June 18

Is Your Electric Bill Too High? Use These Tips to Save

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Is your electric bill too high? You’re not alone. A lot of people struggle with ways to lower their electric bill. If your power bill is running higher than you would like it to, you are not completely powerless in the situation. It may take a month or more for you to really see a difference, but the tips below can definitely help you lower your power bill month after month.

electric bill to high

Shut Off Lights When You’re Not Using Them

You have been hearing this since you were a child but there is a reason. It really is important! Lights left on in rooms that no one is in is a waste of power pure and simply. You might be surprised at just how much of a difference this really can make.

If you absolutely feel that you need a light in the hallway, bathroom or wherever, use a night light or a battery operated tap light. They use far less energy and will not raise your electric bill the way the ceiling lights will.

It’s Not Just the Lights 

Unfortunately, it is not just the lights being left on when no one is in the room that are causing a higher electric bill. Things such as fans, televisions, electric heaters and so on can also raise your power bill pretty significantly. If no one is using them, make sure they are shut off.

Beware of Phantom Electric

Sometimes simply being shut off is not enough due to phantom electricity. Phantom electricity is what electronics use when they are not being used. Think of it this way; your charger must have a charge going through it constantly in order to be ready to begin charging your phone immediately when you plug it in. While that one charger may not cost a ton of money to power, consider how much phantom electric is costing you across your entire home.

Things such as fans, kitchen appliances, the coffeemaker, the TV and video game systems are just a few of the things that use phantom power. These days they even make furniture such as beds and couches that use power. To avoid phantom electricity charges, plug everything possible into a surge protection strip and unplug the power strip when those items are not in use.

Use a Programmable Thermostat 

Playing musical temperatures with your thermostat is one surefire way to have a high power bill. Instead of allowing that to happen, use a programmable thermostat to keep your furnace and central air on a regularly timed schedule. If your family is the type to change the program or turn it off altogether, consider putting a thermostat lockbox over the thermostat to keep them out of it. It is a little extra work, however, it will be worth it in the amount of money you save.

Help Your Heating and Cooling System Work

It may seem impossible to really save on your heating and cooling costs, but this is actually one of the easiest ways to lower your electric bill.  In addition to putting the thermostat on a program, thermal curtains can help keep cold out during the winter and in during the summer. Sealing any gaps around your doors and windows helps reduce lost heated or cooled air. Adding rugs to rooms with no carpet can help keep the temperature where you want it. Doing what you can to help your heating and cooling system to run as efficiently as possible is a great way to help lower your power bill.

Cook More Efficiently 

The stove and oven are energy eaters which means it can cost quite a bit to use them depending on what you’re cooking. If you’re willing and able to, however, you can easily save money on your cooking costs by simply changing what you are using to cook.

If you need to bake, a countertop convection toaster oven can often do the job just as well. For other meals, an electric roasting pan, a slow cooker or an Instant Pot is a great option. They use far less energy to run and in some cases will cook your meal quicker than the stove or oven ever could.

Target Lower Cost Time Periods

Finally, one electric savings tip that often gets forgotten about is that your electric generally costs you more money during the day than it does in the evening. These lower per kw/h costs can save you a pretty significant amount of money if you use them to your advantage. Instead of doing laundry during the day, do it in the evening after the cost drops. Run the dishwasher after the price drops. Take showers after the price drops. The more power you can use once the price drops, the less your electric bill will ultimately be.

If you are tired of spending too much on your electric bill, it’s time to take action. The average American household spends about $3,000 per year on electricity bills. Check out these steps for lowering your monthly payments and taking control of your budget.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • What are some of the biggest energy users in my home that drive up electric bills?

    The biggest contributors to high electric bills are often the large appliances and systems we use every day without a second thought – heating and cooling, water heating, refrigeration, laundry, and lighting. Together these account for about two-thirds of a typical home’s energy consumption according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

    Let’s start with heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, the largest chunk of most homes’ energy demand. In colder climates, heating especially strains the electric grid in winter, while elsewhere air conditioning is the culprit in summer. The bigger the home and temperature difference with outdoors, the harder your HVAC works. Smart thermostats that adjust temperatures when you’re asleep or away can lop 10% or more from bills. Upgrading to a newer high-efficiency HVAC system, adding insulation and sealing air leaks pays off too.

