There are several ways you can cut down your energy bill all year long.
Homeowners are starting to see a lot more energy-efficient appliances around the house thanks to new technology. According to The Wall Street Journal, in the past, older refrigerators used roughly 1,200 kilowatt-hours of electricity each year, while new energy-efficient models use closer to 400 kilowatt-hours per year. Higher energy costs have forced homeowners into a balancing act to find the best ways to save on their energy bills.
"On one hand, we're told to conserve energy," Catherine Wolfram, faculty director for the Energy Institute at Haas, told the Journal. "On the other hand, we're given lots and lots of opportunity to use energy in different ways."
While energy savings can be accomplished by simply turning off all lights at night, there are more ways to conserve. Here are five tips to save energy around the house:
1. Only wash clothes with cold water
Many people like to wash their clothes with warm water to ensure their clothes are the absolute cleanest. However, unless your clothes are heavily stained or you're washing something such as reusable diapers, hot water isn't needed, the University of Alaska at Fairbanks recommended. In fact, using hot water to wash your clothes can cost you in excess of roughly 40 cents each time you do a load. For example, If you have a large family and wash at least two loads a week, you should waste more than $41 a year on energy costs. Approximately 90 percent of the energy used by washing machines is for heating purposes. Instead, look for cold water washing detergents and switch your clothes washing habits to cold water. Additionally, letting your clothes air dry will also save you on energy costs as well.
2. Switch your light bulbs
Using outdated light bulbs to illuminate your home can waste energy in a hurry. According to the Department of Energy, by replacing your five most-used incandescent light bulbs in your home with LED light light bulbs, you can save more than $75 annually in energy costs. Incandescent light bulbs are being phased out by the U.S. government because they do not meet the nation's energy-saving requirements. However, there are numerous LED light bulbs and LED light fixtures available that help you cost down your energy costs dramatically around the home.
3. Unplug your unused devices
One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make is keeping devices plugged in that don't need constant power. While you want to keep your "every day electronics" plugged in and powered like a television, refrigerator or alarm clock, there are many other devices connected in your home right now that don't need the constant power.
Things such as power tool changers, video game consoles, DVD players, toasters, blenders and other devices you use every so often can all be unplugged. Each one of these devices uses electricity even when you don't have the power turned on. This energy waste is known as vampire power and it can total 10 percent of your monthly energy bill if you're not active about keeping barely used electronics unplugged. According to Consumer Reports, this could save you an estimated $120 a year by cutting your vampire power cords.
"Surge protectors cut down drastically on vampire power."
4. Plug devices into surge protectors
If you have a tough time remembering to unplug your vampire power devices, or if the cords are in a hard to reach spot, try using surge protectors to plug in these devices. While surge protectors will still use some vampire power, it cuts down drastically on vampire power that would be wasted from plugging something directly into the wall.
According to the Department of Energy, using surge protectors could save you more than $100 each year by plugging in your electronic devices through a surge protector instead of directly to the wall. There are several surge protector options that have easy switches to turn off the power and reduce wasted energy as well.
5. Use home electrical timers
Home electrical timers are easily programmable to keep your overall energy costs down when you're away on vacation or working late nights. Digital timers can be programmed to the exact minute when you want a device turned on or off.
Using a timer will help you cut costs in lighting your home by avoiding leaving outdoor lights on all night. Timers make it easy to come home to a lit home without keeping your outdoor light fixtures on throughout the day.
Additionally, many digital light timers offer randomization features, which can make your home appear occupied to keep intruders out while you're away from home. Instead of always leaving a light, you can come home to a well-illuminated home without wasting a ton in energy costs.
By following these tips, you could save hundreds each year on your energy bills.