Using less electricity at home is a worthy goal for many reasons, including saving money and helping the environment. Fortunately, there are many simple things we can do each day to lower our electricity use while still enjoying the things we love.
Check out the tips below to learn more about how to use less electricity in your home on a daily basis.
Knowing what to focus on will make the biggest impact on energy savings, which is why it is helpful to know what uses the most electricity in your house. According to Connect4Climate’s breakdown of thetop 10 energy users in your home, cooling and heating are responsible for a whopping 47%. The next highest energy users are your water heater (14%), washer and dryer (13%), and lighting (12%). Taking the time to learn how to reduce electricity usage in these key areas can help.
Lower the temperature during the winter and raise it in the summer by just a couple of degrees. Your body will most likely get used to the small change and the energy savings can add up over time. Even better, set it at the lowest/highest reasonable temperature while you are at work and on vacation, then put it back when you get home. There is no need to heat or cool an empty house. A programmable thermostat can be set on a schedule so you don’t need to manually change the temperature several times a day.
Another great way to save energy on heating and cooling is by getting your windows to do some of the work for you. You can adjust the angle of your window blinds to let in the right amount of heat and light. For example, on a summer afternoon, you probably don’t need the extra sunshine warming up the inside of your home. Closing the blinds or changing their direction can lower the temperature without using any electricity. Some smart home features even include ways to automate your blinds so you don’t have to do a thing. Ablinds automation kit from tilt includes an energy savings mode in the app that enables your blinds to sense temperature changes and adjust accordingly on their own.
Saving energy with your water heater is also a snap. Take shorter, cooler showers and run the washing machine on cold whenever possible. Remember not to put too many things (or too few) in the washing machine, dishwasher, or dryer and always clean out the lint trap on your dryer before use. These things can cause your appliances to work harder than necessary, which uses more electricity. You can also hang dry your clothes whenever possible to avoid running the dryer altogether, particularly with large items like blankets.
This is another great place to put your windows to work. Open those blinds and let the natural sunlight brighten your home without using any electricity. (Bonus: Natural light is also associated with improving mood and overall happiness, and is better for your eyesight.) Strategically hung mirrors can help to maximize the light from the windows as well.
You can also swap out your light bulbs for energy-efficient options, which use 75% less energy and last up to six times longer. And of course, don’t forget to turn off lights when you leave a room and check to make sure all lights are off when you leave home.
In addition to these dominant energy users, there are a lot of other things in your home that run on electricity, and a few simple changes can add up quickly.
Many items that we use every day are left on even when not in use, such as a desktop computer. Contrary to popular belief, it will not harm your computer if you shut it down between uses, especially if you do the bulk of your work from a laptop or tablet, leaving the desktop untouched for days at a time.
Other items that are turned off but remain plugged in continue to use some electricity. Unplugging items like hairdryers, toasters, and chargers between uses will add up savings quickly when combined.
Another great option is to use a power strip in places where multiple items are plugged in near each other. This makes it much easier to unplug or turn them off all at the same time instead of individually.
Doing things the old-fashioned way doesn’t have to mean churning your own butter and reverting to a horse and buggy, but there are many modern conveniences you can cut back on or do without.
For example, do you really need an electric can opener? Many cans are equipped with a pull-tab top, and for those that aren’t, a simple handheld can opener is pretty easy to use.
You can also implement a screen-free day during the week where you play board games instead of video games or go to the park instead of watching TV. You can also play card games, do puzzles, have a read-a-thon, play sports together, go for a walk, etc. Your family may complain at first, but they’ll end up enjoying the time together as much as you do.
Many minor household problems can go unnoticed for long periods if they don’t cause major damage or inconvenience. However, these are usually things that can save you energy if properly maintained. For example, check to see if there are any air leaks around your doors and windows where heat and AC may be escaping. Sealing these cracks will save you quite a bit in heating and cooling costs.
Periodically check out or tune-up your major appliances, plumbing, and electric fixtures to make sure everything is operating at maximum efficiency. Clean coils, filters, connection points, and anything else that may slow down the flow of electricity or cause future damage. Don’t forget the dryer vent that runs outside. Leaves, lint, and even nests can block the airflow and possibly cause a fire.