    Next, water heating accounts for up to a fifth of energy use. Turning down the thermostat to 120°F provides comfortable hot water for most needs while reducing waste. Insulating exposed pipes also saves energy long-term. Choosing heat pump hot water heaters over traditional electric tanks cuts costs substantially. Limiting and shortening hot showers helps as well.

    Large appliances are the next biggest users. The always-on refrigerator alone makes up about 13% of home energy bills. Choosing right-sized ENERGY STAR certified models saves power. Newer refrigerators often use advanced compressors and features that cut costs over aging units. The same advice goes for laundry units – washers and dryers account for 5-10% of use per the DOE. Running full loads, using cold water settings, cleaning dryer filters and air drying all lighten energy demands.

    Home electronics and lighting are smaller per device but add up substantially when tallied together. Using efficient LED bulbs, turning lights off diligently, upgrading computers and TVs during replacements all curb waste. Smart power strips are another easy way to eliminate standby vampire loads that devices draw even while powered off. Although small individually, these efforts slash bills noticeably when practiced consistently home-wide. Tracking down unused old electronics like spare fridges and dust-gathering gadgets to unplug also pays dividends on your next electric statement.

  • Should I switch to energy-efficient LED light bulbs to save money?

    In a word – yes. Upgrading your home’s lighting to efficient LED bulbs can make a significant dent in electric bills, often with a less than two year payback on the small added bulb cost. They use at least 75% less energy and last 25 times longer than traditional incandescent lighting according to Energy.gov. Here’s a breakdown of why LEDs are your best bet for slashing lighting costs at home.

    First, LED efficiency – converting over 90% of energy to light rather than wasted heat – cuts large chunks from bills over incandescent bulbs’ 10-15% efficiency. And improved manufacturing has dropped prices on LEDs 80% in the last decade while boosting performance and quality. Most now offer the same soft white light, dimmability and brightness as classic bulbs at a fraction of the operating cost. That energy savings snowballs when multiplied over every socket in a home.

    Secondly, the exceptional 25,000+ hour lifespan of modern LEDs means no more frequent bulb changes interrupting rooms to replace burnt-out incandescent or CFL bulbs that last under 1,500 hours a piece. Fewer bulb changes equal additional cost savings from stocking spares and ladder trips up to overhead fixtures. Commercial and industrial buildings with hard-to-reach lighting see instant payoffs from long-lasting LEDs.

    Third, to maximize savings choosing ENERGY STAR rated LEDs ensures you get quality bulbs that undergo independent testing to verify light output, efficiency, durability and warranty protection for consumers exceed industry standards. They offer the same brightness and color consistency using about 20% less power than non-rated equivalents. Home improvement stores now exclusively stock LED options over wasteful classic bulbs being phased out.

    In the end, switching six incandescent or CFL bulbs to ENERGY STAR LEDs per household would save about $75 in annual power costs. As the last bastion of older bulbs burn out, proactively replacing the rest before problems arise generates rapid long term payback through new lighting technology advancements. Brighter, reliable and more eco-friendly illumination without sacrificing quality of light make the switch an obvious efficiency choice.

  • Does it really make a difference if I adjust my thermostat a few degrees?

    In short – absolutely. Your home’s heating and cooling system is typically the largest user of electricity, so small thermostat changes have an outsized impact on energy savings. The numbers show lowering your thermostat just a couple degrees in winter and raising it a bit in summer can slash 10% or more from costly heating bills. Here’s a deeper look at how thermostat tweaks add up.

    The main savings come from equipment run times. Heating systems work constantly to maintain set indoor temps, while lower outdoor cold translates to bigger temperature differences and energy demand. Simply nudging your thermostat down two or three degrees lessens that heating load substantially. Cooling systems work similarly in reverse – set temperatures closer to outdoor heat require less electrical resources to maintain. Multiply these marginal changes across every hour of operation, and your HVAC quickly uses less fuel or draws fewer kilowatt-hours.

    In gas-heated households, monthly heating bills drop around 1% for every degree lowered consistently. For an average home that sees $180 winter gas bills, a two degree adjustment saves $45 seasonally based on this rule of thumb. The electrical savings for heat pumps and air conditioners may be even greater at 3% per degree shifted. Moving within a small sweet spot around 70°F for heating and 75°F cooling saves noticeable amounts without sacrificing comfort.

