You’ve heard it time and time again: Save energy! But why should you take extra steps to save energy in your everyday life? Well, it’s simple: Unless you have a 100% renewable energy plan, you’re emitting greenhouse gases when you consume electricity so cutting back on your usage helps reduce the carbon emissions you release into the environment.
The second — and more obvious — reason to cut back your energy use is to save money! The less energy you use in your daily life, the less money you are spending every month on your electricity bill. It’s a win-win for you and the planet!
Start by implementing these five easy things you can do around your house to cut back your energy consumption (and save you some real bucks!).
The easiest step of the five, this involves unplugging items around your house that are not in use. Even when an object is plugged in but not being used it is still using energy and costing you money. Save on your energy bill by unplugging items like these:
- Coffee machine
- Toasters or blenders
- Stereos or speakers
- Television consoles
Consider investing in power strips around your house for a quick and efficient way to turn off power to your appliances not being used without having to individually unplug each one.
2. Use Cold Water to Wash Clothes and Other Laundry Tips
There are several benefits to washing your clothes in cold water. Not only is it gentler on your clothes, but a huge chunk of energy goes into heating water for loads of laundry, so by washing on a cold or lukewarm setting, you cut the energy usage down substantially.
You can take it a step further and use the high speed or extended spin cycle on your load of laundry to get out as much moisture as possible before putting your clothes in the dryer. This will cut down on dryer time and energy used.1
Lastly, try to do a full load of laundry every time. If you have to do a small load, make sure you change the load size setting on your washing machine to small or extra small.
3. Replace Your Light Bulbs with LEDs
Replacing the light bulbs around your house to energy-efficient light bulbs is one of the more important steps to saving energy around your house. The average household has a total of 45 light bulbs, which can quickly add up on your energy bill if you aren’t using efficient light bulbs. Most energy-efficient light bulbs on the market save an average of 75% more energy than standard incandescent bulbs — not to mention that they last for years. That means you won’t have to replace your bulbs as often, which saves you money and cuts down on the amount of non-recyclable waste you produce.
A traditional 60 watt bulb found in your bathroom would cost you about $5 yearly if you kept it on for 2 hours a day, while an equivalent LED bulb only cost about $1 per year.2 Now, multiply that by 44 other light bulbs you have in your home. The solution is clear, replace your light bulbs and save some big bucks.
4. Adjust Your Thermostat
Your thermostat is the source of some of your biggest energy eaters – the air conditioning and heating system. An easy tip to stick to that you can implement right away is to adjust your thermostat two degrees when you are not home. In the summer, adjust your thermostat two degrees warmer and in the winter, adjust it two degrees cooler. If you want to take it a step further, adjust your thermostat by five degrees, either warmer or cooler, when you aren’t home.
If you don’t want to worry about having to remember to make these adjustments, you can also replace your home thermostat with a smart thermostat. With a WiFi-enabled smart thermostat, your thermostat will automatically adjust your heating and cooling temperature setting for optimal performance. According to the Department of Energy, smart thermostats “that earn the ENERGY STAR label have been independently certified, based on actual field data, to deliver energy savings.”1
5. Change Your Air Filter Regularly
While an obvious step, step number five often gets pushed aside when it comes to household chores. If you have a dirty air filter, it will cause the air to move slower, thus making the system work harder to keep your house warm or cool. 3
A clean filter will also prevent dust from building up in the system – leading to maintenance issues or a system failure. At a minimum, change your air filter every three months, but if you notice it starting to get dirty sooner than three months, it is beneficial to change it more frequently.
By taking the time to implement these five easy steps into your everyday routine, you can save energy and save money. With actions as easy as these, why wouldn’t you?