Sometimes, it feels like battling energy use never ends. One month, the bill is average; the next, it spikes, and you didn’t see it coming. Various factors influence energy use for HVAC, refrigeration, electronics, and your laundry. But don’t go cold turkey on using an appliance or HVAC unit just to save a bit of money. Instead, follow these three hacks to help you save while staying comfortable.
Lower the Temps
Image via Flickr by brendan-c
Every degree lower you go on your heating and washing machine is money you save. The same goes for refrigeration. Lowering the temperature that kicks on the furnace translates into less gas or oil drawn into the unit to heat the home. If you can live with the house at 72 degrees, you can transition yourself to 70 pretty easily. Can’t go that low? Then zone heating is the way to go. Block off vents in unused rooms, close doors, and shunt the heat to the room you spend the most time in.
Refrigerators don’t need to run higher than their recommended setting unless you like your milk almost frozen. Set the temperature where the manufacturer tells you to, and you’ll see instant savings on your next electric bill. The same goes for your freezer, but there’s a freezer lifehack to save energy in the form of packing it tight. Frozen items stuffed in tight also radiate cold, helping the object next to it stay frozen. The freezer cycles less in order to top off the temperature, reducing overall energy draw.
Pull the Plug on Electronics
Do you find that you have unused laptops, tablets, gaming consoles, or even older flat screen TVs that are plugged in but not used? You might think that they don’t draw power, but they do, especially if you’re using a universal power supply to protect them from power outages. You’re creating a constant draw of power even when there’s nothing being used, especially if there’s a battery involved. Batteries lose a little charge and immediately top up once the circuitry realizes there’s a loss.
Install a Programmable Thermostat
This seems as if it should fall under lowering the temps, but a programmable thermostat is more than going up and down a degree or two. Having a smart thermostat allows you to monitor your home temperatures when you’re not there. Going to be away from home longer than you planned? Remotely set the AC unit or furnace to turn on a little later. You come home to comfortable temperatures without spending the money on cooling or heating the home all day long. Fine tuning your temps lets you draw power when you need to and when you don’t instead of a thermostat that turns on when the home temperature reaches a certain point.
These tips are a starting point for you to find ways to cut back your energy usage. Look at everything that draws power, figure out how necessary it is to keep it plugged in, turned on, or turned up, and adjust accordingly to save money.