    Programmable and internet-connected smart thermostats take the work out of diligent temperature adjustments by letting homeowners customize schedules aligned with behaviors and needs that match comfort to energy use more intelligently across days and seasons automatically. With geo-fencing, occupancy sensing, weather data, and continual optimization updates over time, advanced climate control devices enhance savings more each season of ownership.

    Even without fancy technology, slightly rethinking those thermostat set points makes a guaranteed difference in home efficiency. Small consistent downward or upward changes for heating and cooling couple straight-forward ease of access with year-round effortless savings derived from your HVAC’s outsized impact on home energy usage. When it comes to managing seasonal comfort in any household, few things provide simpler and faster payback on monthly bills than turning your thermostat down or up a couple strategic degrees.

  • Is it better to use electric heaters or to layer up in the winter?

    The answer lies squarely with turning down the thermostat and putting on a warm sweater. Electric space heaters, baseboard units, and turning up your central furnace all waste substantially more money and energy compared to the minimal effort of throwing on an extra layer or two even when you feel a slight chill. Here’s a closer breakdown of why body heat and insulation beat space heaters any day.

    The largest savings stem from how much more efficient the human body is than any manmade heating device. Our internal metabolic system already generates surplus warmth that radiates outwards. Putting on natural fiber thermal wear, thick socks, leggings, a fleece jacket or fingerless gloves all act to trap that escaping body heat and keep it close to the skin. Adding a blanket over your lap or warm drink provides supplemental heat powered by the snacks you just ate rather than expensive electricity demanded by space heaters. This biological process works passively for free once you slip on another layer.

    However, electric heating gadgets have no such advantage – needing to inefficiently and expensively convert 100% of their energy intake directly into heat using red-hot wires or glowing ceramic flakes. Solid research shows that no electric heater can operate for less than 20 cents per hours at national average electricity rates. Yet our layered-up bodies happily hum along for free fueled by affordable food. Hour after hour, small electric heat boosts add up to big costs eclipsing $100+ per month.

    The environmental impact also favors layers which use no additional energy beyond typical food production. But more heaters gulping down kilowatt-hours invariably increase fossil fuel energy consumption, pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions. Choosing the right cozy sweater is the definition of sustainable responsibility.

    Finally, heaters require vigilant operation, maintenance and supervision to avoid safety or fire risks – none of which attend putting more clothes on your back. For both costs and convenience, innovative fabrics and smart layered outfits win handily over plug-in heating units guzzling down electricity by the minute while merely compensating for a simple lack of insulation. Use common sense and a good coat to stay warm this winter rather than costly wasted energy.

  • Should I keep my refrigerator full?

    Yes – keeping your fridge well stocked year-round optimizes efficiency, temperature regulation and saves you money over an empty appliance every time. Let’s explore why.

    Refrigerators work by circulating coolant through coils which absorb ambient heat contained within food items and the air space inside. Running with a full cargo bay provides more thermal mass for the system to absorb, lowering workload. Meanwhile, less empty space requires less energy to chill down to desired cold levels after new items or heat enters from openings.

    But primarily, when lightly loaded, refrigerators risk longer more intense coldness loss when doors open. Appliance experts confirm less thermal cargo inside means faster temperature spikes during use. So regaining stable chill requires accelerated compressor and fan activity compared to consistently colder fully-stocked cavities. This wears down components faster while running higher energy bills – a lose/lose.

    Additionally, the fridge’s defrost mechanisms operate less frequently when packed wall-to-wall since increased thermal payload provides sufficient cooling between cycles. Infrequent defrosts avoid harmful excessive frost buildup on coils and usually boost lifespan for balanced operation.

    What if adding groceries or leftovers won’t fit? Consider paring back seldom used items, donating about-to-expire foods, making menus using soon expiring ingredients, and planning more frequent shopping trips for fresh goods. Or, for overstuffed fridges, investigate upgrading to a larger capacity Energy Star model which uses at least 10 percent less power for the increased volume. New inversion compressor refrigerators also run remarkably more efficient than those over 8 years old.

