It’s hard to imagine how people got by without electricity in their homes. Can you even begin to comprehend the challenges of lighting and heating a home with fire, doing dishes and laundry by hand, and keeping your food cold with blocks of ice that have to be replaced daily? And that’s not even starting on communications technology – with the internet and mobile phones at our disposal, the thought of having to wait days, weeks, or even months for correspondence seems ludicrous. Of course, the unfortunate side effect of having all of these convenient electronics at our disposal is that we have to pay for them. However, you may be paying more than your fair share thanks to a slew of energy hogs in your home. Here are just a few ways to tame the electronic devices that suck up energy day and night and cost you a ton of money in the process.
- Upgrade to Energy Star. Any time you have older appliances you’re likely using a lot more energy than you should be, and this is especially true of your refrigerator, which runs constantly. So if you’re looking for ways to conserve energy, upgrading to modern, Energy Star appliances is a good place to start. However, if you go to EnergyStar.gov you’ll find that the organization endorses all kinds of products, including lighting, electronics and even HVAC equipment, water heaters, and building products like windows, doors, roofing, and more. Using these products can definitely help to make your home more energy efficient.
- Power down. Any time you’re not using computers, monitors, gaming devices, and other electronics in your home, they should be powered down. While many electronics now have power saving modes that are handy if you’re just taking a short break before returning to use them, leaving devices in sleep or hibernate mode for extended periods of time just means you’re drawing power for no real purpose, and needlessly jacking up your electric bill in the process. You might think it’s a hassle to turn electronics on and off, but you stand to save a lot of money by taking a minute to perform this simple function.
- Unplug. Even when some devices are technically turned off, they continue to draw a small amount of “phantom” power. With so many devices in your home, this phantom drain can really start to add up over time. So think about putting your electronics on power strips that require you only to flip a switch to stop additional power usage. And when you plug in mobile devices like laptops, tablets, and cell phones to charge, don’t leave them plugged in and drawing energy well beyond the hour or two it takes to charge them.
- Insulate. It takes a lot of energy to heat and cool your home, especially if you live in a region that experiences weather extremes. And insulation plays a major role in the amount of energy required to regulate your interior temperature. When you have adequate insulation in your walls, attic, and basement, as well as appropriate windows and doors for your climate, you’re going to see energy savings as a result. If you’re not sure where to improve your insulation, hire a home energy auditor to help you.
- Upgrade your HVAC. In case you didn’t know, a heater can be an energy hog, as can an AC unit, so upgrading to energy efficient models could definitely help you to conserve energy. You might also want to use a programmable thermostat and consider switching to insulated ductwork in order to make the most of your system.