You will agree with me that electricity costs are very high and from the look of things, it is still going up day by day. Considering we can’t do without it, it is clever that you find ways to bring down the costs especially in these hard economic times. Today, we are going to share with you some tried and tested tips on how to reduce your electricity costs. So, without further ado, let’s get down to business.
1. Put an End to all Vampire Loads
There’s a common notion that as long as you have switched off appliances, no electricity is consumed. We often leave TVs, decoders, radios, chargers and several other kitchen appliances plugged in thinking no energy is consumed. This is very wrong as there will be some lost electricity known as ‘vampire’ or ‘phantom’ electricity. The big deal is that we have our own opinion on what a significant electricity loss is. However, one thing remains constant; a loss is a loss and in as much as you are losing a small amount of energy on every plugged in device, it might be a huge amount for an average house with 10 appliances plugged in. For this reason, make sure you unplug appliances like chargers, consoles, DVD players, washing machines and other household goods that are in idle mode.
2. Move away from Incandescent Bulbs
Using LED and CFL bulbs as opposed to incandescent bulbs is one of the surest and instant ways through which you can save on electricity usage. LED bulbs use 90% of what incandescent bulbs use while CFL bulbs use 70%. So, from the fact that you will be saving up to 30% on every bulb, this is a great idea that will help you save on energy bills. The best way to switch to these bulbs without breaking the bank is by replacing burnt out incandescent bulbs with LED or CFL bulbs. It is also a good idea because you don’t have a place to take the bulbs you will remove. Make sure that you buy only ENERGY star rated bulbs – there are many fakes that are not energy efficient.
Another advantage of these bulbs is that they have a longer lifespan and can be recycled.
3. Install a Smart Thermostat
On average, around 15% of the electricity cost is for the HVAC system. With this in mind, this is an area where you should chart the way forward on how you will bring down electricity usage. As an HVAC expert, I will tell you for free that Smart thermostats can save you up to 30% of your energy bills; whether gas, electricity or even oil. Even though your regular thermostat works just fine, a Smart thermostat is more accurate and saves more energy because it is more accurate and intelligent. Thermostats like Ecobee3 work with room sensors that detect the exact temperature of each room. Consequently, the thermostat adjusts the heating and cooling systems appropriately based on the temperature of every room and not the average temperature of the house. On the other hand, Nest Learning will adapt to your lifestyle such that it will be adjusting itself automatically depending on your history. A major advantage of Smart thermostats is that they give usage reports so you are able to know where you where you have used electricity efficiently and areas where you need improvement.
Nest and Ecobee are the industry leaders when it comes to Smart thermostats. Here is a great comparison review that will help you choose the best thermostat. Even though Smart thermostats are expensive from a short-term perspective, you can recover the initial cost in just two years, after that, pure savings!
4. Consider Upgrading Old Appliances
With the rising energy costs and more awareness on energy efficiency, new appliances are now optimized to ensure they use lesser energy. A good way to spot such appliances is checking if they are ENERGY star rated. If you are receiving very high electricity bills compared to what others are getting, the culprit may be that old refrigerator, TV or washing machine. For example, a 1990 washing machine is expensive to run by 30% compared to newer models. On the other hand, a 2015 fridge uses 30% less electricity compared to a fridge manufactured in 2000. For those with desktops, I don’t need to reiterate; you can save $11 annually with a laptop or the latest CPUs.
However, this is not an instant solution because it requires quite a huge sum to do an appliance makeover. You can, however, plan for the switch gradually.
5. Practice Efficiency with your Refrigerator
At 13.7%, the refrigerator is the next big electricity user after the HVAC system so you need to make sure you are running it efficiently. First, make sure you are always running it in the right temperature settings. Second, always insist on the 2/3 rule that requires your fridge to be 2/3 full to insulate the fridge. Most importantly, ensure theirs is air circulation both inside the fridge and around it. These are among the many simple efficiency practices that help to cut down electricity usage.
6. Maintenance is Key
Just like a vehicle that will consume more fuel when not serviced, there are several household appliances that will consume more electricity when not serviced. It is important for these appliances and installations to be in good condition for them to run efficiently. One of the installations you should be very keen with is the HVAC system. Make sure you replace filters regularly lest it starts straining to achieve peak performance. The refrigerator is another top electricity consumer that should be checked regularly. Clean the condenser coil at least twice yearly and replace the door seal as needed.
These are not the only tips for reducing your electricity usage. There are lots of other tips that can reduce your electricity consumption. For now, try the above tips and you will witness a reduction in your energy bills. Remember, it may be gradual but in the long run, you will reap the benefits.