    In summary, keeping your refrigerator densely stocked year-round with a variety of items ensures ideal cool air circulation and stable temperatures which save energy by avoiding heat spikes. The bonus comes as making the most of purchased groceries by promptly storing them in a perpetually full fridge that minimizes waste while maximizing efficiency. Both your budget and the planet benefit from a cold cavity crammed with food versus and mostly empty refrigerator.

  • Will installing a programmable or smart thermostat help me save?

    Installing a programmable or smart thermostat can generate big savings on home heating and cooling bills. The key benefit comes from aligning temperature settings to match your household’s daily behaviors compared to the energy waste of a manual non-programmable thermostat maintaining constant temps 24/7 whether anyone is home or not. Let’s take a deeper look at how they save and which technology works best.

    Programmable thermostats have offered basic scheduling options for decades, allowing homeowners to set different temperatures for wake, daytime away, evening and overnight hours. This saves energy by letting temps drift slightly during vacant daylight hours when warming or cooling isn’t needed, before resuming comfort settings when occupants return. Most models enable creating unique 7-day routines that match household schedules. Choosing the right programming fits energy use to existing habits.

    Next-generation smart thermostats amp up the adaptability considerably while simplifying old-fashioned programming through phone app control and usage monitoring. Options like remote adjustment, geofencing (which senses when you leave or approach home), presence detection, weather data monitoring, and continual optimization algorithms make energy savings relentless and invisible yet optimal automatically over time.

    Studies by Energy Star found programmable types save homeowners an average $145 per year, with more advanced learning models cutting bills up to 20% annually. Smart thermostats also indicate when HVAC maintenance may be needed based on performance changes, heading off bigger breakdown repair bills down the road.

    Overall costs range widely from around $25 for basic programmable units or up to $250 for premium smart thermostat systems, with savvier models paying for themselves in under two years. Combined rebates from energy providers for installing specific thermostat types can cut upgrade costs in half or more in many areas.

    Any model offers substantial efficiency gains and short payback versus a basic manual or non-adjusting mercury thermostat. Those remain stuck heating or cooling unnecessarily all day oblivious to lifestyle patterns. Upgrading provides one of the quickest and most effortless paths to energy bill savings in any household.

  • Does turning off unused lights actually make a difference?

    While the savings from flipping an individual light switch may seem minor, consistently powering down luminaires in empty rooms adds up substantially on energy bills over months of new habit formation. Here’s a deeper look at why diligence pays dividends.

    The main savings accrue from the avoided electric costs of unneeded operation multiplied by each instance of turning lights off in an average day, week, or year. The electricity consumed and associated expense ranges widely based on bulb type – incandescent, CFL or LED. But any option draws more power illuminating an empty room than being off which wastes barely 3 watts for most modern lights. Those incremental savings stack rapidly as we ruthlessly cut power in real time to dark, unoccupied spaces.

    Another benefit stems from bulb lifespan. The more hours of illumination you can avoid by powering down, the less frequently you must purchase and replace burned-out bulbs. This reduces consumption further by curtailing the energy needed to manufacture replacements as well as savings on your future retail bulb purchases. Extending operational life this way allows bulbs to last until they’re inefficiently beyond the technology of the day upon needing a true replacement.

    Studies measuring home lighting usage find we only actively use room lighting around our working or relaxing location about 20-30% of the time. Yet on average homes power more than half of installed bulbs at any point wasting illumination and electricity on empty rooms. Simply instilling new habits to flip switches off around the house before leaving can net 15-20% lower usage with almost zero effect on lifestyle.

    In summary, the efficiency advantage of diligently powering down is guaranteed and available instantly just from the deliberate manual habit of turning off lights in unoccupied rooms. Supportive home automation can bolster success by powering down unused lighting automatically during predictable behaviors. But remember, every extinguished bulb cuts consumption and slowly shrinks electricity bills.

  • Should I switch to energy-efficient appliances when mine wear out?

    Purchasing ENERGY STAR certified appliances that meet strict energy use guidelines makes excellent economic and environmental sense and should be strongly considered during any appliance replacement. Here’s a closer look at the array of benefits from upgrading to modern, efficient models.

