Energy Efficiency Ideas
If living in self-quarantine has made you aware of the extra electricity you’ve been using on lights, laundry and the stovetop, there are plenty of simple measures you can take to lower your electric bill.
Use your dishwasher
Dishwashers may use electricity, but they save more energy, money, water and time than hand washing.
According to the California Energy Commission using an Energy Star-qualified dishwasher instead of hand washing can save you, on average, 5,000 gallons of water and $40 in utility costs each year, not to mention 230 hours of your time.
Air-dry your dishes
Opt-out of the heat-dry cycle on your dishwasher. Instead, open the door just a crack and let your dishes air-dry. Or, if your dishwasher has an air-dry setting, use it. The air-dry setting can reduce your dishwasher’s energy use by 15 percent to 50 percent, according to the California Energy Commission.
Stack dishwasher correctly
These dishwasher tips won’t save electricity if you have to repeat loads because the dishes just won’t get clean. That’s why you need to make sure they’re loaded correctly. For example, you should place plates in the bottom rack, bowls on the top rack, make sure cups are upside down and larger pots should be washed separately.
Use a ceiling fan
If you live in an area of the world where the summers are hot, turn on your ceiling fans before you touch your thermostat. Using a ceiling fan can make a room feel 10 degrees cooler and a fan uses just 10 percent of the energy that a central air conditioner does, according to the US Natural Resource Defense Council.
The fan should push air downward in the hot summer months and upwards in the winter if it is capable of reversing its rotation.
Use a new smarter light bulb
If you haven’t switched to LED lighting, now is the time. The US Department of Energy says that LED bulbs use at least 75 percent less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescent lighting. That equals a lot of savings!
Forget the twisty looking bulb
If you’re not a fan of the twisty compact fluorescent lights (or CFLs), there’s good news. Many LEDs, like the Cree Daylight, Philips Scene Switch or GE LED Daylight, look just like the old incandescent bulbs.
Use motion detectors to save
If you’re constantly following family members from room to room, turning off lights behind them, you need to update. One solution could be motion detectors, they turn on when they sense someone’s in the room and then turn themselves off when no movement is detected.
Get rid of old refrigerators
Old refrigerators use far more electricity than newer more efficient models. Many utilities have a program in place where they will come get the old fridge and sometimes even give you a rebate to use towards a newer model.
Here is a link to HL&P’s program.
Keep your oven closed
Every time you open your oven door, the internal temperature can drop 25 degrees. Then, your oven has to use more electricity to bring the temperature back up. To save electricity, peek through the window and rely on your oven’s light instead of opening the door.
Use a smart plug
You may think that your electronics and appliances are energy-efficient, but are you using more electricity than you think?
A smart plug is a little gadget that plugs into your wall that you can use to turn electronics on and off.
Get a power strip
One of the best ways to control power wasters in your house is by plugging them into a power strip or a smart outlet. Switch the strip off or use the smart switch’s app to turn off electricity guzzlers when you go to bed or when you’re not home.
Get a programmable thermostat
Still have that thermostat that looks like it’s from the 1970s? Switch it out with a programmable thermostat to save energy, switching to a programmable thermostat can save you save up to 10 percent on cooling and heating costs.
Clean your clothes dryer
The California Energy Commission says that dryers use approximately 6 percent of a home’s total electricity usage. You can help your dryer work more efficiently by keeping it clean. Always cleaning the lint trap after every load is one of the most important things you can do.
Cold water setting for washer
Start using cold water when you wash laundry. Why? Because 90 percent of the electricity used to wash a load goes toward heating the water.
Washing clothes in cold water can save you $63 a year on your electricity bill. Most detergents are designed to work better in cold water, anyway.
Upgrade your laundary room
Older appliances aren’t as energy efficient as newer models. For example, Energy Star estimates that on average a washer over 10 years old could cost you around $190 a year.
Clean and fix air ducts
The air ducts in your home could be costing you big bucks. Ducts with holes, clogs and leaks can lose around 20 percent of the AC’s and furnace’s efficiency. Have your ducts looked at by a professional if you have any of these problems.