Reducing Electricity Use And Costs

Reducing household energy consumption can save expenses, increase energy safety, and reduce pollution due to non-renewable energy emissions. When installing a small renewable energy system to produce proprietary electric power such as a solar power generation system and small wind turbine, it is the first step to reduce electric power load.

Reducing energy use in our home saves our money, increases our energy security, and reduces the pollution that is emitted from non-renewable sources of energy. If we are planning to install a small renewable energy system to make our own electricity, such as a solar electric system or small wind turbine, reducing our electricity loads is the first step saving our money by allowing us to purchase a smaller system.

There are many ways you can reduce electricity use in our home:

Turn off electronics that aren’t in use – We have probably heard this one a few times, but that doesn’t make it less true or helpful. Our television, computer, and stereo can be enormous energy vampires when not in use. That little light that stays lit means that these items are still consuming power. By using a shared power strip, it’s easy to turn our television, DVR, and other equipment off with one button.

Other equipment may need to remain on for software updates, like our smart TV, but we can still enable power saving mode when they’re not being used. Go into the settings and change the default to the shortest time before sleep mode takes over to reap the biggest cost savings with these items.

Add extra home insulation – During winter, electricity costs are higher as the heating system runs more than usual. At the same time, a lot of electricity can be lost because heat transfer happens through walls. The same can be the case when it is summer as cool air leaves the home. Extra insulation can help us cut electric bill costs. We invest more in the beginning, but the investment does pay itself off.

Lower water heater temperature – The water heater costs much more than you might think. We do not think about lowering its temperature as we might think that it will affect our showering experience. While this can be the case, the heater is also responsible for distributing hot water to our sink, dishwashers, and laundry machines.

If we do not have a tankless water heater, just lower the heater’s temperature by a few degrees. Remember that ideal temperature is 120 degrees Fahrenheit but in most homes, the temperature set is much higher.

Install ceiling fans to get more out of your electric furnace, blower, or air conditioner – Although we can’t use ceiling fans in place of air conditioning in every home or geographical region, you can still take advantage of their ability to boost the reach of our main heating or cooling unit. Ceiling fans are great at circulating both heat and cold, depending on what’s needed at the time. There’s a switch on the motor that will allow our fan to spin either clockwise or counterclockwise. When we need to circulate cold air, run the fan on high in a counterclockwise direction; when we need heat, run it clockwise on low to pull warm air away from the ceiling.

Just remember, fans cool the person, not the room. Fans cool by evaporating tiny beads of sweat on our skin. Turn fans off when we leave the room.

Buy Energy Star appliances – When we see an Energy Star tag on an appliance, it’s not just a gimmick to make we think we will save money on electricity, we actually will. Energy Star rated appliances use 10 to 50 percent less electricity than non-Energy Star appliances, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

Since appliances account for about 20 percent of an average household’s electricity usage, choosing equipment that saves power can really add up to a massive effort to conserve electricity without your having to do anything else. Energy Star washing machines and dishwashers are also designed to help save water, giving us even bigger benefits over the long term. Energy.gov has a helpful appliance and electronics calculator to estimate how much energy specific devices use.

Light bulbs – Few people take this into account but we always need to turn off our lights when we do not use them. By doing this, we end up saving up to $280 per year. We can replace our 100–watt bulbs with 60–watt bulbs that have compact fluorescent technology to save around 120 per year. All this for an upfront cost of around $30. Do this with all the light bulbs inside our home and we will save much more than we initially think.

Plant strategically – No matter if our peak energy use is in summer or winter, there’s a lot of value to planting trees and shrubs in smart locations.

For example, if any person interested in adding some shade trees in an area with hot summers, placing them on the west side of their home can block a lot of the hottest sun of the day and makes it easier for their air conditioner to keep up.

Shading our outdoor air conditioning condenser is also a smart way to save money. The cooler it is, the less it has to work to cool our home’s air supply. But, make sure that we keep any vegetation at least 3 feet from the outside air conditioning unit. Leaves, grass clipping, and weeds don’t belong in our outside unit and will impede the flow of air.

Save money with the right electricity plans – Even if our home conserves as much electricity as possible, there are other ways to save money on electricity in deregulated states. The electricity plan we choose, along with when we choose it, can make a big impact. Cheap electricity works just as well as the expensive kind and it pays to put some effort into picking the right plan.

Smart meters and home energy management systems allow customers to program how and when their home uses energy. Such programs might charge us the actual cost of power at any one time, ranging from high prices during times of peak demand to low prices during off-peak hours. If we are able to shift our power use to off-peak times such as running our dishwasher late in the even in these programs can save us money while helping our utility.

Time-based rates are very attractive to owners of plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles since typically these vehicles are recharged at night.

Use electricity conservation as a teachable moment. Our children are watching us and often mimic our behavior. Set a good conservation example and they will follow.

One idea is to get our kids involved in doing all sorts of energy-saving chores. Teach them how to change air conditioner filters, install new LED light bulbs, vacuum leaves out of the outside air conditioning unit, or vacuum the living room air vents. Take advantage of these times to teach children why these jobs are important, and how we save energy by doing them.

 

Information Sources:

  1. electricityplans.com
  2. energy.gov
  3. conserve-energy-future.com