    First, the cost savings payback. By using a minimum of 10-25% less power accomplishing the same tasks, an Energy Star fridge, washer, dryer or dishwasher often pays for any added upfront cost through electricity bill reductions in under 2 years of average use. With some homes relying on a dozen or more appliances, the savings add up quickly. Plus, utility or state rebates can cut initial purchase prices on upgraded models to amplify savings.

    Second, upgraded convenience and performance innovations not found in aging appliances improve the owner experience. Features like steam cleaning cycles on dryers, variable speed motors, humidity sensors, quick ice makers, adjustable racks, and wifi connectivity for troubleshooting and remote access increase enjoyment and reliability. New options make chores easier while cutting wasted cycles and inefficient laundry or dishwashing.

    Third, advanced technologies like heat pump driers, inverter motors and compressors, and precision temperature controls reduce energy demands smarter not harder compared to outdated designs. Some cuts electrical use in half or more versus traditional models. Additionally, new appliances strain the electric grid less thanks to better insulation, tighter door seals and balanced resource use.

    Finally, responsible environmental stewardship recognizes that a typical appliance lasts 10-20 years. Choosing upgraded models with sustainable manufacturing and recycled materials makes an impact on your carbon footprint for decades over wasteful older units. Even responsible disposal and recycling of aged appliances show commitment to future efficiencies.

    When everyday kitchen or laundry appliances reach replacement age, ENERGY STAR efficient new models powered by innovative technology offer the best path forward through tangible energy and cost savings paired with upgraded performance – all while supporting a cleaner environment. The incremental upgrade cost pays itself back within the first few years while benefiting households for many years after.

  • Is it better to air dry dishes instead of using my dishwasher’s drying cycle?

    Skipping the drying cycle can trim roughly 15% from total dishwasher energy use with a bit of effort upfront. Here’s a closer breakdown of the efficiency advantage and a few tips to make the process work seamlessly.

    The main benefit stems from heat being extremely energy intensive to generate compared to utilizing existing ambient room air to slow-dry dishes. Skipping the internal heating element, fan and extended run times to force dry cutlery and plates slashes electricity demands substantially. Air drying plates for as little as 30 minutes before putting away allows moisture to evaporate naturally rather than expending electricity to power dry. Depending on household habits, that easily avoids hundreds of heating sessions annually.

    While virtually all modern dishwashers offer a no-heat air dry mode, many still run interior fans and cycle times of over an hour which diminishes potential savings versus removing dishes promptly after a rinse. For best effect, crack open the machine right after washing finishes and pull out dish racks to promote airflow circulation. Then stack plates in dish drainers and leave out cutlery in separated open compartments on the counter. Within 30-60 minutes depending on humidity, nearly everything will be dry to put away while the inside surfaces of your turned off dishwasher air dry as well.

    If time is tight in the morning rush, leave clean dishes out overnight and putting everything away in seconds is a snap before heading to work or school. Some added benefits include avoiding heat damage to more delicate items and glasses which prolongs their lifetime use while cutting waste. With little upfront effort, families reduce carbon emissions alongside enjoying lower electric bills.

    While modern ENERGY STAR dishwashers use much less energy across wash/rinse cycles than hand washing, engaging the heat drying setting at the tail end of every load adds up over years. But a simple operational change complements the efficiency to trim usage 15% more. Give air drying a try and let Mother Nature shoulder that final drying stretch instead of expensive appliance heating elements.

  • At what temperature should I keep my water heater at?

    The key sweet spot balances safety, savings, and comfort around the 120°F mark. Here’s a closer look at why setting your water heater thermostat at 120°F makes good economic and lifestyle sense for most families.

    The first big factor is mitigating risks from dangerous scalding temperatures while reducing wasted standby heat loss. Water heaters set excessively high – 140°F or more – waste heat continually through pipes, shorten tank lifespans through sediment-inducing overwork, and pose major scalding dangers if a faucet mix-up unleashes outright hot water. Kids, elderly, or disabled users suffer most from tap water that hot. Conversely, pathogens proliferate in tanks set too low to save pennies risking health issues.

    But selecting 120°F hits the safety and efficiency bullseye. The CDC and Consumer Reports both recommend 120° as sufficiently hot to kill bacteria growth in water heaters while preventing burns from brief contact during bathing or showering. Less scalding danger, especially for children, allows everyone to bathe safely while lowering risk.

