While winter is not quite here, and worrying about energy efficiency is not nearly as exciting as planning a holiday party or family vacation, maybe it’s time to think about it…just a little. Many of us across the country have already experienced a blustery morning where the temperature has dropped significantly overnight, and it won’t be long before you’ll be turning up the thermostat. While there’s only so much you can do about the cost of your heat, there are a lot of things you can do to cut down on using energy.
Not all of us are DIY people, so for this post we will avoid the obvious ways like caulking, weatherstripping, having your furnace tuned up, etc, to make your home more efficient. Instead, today we will focus on some simple ways for even the least handy or most unmotivated person to save a few bucks on your energy costs.
- Since we’re so close to Halloween, let’s start this list with Vampires, as in energy sucking vampire appliances and electronics. According to the Department of Energy, up to 40% of the energy for electronics is used when they are turned off. The greatest sucker of them all is that giant flat screen TV sitting there with the instant on button. Video games, the DVD player, your laptop, printer, coffeemaker, and the one thing we are all guilty of… the cell phone charger. The easy fix is to use a power strip and shut it off in the evening, or when you will be out of the house for extended periods of time.
- Time your energy usage. Use your dishwasher, clothes washer and dryer during off-peak energy usage times. If you have a delay start feature on your appliances, use it. Run only a full load with your dishwasher, use the coldest water you can in your clothes washer, and keep your lint trap clean in your dryer. Also, if you’re drying multiple loads, take the clothes out as soon as they are dry, and throw in the next load immediately to keep the dryer from cooling down between loads.
- If you have rooms that are not used, keep the door to those rooms closed. Open curtains during the day to let in the warmth of the sunshine, and close curtains at night to retain the heat and keep out the cold.
- Change up your lighting. We’ve all been told how much more efficient CFL bulbs are and while it’s true, most everyone hates them… am I right? If you don’t want to go green with your bulbs, there are a few things you can do. Placing floor lamps in the corners of a room will help reflect more light into the room. If you need more light, one larger watt bulb is more efficient than two smaller ones. If an area needs some light but not task lighting, like a hallway for example, use a lower wattage bulb. For areas which are used for different functions, use a dimmer so you only use the wattage you need.
- Close the refrigerator door. You know what’s in there. The fridge fairy hasn’t magically loaded it up with all your faves. It’s all the same stuff that was in there the last time you looked. Grab something and close the door. Keeping it open isn’t good for the fridge, your food, or your energy bill.
So there you have it, the Total Home Supply Not-Using-Much-Energy-To-Save-Energy list. Now you might want to think about caulking, weatherstripping, and tuning up your furnace.