With concerns about global climate change and rising energy costs, saving electricity is a big deal. Most people are trying to find ways to reduce their energy consumption without significantly changing their lifestyles. Fortunately, there are a lot of simple steps that can be taken to use less energy. Here are just a few ways to reduce your power consumption and your global footprint.
The biggest culprit in most homes when it comes to excess energy use is the heating and cooling system. Out of date furnaces and air conditioners use more electricity than they should. Replacing them with more efficient models can make a big difference. If you can’t replace your heating and cooling appliances, be sure to have them serviced regularly and keep filters clean.
If you’ve got an efficient heating and cooling system, keeping that comfortable air from escaping is your next job. Drafts, leaks, and cracks in your home can let heat enter and leave your home when you’d prefer it didn’t. Try holding a lit stick of incense or a candle next to windows and doors to detect leaks. If the smoke or flame moves erratically, you may need to seal the area. Check the attic, too.
Turn the thermostat up a few degrees in the summer and down in the winter. You could save as much as ten percent for a change of five degrees. Most people don’t even notice a small change in temperature. Use fans to move air throughout the home in the summer, and you won’t have to sacrifice comfort for energy savings.
How long have you had your appliances? Refrigerators, washing machines, dishwashers, and other major appliances may be big energy hogs. Now that Energy Star rated appliances are available, consider replacing your old ones with new, more efficient models. Be sure to dispose of your old ones responsibly, though.
Turn down the temperature on your water heater. Most water heaters are set above the recommended temperature of 120 degrees. By turning them down, you’ll save money and reduce the risk of burns. This is an especially big concern if you have young children.
Turn off your computer and other electronics when they’re not in use. Keeping them on doesn’t actually make them last longer, and it can cost you a lot of money over time. If you have electronics with Energy Star features, make sure they’re enabled, or you won’t see the benefits.
Replace light bulbs with new compact fluorescents. These are a little more expensive per bulb, but use a lot less electricity and last a lot longer, so in the end, they’ll cost you less. When disposing of compact fluorescent bulbs, be sure to take appropriate measures, as all fluorescent lights contain small amounts of mercury.