    In terms of operating costs, 120°F settings also curb wasted standby heat dissipation from hot water tanks versus constantly maintaining higher temperatures around the clock. Less drastic heating means elements turn on for shorter periods daily saving energy. Annually, household water heating ranks among the largest household energy users, so seemingly small tweaks add up over years of daily usage.

    Additionally, lowered thermostat settings between 120°-125°F extend the working lifespans of water heaters by reducing mineral sediment precipitation from intensely heated water. Less breakdown maintenance means fewer costs and headaches while your water heater exceeds anticipated operation years.

    For comfort, unless you have a dishwasher lacking a water temp booster heater, most find 120°F taps perfectly satisfactory for sinks, showers and cleaning assuming your home water pressures competes with modern expectations. For truly cold groundwater locations, a setting between 125°-130° may be warranted, but unnecessary without need. Start at 120°F and tweak from there.

    In summary water heaters set to 120°F balance ideal comfort, operating costs, safety and equipment longevity. Small tweaks save money while providing adequate hot water for most households. Unless you have special needs or utilize complex commercial-style appliances, 120°F hits the efficiency and security sweet spot for water heating.

  • Should I insulate my hot water pipes?

    Taking the effort to insulate exposed hot water pipes and heaters consistently saves households 4-8% annually on water heating bills. Let’s dive deeper on how pipe insulation slashes standby heat loss allowing appliances to operate more efficiently.

    The main culprit driving up hot water energy bills stems from uncontrolled heat dissipation from hot pipes and tanks. Bare copper or steel piping rapidly radiates away heat to surrounding air, forcing water heaters to cycle more frequently to restore hot tap water temperatures. This thermal loss wastes money 24/7, even while households sleep. Insulating wraps act like a blanket trapping heat energy close to pipes longer.

    Typical DIY foam pipe insulation costs around $4 per 6-foot length offering easy installation. Secure the slit sections over pipe runs near appliances and accessible locations to curb surface heat radiation. Sealing joints with included adhesive helps optimize air gap elimination further enhancing effectiveness. Professional insulation can extend coverage throughout tough-to-reach unconditioned spaces like attics and crawlspaces if DIY challenges your skills.

    In colder northern climates, insulating pipes becomes even more essential to counteract freeze risks. Burst water lines cause extensive property damages, another benefit avoided through proper heat retention materials. Insulation also keeps nearby stuff safe from burns by hot uncovered plumbing. For pipes located in cabinets below sinks or laundry hookup boxes, the safety factor proves substantial.

    Insulating electric hot water heaters themselves (not just exiting pipes) also pays dividends by cutting standby losses from the large tank surface area. Special insulating jackets are available from retailers, although even standard pipe insulation wrapped around works in a pinch. Reduced heat loss means dialing back the heating element temperature setting which magnifies savings further still.

    Combined with adjusting tank thermostats down to 120 F, wrapping accessible hot water plumbing offers one of the simplest energy conservation tactics. Dampening wasted standby heat leads to cooler ambient temperatures around appliances and pipes. This allows water heating elements to cycle less often saving electricity and money for years into the future with one weekend’s work.

  • Can weather stripping and sealing air leaks cut my bills?

    Extensive research shows sealing uncontrolled air leaks can lead to 10-20% lower heating and cooling bills delivering impressive returns for very little money. Here’s a closer look at how and why stopping air infiltration pays notable dividends.

    The vast majority of homes, especially older ones, leak appreciable amounts of conditioned interior air to the outside through gaps around windows, doors, pipes, wires, foundation cracks and unfinished spaces. This infiltrating outdoor air must get re-heated or re-cooled to desired home temperatures wasting loads of energy 24/7/365. Cold winter winds and hot summer attic air quickly undermine comfort.

    DIY weather stripping, door sweeps, and caulk tubes cost around $25 total. Sealing obvious gaps takes more time than money. Start by feeling around windows and doors for drafts on windy days and seal those first. Use clear window caulk for transparent seals along sills and trim. Adhesive foam strips and door sweeps block jamb and threshold leaks nicely while flexible rubber gaskets fit along the rest. Mind the gaps around outdoor faucets, pipes, wires and recessed lights too.

