Moving into fall means shorter days and longer nights. Some people worry that the extra electricity this requires will cause their utility bills to jump, but don’t worry; there are plenty of ways to save power and lower costs when lighting your space. Better yet, you can cut back on your power consumption in other areas too — which can more than compensate for any extra money you spend on lighting.
Below are 10 of our brightest ideas (pun intended) for saving electricity this fall. Make sure to incorporate as many as possible into your regular routine so that you can enjoy an eco-friendly and economically viable autumn.
10 Ways to Save Power without Sacrificing Comfort and Convenience this Fall
1. Forget the dimmer switch.
People assume that less light automatically means less power being used, but when it comes to incandescent bulbs, dimmer switches are actually less efficient than simply using lower-wattage lights. They’re good for making your light bulbs last longer, but switching to LED can save you up to four times as much energy, all while keeping your space nice and bright. You can also better control electricity-use by connecting your lights to a smart home.
2. Put your lights on a timer.
Forgetting to turn the lights off when leaving the house for a weekend trip can waste over 4000 kWh of electricity, so automating this process can be a worthwhile investment.
3. Unplug (most of) your appliances when you’re not using them.
Refrigerators will obviously need to stay plugged in to keep their contents fresh, but televisions, game consoles, and other devices waste power when they’re left plugged-in — even if they’ve been turned “off”.
4. Keep your fridge and freezer full.
These appliances operate much more efficiently when they’re stuffed with food.
5. Start washing with cold water.
You can offset your lighting costs during the fall months by using cold water to wash your clothes. You can also lower the temperature of the water you use to wash dishes, and even experiment with taking cold showers in the morning (if you’re brave).
6. Seal any areas where pipes enter or exit your house.
Heat travels from warm areas to cool ones — so if you want to keep it in your home, you’ll need to make sure it doesn’t have a convenient route to the outside. Check the areas in your house where water pipes, drain lines or HVAC ductwork go through external walls and make sure they’re airtight.
7. Check your ductwork for leaks.
You probably won’t use your air conditioner much once summer is over (which will save you a bundle on utility bills to begin with) but it pays to have a licensed professional check your ductwork and make sure it won’t leak when you start to rely on your furnace for comfort later in the season. If you’re paying for hot air, you want to make sure it stays in your house.
8. Set your thermostat back a few degrees.
It won’t make much of a difference to you comfort-wise (none at all if you have a good sweater collection), but you’ll definitely notice the money you save on heating in chillier weather. The rule of thumb is that every degree you set your thermostat back can save you as much as 3% on your monthly heating bill.
9. Cook with the microwave, not the stove.
It’s estimated that a microwave only uses a third of the power that a typical stove does.
10. Perform an energy audit and learn the specifics of your home.
Every property is different, and these strategies will vary somewhat in terms of their effectiveness depending on where they’re used. It’s easy to perform a five minute energy audit in your own home that will teach you about its specific strengths and weaknesses, so that you know how to save as much power as possible in the future.
You don’t have to use more power than usual when summer ends. Use the tips we’ve provided above to make sure you stay energy-efficient this autumn, and use the extra money you save to satisfy your pumpkin spice latte cravings.