The Bad News: The federal government predicts that the price of electricity will continue to rise into 2023.
The Good News: There are simple steps that homeowners can take to lessen their power usage.
Since Griff Electric is always looking for ways to help our customers, we thought this was a good time to share some simple ways to cut electricity costs around the house.
Schools of Thought on Saving Energy
When it comes to cutting your electric bill, there are two ways to approach it. One is you can adopt the mindset of energy conservation. That is, try to limit your current energy consumption and avoid unnecessary usage. Some examples include adding extra blankets to the bed rather than turning on the heat, and unplugging electronics when not using them.
The other mindset focuses on energy efficiency. Make improvements so that your home uses less energy, yet still remains comfortable. Options include investing in a “smart” thermostat that keeps rooms at a consistent temperature or upgrading your appliances to energy-efficient models.
No matter which approach you choose, here are some suggestions to keep dollars in your wallet.
Save Energy with the “Three C’s” Plan
1) Conduct an Energy Audit
An energy audit will tell you how efficient your home is when it comes to using power. Contact your utility company or look for free resources near you. (Residents of Rhode Island and Massachusetts, see if you qualify for RISE’s energy-efficiency program.)
Through an audit, you’ll be able to identify sources of phantom power, which refers to the phenomenon of wasting energy even when devices aren’t actively being used. Some estimates show that up to 75% of energy use is caused by electronics that are turned off or in standby mode.
Make sure to unplug electronics when they’re not in use and resist leaving things on standby. Remember, when you use more, you pay more. Items like the TV, computer, internet router, and kitchen appliances are continually working, even while they’re set to “off.” Connect them to power strips and turn those off when electronics are not in use.
2) Combat Heat Loss
The most important steps to reducing fuel bills are having an efficient heating system in the home and reducing heat loss. Keeping your home at a constant temperature can save energy. Check the insulation in the roof, walls, and around appliances and, if necessary, add or improve it.
There are also simple yet effective ways to lower your hot water bill. Fit your hot water heater with an insulating jacket. This keeps the heater from working too hard to bring up the water temperature. Use foam tubes to insulate exposed pipes around your hot water cylinder and boiler. This will reduce the amount of heat lost and keep your water hot longer.
Lastly, check for drafts around the house. Draft-proofing is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to save energy in any structure. Block any spaces that let cold air in and warm air out. Since drafts enter the house through gaps and cracks, look for visible light around doors and windows and seal them with weather-stripping.
Important Note: make sure not to block or seal any intentional ventilation around items like bathroom fans or fireplaces. Remember, some air needs to flow in and out of a living space to keep it fresh, dry, and healthy.
3) Change to Energy-Efficient Appliances
When it’s time to replace an appliance, consider an energy-efficient model. These are great options for helping you cut electricity costs in the long term. Many Energy Star products are also eligible for rebates and tax credits.
Home appliances that use the most electricity include:
- Wet appliances – Washing machines and dishwashers heat the water they use. This requires a lot of power and makes them energy-hungry.
- Cold appliances – Refrigerators and freezers use power continually. These appliances stay on all the time and require a lot of energy to keep them at a constant temperature.
- Electronics – Laptops, TVs, and gaming consoles all use low levels of electricity when they’re not in use. This adds up gradually, especially if they’re left on 24 hours a day.
- Lighting – Swap out traditional and halogen light bulbs for LED bulbs. This will reduce the amount of energy you use on lamps and holiday decorations. Also, when shopping for new products or replacement lights, check the labels carefully. Since energy-efficient bulbs use fewer watts, it’s best to look at their lumen output.
- Cooking appliances – These include ovens, one-pots, and microwaves. Among these, microwaves are the most efficient because they only heat up the food, not the air in the room.
We hope this list has sparked some ideas of your own. Give us a call if you’d like to customize your home to conserve energy (401) 293-5255.