Have you looked at your utility bill lately and been caught off guard by how much energy you used? Your first reaction might be to turn off lights you aren’t using, but modern lightbulbs probably aren’t the culprit for high electricity usage. Ambit Energy has put together a checklist of eight areas in your home that may be causing you to use more electricity.
Fighting zombies may be all the rage in video games today, but the real battle is against the vampires in your own home. Energy vampires are electronics and appliances we tend to leave plugged in around the clock without thinking twice (think video game consoles, digital coffee pots, phone chargers, etc.). They’re plugged in even when not in use, and they suck energy from your home. You may be using as much as 10 percent more electricity monthly just by leaving these devices plugged in to the outlet.
Reserve your oven for large meals during the holidays or occasions where it’s necessary to cook multiple dishes at one time. Electric ovens require a lot of electricity to heat up to temperature; then during and after cooking it releases heat into your home, causing a need for more air conditioning. Consider cooking meals that you can warm up initially in the microwave and finish cooking in a toaster oven. Crockpots also work well if you’re cooking in stages. Learning to use smaller appliances is a helpful skill because they take sips of your electricity versus using large chunks at one time.
EnergyStar.gov estimates 90 percent of total power used for a load of laundry comes from heating the water. That’s a heavy amount of wattage for just one load. Consider washing in cold water for a few loads and check for any difference in the cleanliness of your clothes coming out of the wash. If you don’t see a major difference, reserve warmer washes for cleaning clothes with oil-based stains.
Heated dry in your dishwasher is sucking your electricity left and right. Simply choose not to use this setting to save energy and money. Although heated dry may prevent spots from appearing on your dishes, you can get the same benefit for a fraction of the cost by using a rinsing agent in the washing cycle.
The ventilation of your home has a huge impact on the amount of energy your home uses when heating and cooling. If you have a central air conditioning and heating system for your home, check to make sure vents are open and allow conditioned air to freely flow in your home. If they’re closed off, your systems may be working harder to get the job done. Every vent, duct and filter should also be cleaned regularly. If the dirt or debris built up is beyond your cleaning ability, or you see mold beginning to form, then it may be necessary to hire a professional air duct cleaning service.
Everyone has old holiday lights tucked away in the basement or attic. Those incandescent, stringed bulbs are driving up your electricity bill every time they’re plugged in, while LEDs use 75-90 percent less energy on average. If it’s been awhile since you bought lights, Look at newer LED lighting options. You’ll get even better, more consistent lighting for a fraction of the cost.
Quite possibly the second most-popular pastime behind baseball, is fridge gazing. It’s tempting to open your fridge and stare into oblivion before deciding what you want to eat. Unfortunately, your electricity bill is also skyrocketing into oblivion, as well, as the cold air seeping out into your kitchen. Think about what you want to eat before going to the refrigerator to prevent having to open and close the doors frequently.