    Handled in a single weekend, applying basic sealing materials results in immediately improved comfort from stopped drafts. Then over months of lowered air exchange with outdoors, your heating/cooling system works less to maintain desired indoor temperatures cutting usage and bills by 10% or more. For older 2-3 story houses, the savings may approach 30% annually. Cooler summers and warmer winters bolster quality of life as the fast payback delivers years of free comfort and energy savings from a tiny initial investment.

    While daunting in scope, sealing a drafty home can pay remarkable dividends in improved comfort and affordable temperatures using much less energy. Mitigating air infiltration provides one of the most cost-effective efficiency returns on investment while making homes tighter and easier to heat and cool for years after the work completes. If your indoor comfort constantly struggles against drafts, sealing air leaks should be your first efficiency priority.

  • Will running fewer and fuller loads cut laundry costs?

    Doing larger yet fewer laundry cycles per week can cut associated energy, water and detergent costs by making your machines operate at their designed efficiency sweet spot more often.

    Washing machines perform best in both cleaning power and cost savings when filled to around 3/4 of total capacity, typically in the 5-6 pound range for standard models based on Department of Energy testing. Likewise, clothes dryers work most efficiently moisture removal and energy conservation with an average load size around this 5-6 pound mark per cycle based on dryer drum capacities. Too few garments leads to imbalance and friction, wearing clothes and machines unduly over years while using more resources inefficiently per piece cleaned.

    Yet consumer studies show most households run almost double the less efficient small loads versus properly filled larger batches. Over 80% of washers cycles contain just a few pounds wasting water and electricity rather than maximizing operational efficiency inherent when optimally loaded. But taking a small bit of planning to accumulate enough dirty clothes for a respectable sized wash load pays back that diligence each time with lowered utility usage and detergent needs for the same or better cleaning results.

    When replacing aging laundry machines, take note that larger 4.5+ cubic foot drum front-loading washers with matching higher capacity dryers allow even bigger per cycle loads for maximized per-piece resource conservation. Over years, the incremental savings per wash amplifies to hundreds of dollars less in water, power, and detergent bills even as fewer cycles complete the same quantity of fresh clothing.

    In the end, a small commitment to gather and complete reasonably full loads leads to enhanced appliance performance using fewer resources thanks to improved efficiency. Unless you need an item cleaned immediately, letting it wait a short while to build a properly sized wash saves energy, deters waste, and amplifies the efficiency designed into your laundry machines with each cycle. Give it a try!

  • Can smart power strips help reduce stand-by energy waste?

    Using advanced power strips translates to slashing idle energy drainage also known as “vampire” loads across entertainment systems, computer gear, and other electronics leading to significant cost savings.

    Even when powered off, most electronic devices continue leaking small amounts of current leading to vampire standby loads from the internal clocks, remote controls, indicator lights, and continuous low-level functioning that allow modern gadgets the convenience of instant-on readiness when activated. In aggregate, leakage from dozens of appliances can exceed over 10% of household electric consumption or hundreds of dollars yearly.

    Smart power strips combat this waste intelligently using automatic shutoff features to cut power off completely to specific outlets when a master device like a TV or computer goes inactive or turns off, typically sensed by current drops. This allows peripherals like DVD players, game consoles, speakers, printers and modems to get powered down in sync completely rather than lingering on sucking current 24/7 in standby status.

    Simply plugging in devices systematically to designated master/slave outlets removes the tedious manual effort of turning every single device on and off independently. Initial setup leads to automated downstream coordination kicking in daily maximizing vampire load savings to pay back strip costs rapidly through monthly electric bill reductions.

    Consumer tests show typical smart power strips save 15-20% off home entertainment setups like TVs/BluRay players/streaming devices, and up to 30% on computer workstation configurations with accessories by cutting phantom loads automatically. With most premium options paying for themselves in energy savings in less than 12 months, smart strips provide future-forward functionality to curb home energy waste through unobtrusive automation and clever outlet ganging. Even basic timers work well, just with less dynamism optimizing savings during complex usage.

    Any home with more than a half dozen plugged in devices benefits from strategically installing advanced power strips throughout. The set and forget vampire hunting approach delights technophiles while saving enough annually to please budget focused households too.


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