blasts to clean them right after use, and you can do the same for plates if dry food has been eaten on them.
Avoid Rinse Hold Settings
Many dishwashers have rinse hold settings that use more hot water. That water needs to be heated up, costing energy, so you should stop using that feature.
It can save as much as 15 liters of hot water for every use.
Once your clothes and dishes are done, you shouldn’t use the drying function that’s built into many dishwashers and washing machines nowadays.
While convenient, you can save energy and money by placing them on a rack or a hanger so they can dry naturally.
If time is of the essence, you can still use the drying function when you have somewhere to be.
If you do use the drying function on your washing machine, you can often use a dry sensor feature that’ll stop when the clothing inside isn’t wet anymore.
That stops the dryer from continuing its process when it’s not necessary.
Clean Dryer Lint
You should also clean the lint inside the machine away between drying cycles so that the machine operates efficiently and uses less power when it’s doing its job.
You should also do the same for your vacuum cleaners, which also use up more power when they’re congested with lint.
Cook With The Right Burners
Most stoves have burners on their surface that are differently sized so that they can accommodate more kitchenware.
That’s handy but it often means people heat larger burners and then place a smaller pot on them.
It takes more power to heat that larger burner, so you should only use the burners that match the footprint of the pots or pans you need to cook with.
Use Microwaves & Toasters To Reheat
Microwaves and toasters use less energy than convection ovens, making them ideal for quick cooking jobs.
Even when you have cooked a square meal using your oven, you should use microwaves and toasters to reheat food instead of powering up the larger appliances again.
Look For Energy Star Ratings
A more drastic but effective way of reducing the power you use in the kitchen is to replace your appliances altogether. Get ones that are rated more highly for energy efficiency instead.
Energy Star ratings are a great way to see how efficient the appliances are, so look for those.
Use Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs
Replace old and incandescent light bulbs with LED or CFL ones instead. These don’t lose most of their energy through heat, making them more efficient.
Turn Lights Off When Not In Use
When you’re not in the room, you should turn the lights off. This is especially the case if you have incandescent bulbs that lose more energy than greener alternatives.
Turn Off Everything When Not In Use
We’ve already covered that you can’t turn off refrigerators or freezers but you can turn off most other electronics and appliances.
For ovens, microwaves, and toasters, you can turn them off at the wall so that there’s absolutely no power reaching them when they are not being used. Do the same for electronics, too.
Power strips help with this since they combine multiple appliances into one switch so you can easily turn them all off.
It also streamlines energy distribution throughout appliances, making it more energy-efficient.
Fix Electrical Issues
Repair electrical issues when they arise. A malfunctioning electronic appliance or a light is prone to electrical surges, burning out, and light flickering.
This wastes power that would be better spent somewhere else. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re better off finding a qualified professional to handle faulty electrical equipment.
Consider Solar Energy
Look into solar energy as a way of getting electricity and heating your water.
While it often comes with a steep upfront cost, it’s much cheaper to run and better for the environment.
The feasibility of solar energy will depend on where you are in the world and the local legislation related to green power.
With so many handheld devices in the home, you have lots of chargers that need to be plugged in.
When handheld devices are fully charged, we often take them away but leave the charger plugged in. There is still power coursing through them, so it’s being wasted.
Upgrade Your Faucets
You can add aerators to your faucets that decrease their flow rate. If you go with this option, you should go for those that boast a 3.5-liter flow rate per minute.
Use Low-Flow Showerheads
If you want to keep those water bills down, you can do this pretty effectively by using a showerhead with a low flow rate.
A rate of 8 liters or less is considered to be a low flow rate, so go for those and watch your water bill costs decrease.
Spend Less Time In The Shower
The average person uses approximately 20 liters of water per minute in the shower.
To reduce that figure, simply spend less time there. Have a game plan and work through it, without rushing yourself so that you don’t want to slip and fall.
Use A Programmable Thermostat
By installing a programmable thermostat and choosing an ideal temperature, you can save up to 10% of your energy costs.
You’ll set a limit at which the thermostat will heat up or cool down the home whenever the room temperature goes above or below the settings.
Don’t Touch The Thermostat
While that may sound like it conflicts with the last point, there’s a hands-off approach you can use to save energy.
During summer, set your thermostat to 78 degrees Fahrenheit so that you wear lighter clothes. Do the reverse for winter, keeping the thermostat at 68 degrees and wearing heavier clothes instead.
The logic here is that you keep your home a little hotter or colder during these times so you’re not adjusting the thermostat constantly.
Set Your Water Heater To A Low Setting
You should set your water heater so that it has a low setting that’s still comfortable for you and others in the home.
115 degrees Fahrenheit is an ideal water heater setting for two people and reduces the amount of energy used.
Set A Timer For Your Water Heater
You can install timers for your water heater that will automatically turn themselves off when you’re not at home or it’s at night. This ensures that no energy is wasted.
Turn Off Your Water Heater When Absent
When you’re not at home, you should turn off your water heater.
Even if you have a timer set up, you should still turn the water heater off when you’re leaving home for multiple days, so it stays off and doesn’t waste power throughout the day.
Insulate Your Water Heater
If you have an old water heater model, you can actually reduce the energy it loses via standby heat by placing an insulating blanket over it.
This can reduce energy loss by a shocking 40% and can save as much as 10% in water heating costs. When you stand to save so much, it’s worth investing in an insulating blanket.
Properly Insulate Your Home
Speaking of insulation, you should make sure that the insulation in your home is up to standards.
Over time, your home is likely to lose some of its insulating ability after getting battered by rain.
Check the insulation in your walls, attic, and around your plumbing system. If you see any damage, fix it.
Plug Air Leaks
Air leakage points can form in your home and cool it down, making your heater go into overdrive.
Check your home for air leaks and prevent them. They mainly form along the cracks of windows and doors, where caulk has been applied and then eroded. Buy some caulk and replace it yourself.
Clean/Replace Air Filters
Heating and air conditioning systems need to cycle a lot of air through them when doing their job.
To avoid debris that causes issues, they use air filters to keep their internals clean. After a certain point, those filters get clogged and the system has to work even harder to cycle air through your home.
To stop that, clean or replace the filters when needed.
Use Shades On Your Windows
Close the blinds or shades on your windows so that the sunlight stays out of your home during summer. Then open them during the winter, so that sunlight can come in and warm the place up.
Shut Doors & Curtains
Close doors and curtains to conserve energy. You don’t want your AC or heater sending air to the opposite side of your house, away from you, so restricting the pathway of air drafts is wise.