31 Easy Ways to Save Energy at Home
Everyone can do their part and while some things are easier than others, right now is a great time to think about doing "something" to save energy around the house. For folks like me here in Southern California, August and September are two months of the year where I suddenly become acutely aware of the costs involved with keeping cool. While the rest of the year is pretty easy, with the hot desert air coming over the mountains and the ocean water unable to cool things down since it has been heating all summer long, it gets hot and stays hot. Since I am generally forced to have my AC running full blast to keep cool that results in electric bills that are often more than $300 per month! However, there are still plenty of ways to offset that cost, so let's check them out!
Saving energy isn't simply just about reducing your carbon footprint or saving money. It's also about reducing the load on the powerlines and electricity sources. Overloaded transmission lines can fail and cause forest fires and overloaded electric plants can result in rolling blackouts. Of course, pollution is important too... but sometimes that tends to be a secondary consideration when it comes to ways to save energy in your home.
- Turn off computers when not using them.
- Avoid browsing for food with the fridge door open.
- Close doors and turn off vents in rooms you aren't using.
- Pull window shades down during the hottest times of the day and when you aren't at home.
- Use an adjustable thermostat and raise the temperature when you aren't at home during the day.
- Use "smart" power strips - even turned off, your entertainment center is using significant amounts of electricity.
- Unplug your mobile phones when they are fully charged.
- Invest in Energy Star appliances and review the energy consumption ratings when making purchases.
- Replace any incandescent bulbs with LED and CFL bulbs.
- If you have the option to select energy providers, consider choosing renewable sources such as solar and wind or invest in your own solar panels for the house.
- Raise the temperature of your refrigerator from the lowest setting to something else.
- Only run your dishwasher and clothes washer when they are full.
- Set your AC to a higher temperature.
- Check your windows and doors for leaks and install additional insulation to prevent cold air from escaping.
- Change your AC filters at least once per month.
- Install shade trees and other vegetation to reduce direct sunlight from warming the outside of your home.
- Invest in regular maintenance for your Heater and AC system to ensure optimal efficiency.
- Install ceiling fans to help air circulate better.
- Use motion-sensitive bulbs outside instead of always on exterior landscape lighting.
- Use a "toaster oven" or microwave instead of your full-sized oven for heating up leftovers.
- Dust the back of your fridge, including cleaning out the coils - or invest in regular service to take care of this.
- Reduce the drying time on your clothes and use a clothesline for appropriate items.
- Avoid opening the oven repeatedly to check on food being cooked - use the internal light and window except when you are ready to remove the food.
- Put a lid on any pot that's being used for cooking so that it heats faster.
- Turn off kitchen and bath fans after use.
- Head outside and grill instead of cooking inside and heating up your kitchen.
- Consider washing clothes using cold water instead of hot - it will work just as well and save a lot of hot water.
- Consider investing in a tank-less or hybrid water heater.
- Consider a laptop and docking station instead of a full-sized desktop for home use.
- Consider upgrading your Air Conditioner to something more efficient such as the Midea AC unit I have where you can set times and even connect it to your smart home system for easier control.
- Do dishes and use appliances that consume lots of energy at non-peak times of the day.
Ultimately, saving energy at home is about the culmination of a bunch of small ways that all add up to a big result. This shouldn't be a one-off effort responding to a crazy high energy bill. Instead, these should be things that every member of your family chips in to do on a daily basis all year round.
- Written by Heather Hills
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