Your home appliances account for up to 20 percent of your monthly energy consumption. Using energy-efficient appliances doesn’t only benefit the environment — by reducing greenhouse gases and air pollutants — it also lowers utility costs and saves you money. Newer models require less power to operate and are packed with energy-saving features, such as improved insulation and airflow for new refrigerator models, improved water filtration in dishwashers, and temperature sensors in clothes dryers.
Lowering your monthly overhead cost doesn’t mean splurging on a fancy television or an over-the-top kitchen package; you would be surprised how taking simple steps can slash hundreds from your electric bill — without sacrificing convenience, time, and your hard-earned money. By following the tips below and continuously choosing the smarter ways of using electricity in your home, you can extend the life of your appliances and save money on energy bills.
When replacing old appliances, go for newer and more energy-efficient models with the Energy Star logo
There are two things to consider when buying new appliances: the upfront cost and the operating cost. The cost of operating an appliance is important because this is the price you’ll be adding to your monthly bills. Buying a cheap model or a used one to get the best value for your money is just another way of shooting yourself in the foot. Outdated appliances tend to use more energy compared to newer models. Your 10-year old freezer is draining more energy than you think. Whether you use these appliances or not, as long as they remain plugged in, they will have an impact on your possible savings.
The Energy Star logo is not just a clear indicator of high efficiency; appliances with this label have passed rigorous testing and met the strictest standards for quality and energy performance. Replacing that old freezer of yours with an Energy Star model can add more than $100 to your annual savings.
Want to save more?
Be on the lookout for special retailer offers. Some retailers will offer cash if you replace your old electronics with new ones, especially if you own competitor products.
Don’t leave appliances on standby mode
A typical household in America has more than 20 gadgets, and appliances turned on at once. Because modern devices have a standby feature, turning your appliances off can still consume power. When they are left plugged in for 24 hours, they’ll eat up roughly 10 percent of your electricity.
Overcharging is a hard habit to break; it’s also one of the most common ways of wasting precious energy. A fully-charged gadget still uses up energy when plugged in. If you still can’t kick the habit, remember that overcharging can also lower battery performance. Over time, your gadgets won’t be able to hold a full charge; their performance further reduced even at normal operating mode.
Appliances and gadgets you should unplug to save energy:
- Laptops and desktop computers
- Toasters, coffee makers, and microwaves
- Television sets, cable boxes, DVD players, and VCRs
- Modems, printers, and cordless phones
Do routine maintenance and inspection to ensure proper functioning of your appliances
Appliance failures are often caused by improper usage and lack of proper maintenance. Such neglect doesn’t only reduce the lifespan of your electronics–it can also add extra zeros to your energy bills.
One of the biggest mistakes we commit in using refrigerators is forgetting to clean the condenser coils. These winding tubes are usually located at the bottom of newer models and must be cleaned at least once a month. Simple vacuuming and brushing are enough to help keep these coils in their top shape. If you let dust accumulate in this area, it will trap more heat and your fridge will have to work harder in cooling off the hot refrigerant inside the tubes. It means more energy will be used up and additional money wasted.
Ovens and stoves boasting self-cleaning features must still be cleaned manually. Leaving grease and spilled food inside to absorb heat will reduce the cooking efficiency of this equipment. Refer to the appliance’s manual if you don’t know how to clean your electronics.
Install a water heater timer
If you only use your water heater occasionally, you are only boosting your energy bill by heating and reheating water that sits in the tank. Installing a timer switch can fix that problem. You can schedule water heating daily or weekly using these programmable timers. The timer will only turn on the water heater when you need it, so no energy goes to waste. Your water heating cost will be reduced from 26 to 5 percent. If you want a bigger reduction in your water heating cost, you can explore other energy-efficient tools and accessories, including insulated hot water pipes, faucet aerators, and low-flow shower heads.
Practice smarter cooking
If you want to reduce heat in the kitchen during summer, opt for fresh salad, smoothies, cocktails, and barbecue to lessen the need to operate the oven. When pre-heating leftovers, you only need 10 minutes or less. When using the stove, your pan or pot should match the size of the burner. Oversized pans require more energy to heat, and smaller units will only waste energy from the heat that escapes the sides. Use oven toasters and microwaves for preparing simple meals instead of using an oven. They can also reduce cooking time by half.
Replace those incandescent light bulbs with CFLs, LEDs and other halogens
Simply upgrading your lighting with energy-efficient alternatives can add up to a hundred dollars to your annual savings. One CFL (compact fluorescent lamp) bulb is equivalent to 7 incandescents and lasts up to 10 times longer. It’s one of the quickest and most affordable ways of saving money and conserving energy. Just like any household appliances, look for CFL and halogen lamps with the Energy Star label.
Know how to operate your appliances more efficiently
Even the most expensive and energy-efficient appliances will not be as effective if you don’t know how to use them properly. Placement, usage, care, and maintenance greatly affect the energy consumption of your household appliances and electronics. To ensure they are working optimally, know the best way of operating this equipment and make the necessary adjustments.
- No need to rinse food debris off your plates. Modern dishwashers can perform harder tasks than older models.
- If you don’t need to use the dishes immediately, skip heat drying and use the air-dry option.
- Use the right cycle for the load; a regular cycle is enough for lightly soiled dishes.
- Use detergent generously for efficient cleaning.
- The Second rinse should be reserved for bulky items, including comforters, jackets, and blankets.
- Avoid washing in hot water unless you have to remove heavy stains. Cold water washing can save 50 to 80 percent of energy cost.
- Scatter food packages in the freezer and stack them only when they are completely frozen.
- Provide enough ventilation space at the back and sides of the fridge to decrease running cost.
- Defrost the freezer if ice build-up reaches half a centimeter thick.
- Do routine filter cleaning during your air conditioning maintenance.
- Install the outdoor unit on the shady side of your house.
- During hot weather conditions, turn on the unit early for more efficient cooling.