It seems like everything is getting more expensive lately. Here are some ways you can better control the cost of energy your household uses.
Lighting is one part of your home environment that uses electricity. Here are some ways to control lighting costs:
• Turn off lights in rooms that are not in use. You can install motion detectors to turn lights on when someone is in a space, then turn them off when the person leaves.
• Use energy-efficient light bulbs. Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) and light emitting diodes (LEDs) last longer than incandescent bulbs, so even though they cost more initially, they will save you money over time.
• Dust off your light bulbs. (Did you know that dirty light bulbs provide about 1/3 less light than clean ones?) Keep windows and skylights clean.
Sleep mode for items such as computers or gaming systems still uses energy. If not in use, turn off electronic devices all the way. Find out the advantages of hibernate, sleep, and shut down modes, and make a smart choice when you are AFK.
Invest in a smart power strip. These devices detect when an electronic device that is plugged into the power strip is in standby mode, and cut power off to it automatically.
Stay a Little Hot, or a Little Cool
Your local weather can have a big impact on your home energy costs. Heating and air conditioning are a significant portion of home energy expenditures. The closer your indoor temperature is to outdoor temperatures, the less you will be using your HVAC system.
• The US Department of Energy recommends a daytime thermostat setting of 78 degrees F (26 degrees C) in the summertime and 70 degrees F (21 degrees C) in the winter.
• A programmable thermostat can be set to automatically change the temperature in the home. This makes it easy to leave your home with less comfortable temperatures when you are not there, and have it more comfortable when you return.
Keep the filters in your heating and air conditioning clean. These filters trap dust, germs, pet hairs, pollen and other air contaminants. Regular cleaning improves their efficiency, but sooner or later they should be replaced.
Utility companies know that there are certain times of day when their customers are most likely to use energy for home tasks such as preparing food or doing laundry, which puts more demands on the energy delivery system. Peak energy usage times tend to be in the morning when people are waking up and preparing for their day and in the evening when they are returning from school or work. Some companies offer time-of-use discount rates. Running your dishwasher or turning on entertainment devices at 9pm instead of at 6pm could save you money.
Set Energy Usage Goals
Examine your utility bills over the past few months. Instead of looking at the dollar cost, look at the kilowatt-hours (kWh) used. By using the strategies listed above, can you lower your energy usage a little before your next bill? Perhaps some of the steps on this checklist of energy-saving measures for commercial buildings will give you some ideas.