Electricity is a utility that we take for granted. There are a lot of places around the world that don’t have good electrical infrastructures and the fact that we only lose power during natural disasters is actually pretty awesome. That said, electricity can also be expensive. In 2012, the average U.S. household uses 903 kilowatts of electricity every year. That’s a lot. Here are some easy hacks to help you save money on energy.
1. INSULATE YOUR WINDOWS
Your windows can be the bane of your existence. During the summer, the heat will come in almost unimpeded and in the winter, the cold will do the same thing. You can fix this! You can create your own plastic window covers or simply use blankets or other items in your house to cover them up. It won’t let as much sunlight in but it will help keep the heat and cold out. These can help save you money on your electricity bill and gas bill because your heating and cooling won’t have to work so hard to keep your house at a comfortable temperature. Another good idea is the draft stopper.
2. PACK YOUR FREEZER MORE TIGHTLY
When you open your freezer, all the freezing cold air is going to come out. That means when you close it the freezer has to produce more and that can get expensive over time. A way to prevent this is to pack your freezer full of stuff. You can do things like bags of ice or even newspaper if you have it laying around. When your freezer is packed, it keeps the cold air in. That means your freezer works less and uses less electricity.
3. AIR DRY YOUR CLOTHS
There really isn’t an efficient way to wash your cloths by hand (nor has there ever been) so telling people to not use a washer is kind of hard to do. Dryers, on the other hand, can be removed from the equation entirely and it’s all good. By air drying your cloths, you’re essentially cutting out all of the electricity that the dryer uses. Dryers use a lot of energy thanks to its heating element and we’re sure the mechanism to spin the drum is using a bunch too. Save money and energy by putting up some cloths lines and hanging up wet cloths to dry.
4. USE COMPACT FLUORESCENT LIGHT BULBS
Light bulbs are among the most energy hungry things people use. They don’t use a lot of electricity on their own. However, when you have half a dozen lights on all day and night, things start adding up. According to Energy Star, compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL bulbs) use up to 75 percent less energy. That means every four days a CFL bulb stays on it uses as much energy as a regular light bulb does for one.
5. TURN OFF YOUR POWER STRIP THAT YOUR ELECTRONICS ARE CONNECTED TO
Even if your electronics are turned off, they’re still sapping energy. They’re called “vampire devices” because they keep a little bit of electricity going so they can respond more quickly to things like being turned back on. By turned off the power strip you effectively cut off all electricity to your electronics so they don’t use electricity without you knowing.
6. WEAR MORE CLOTHS AND TURN DOWN THE HEAT (AND VICE VERSA)
In the winter, put on that hoodie and turn your heat down a few degrees so that your heating doesn’t have to work so hard. Likewise, in the summer, wear less cloths or more flowy cloths so your AC doesn’t have to work so hard. By turning your thermostat up in the summer and down in the winter, you can save literally hundreds of dollars a year in utility expenses. Heating and cooling is easily the most expensive thing in your house if you use them constantly. By turning them down (or off when you can), you’ll save a bunch of money.
7. GET SOLAR PANELS
One of the best ways to save electricity is to produce your own. There are grants available to get solar panels put on your house for cheap or even for free if you qualify. If you get the free panels, they’ll be contributing back to the electric grid and you won’t pay an electric bill at all. If they’re not producing enough, you’ll just use the electric as normal. Harnessing the power of the sun is a great way to save money and go green. If you get them there’s a good chance they’ll also be installed for you so there’s actually very little effort on your part.
8. MANAGE YOUR CEILING FANS
If you use your ceiling fan right you can save a lot of money. When the air blows down, it helps cool the room and keep you comfortable. Using this and turning your AC down you can save money that way. In the winter you turn the fan the other way. Then it pulls cold air up and away to help keep you warm. Admittedly, it’s more effective in the winter than in the summer but every little bit helps, right?
9. PLANT TREES!
According to sources, planting trees near the south and southeastern parts of your house can save you a ton of money every year. During the summer, the sun will beat down on your house which heats it up. With the trees in place, the sun’s harsh rays can’t make it to your house and that helps keep things cooler. It’s been estimated that you can save up to 25 percent during the summer months. Plus, trees look nice.
10. WASH YOUR CLOTHS IN COLD WATER
Our last hack is really easy. Just turn the washer to wash using only cold water. Studies have shown that 90 percent of the energy a washer uses comes from heating up the water to use in the wash. If you wash in cold water you can avoid pretty much all of the energy cost. There aren’t many benefits of using hot water to cold water anyway (unless you have some seriously dirty cloths) so you’re not missing out on much. It’s been estimated that a load of laundry on cold settings cost about $0.03 in energy.
None of these hacks are going to save you all that much money on their own. However, if you combined all of them and keep an eye on the obvious stuff (turn off lights when you leave a room), you can save a pretty substantial amount of money. The most important thing is consistency. If you’re gong to try one of these, keep at it! It doesn’t help if you only do these things once or twice.