Bills, bills, bills. We get them every month, yet what really goes into them? In terms of energy consumption, the average American household typically pays over $2,000 on their energy bill alone per year, with the largest share, about 43%, going to support heating and cooling systems.
Blaming your provider for hiking prices if easy, but most of the time high energy bills are due in large part to high usage. While energy consumption can’t be avoided all together, there are many simple changes you can make to reduce your energy bill. Here’s some quick tips:
Unplug electronics when not in use
Electronics and appliances still consume energy when plugged in, whether in use or not. Modern electronics, especially small appliances like coffee pots and TVs, still draw electricity when in standby mode, so even when sitting idle energy is still consumed while waiting for the next command or scheduled task.
To help minimize this energy consumption, use smart power strips. These strips will give you the ability to designate devices as “always on” for devices that need to maintain connection, while cutting power to devices that don’t always need to be in operation, like Bluetooth speakers and toasters. Traditional power strips are also a great resource for conserving energy as they give you the ability to turn off multiple devices at once when not needed.
Replace old and outdated equipment
Household equipment, especially air conditioners and furnaces, over 10 years old consume much more energy than necessary. A new unit can help conserve energy and help avoid the chance of breakdown.
If you’re in the market to update our air conditioning system, consider a mini-split. These air conditioning systems do not require ducts, making them more energy efficient and overall much cleaner than a central AC system.
That being said, no matter the system, when upgrading look for Energy Star certified products. According to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a home with Energy Star products will use about 35% less energy than non-energy star homes and will save more than 8,000 pounds of greenhouse gases from being emitted per year.
Use appliances to their fullest capacity
Appliances have the tendency to draw large amounts of energy and using them too often can drive up your energy bill. When using large appliances, like dishwashers and dryers, make sure you are using them at their fullest capacity — running an incomplete load of laundry or dishes can waste not only energy, but also water.
To maximize your energy use, when using a dishwasher change the drying setting to use low or no heat. When it comes to laundry, try having one laundry day per week and select a low heat setting when drying.
Turn off lights when not needed
This one is simple — turn off lights when they aren’t needed or when a room is not occupied. Leaving lights on in unoccupied rooms is not necessary and can hike up your energy bill with little benefit.
When changing light bulbs, consider switching from inefficient incandescent bulbs to LED or CFL bulbs. These lights are much more energy efficient and are longer lasting than traditional incandescent bulbs.
Consider a smart thermostat
Old thermostats can be inaccurate and less informative than new models, for this reason consider upgrading to a smart thermostat. These thermostats give you the ability to control your home’s temperatures while you are away or while sleeping.
Households that scale back heating or cooling while away can save a family up to $180 per year on average.