For busy people, it seems hard to find ways to cut down on energy use without making a huge change in their lifestyle. However, there are countless ways to save energy by just changing up a few things in your routine or around the house. Here are 9 easy ways to save you energy and money.
#1: For every degree you choose to raise the thermostat above 78, you can reduce your cooling costs by as much as 10%. So keep your home at the highest comfortable temperature and turn it up a few degrees before you leave the house or go out of town. This simple act can save you tons.
#2: If you want to save energy by raising your thermostat but you still don’t feel cool enough, portable fans and ceiling fans can do the trick. There’s a switch on most ceiling fans that reverses the direction of the blades. Make sure they’re turning counter-clockwise at a medium or high speed during the summer so air is pushed down to cool you off. During the winter you can run ceiling fans clockwise at low speed to gently circulate warm air that rises.
#3: When you use the dishwasher, never run just half a load. Try packing that thing until it’s full, saving energy and money, and conserving water. If you want to save even more, you can even turn off the manual “heat dry” and let your dishes air dry in the machine. Another dishwasher tip is to avoid cramming your large pots and pans in there and hand washing them instead. These take up a lot of space in the dishwasher and you will use much less dishwater if you wash and dry them yourself.
#4: If you live in a humid part of the country, one way to reduce the humidity in your home is to reduce the internal fan speed on your air conditioning system. Slowing down the movement of air through the machine allows it to remove more moisture, which makes you feel much cooler. If you live in a dry area, it’s better to keep the fan speed high.
#5: Having a well maintained air conditioning system is critical; dirty air filters restrict air flow and cause the system to become inefficient, therefore using more electricity and costing you more money. So change disposable filters at least once a month or switch to a permanent air filters that you can clean instead of throw away. Reusable filters are more expensive, but will save you money in the long run by shrinking your energy bills and prolonging the life of your air conditioner.
#6:To prevent heat from entering your home, keep you windows, blinds, and curtains closed during the hottest parts of the day. Or, you can install outdoor awnings, solar screens, or window film on the outside of your windows to intercept or reflect the heat caused by solar energy. If you happen to need new windows, you may consider upgrading to high-performance products that have special coatings; these can filter out up to 70% of the heat while allowing the full amount of light to come through.
#7: Cook with a microwave oven in place of your traditional oven when you can during warm weather. They’re inexpensive, use up to 30% less energy, and they don’t generate heat in the kitchen.
#8: Almost 90% of the energy consumed by a washing machine goes to heating water. By switching to cold water, you cut your bill down tremendously and climate a staggering amount of carbon emissions caused by heating water. Many people believe that cold water just doesn’t do the trick when it comes to getting your clothes to be the cleanest they can, however this is not true. Many large brand name detergents have a cold-water alternative to their normal products that get your clothes to be their best. This is because these alternatives are formulated specifically for cold water.
#9: Visit your power company’s web site to find out if they offer an energy management program. This is a great option for people who are away from home during a large part of the day (work, travel, school, etc.). The power company installs a small switch on equipment that you enroll in the program, like your water heater, pool pump, or central air conditioner. If you’re willing to give them control over this equipment during limited times, you’ll receive a nice rebate.