Where to find energy savings in every room of your home – Part One
We all know following good energy-saving practices may help to lower our electricity bills and have environmental benefits. However, many of us think of energy efficiency as a huge investment of time and money, limited to major home upgrades such as replacing older windows and doors.
The truth is each room in the house has several opportunities for electricity savings – many of which can be unlocked through simple steps and routines that can easily be incorporated into our daily lives.
In the kitchen
As the U.S. Energy Department noted, our majors appliances are big-time energy guzzlers, accounting for about 13 percent of the home's electricity use. To save on energy in your kitchen, start by improving the efficiency of your dishwasher and refrigerator.
For one, you can keep your fridge well-maintained by cleaning the seals around the door and replacing as needed. Additionally, you should remove dust and dirt from the condenser coils at least once a year. Both these steps will make it easier for the unit to maintain a consistent temperature, lowering the strain on the motor and the amount of electricity it pulls.
For your dishwasher, the Energy Department suggests skipping the drying cycle and allowing dishes to air dry instead. You can also avoid washing partially full loads, as the washer will pull the same amount of energy regardless of how many dishes you're washing.
For the laundry room
If your washing machine is older, you can unlock some energy savings by upgrading. A washer with an Energy Star label will use about 25 percent less energy than machines without this certification. If you can't swap out your machine right now, don't worry. The Energy Department noted washing your clothes in cold water, using the appropriate water level and only washing full loads can all cut down on electricity use.
As with your other appliances, properly maintaining your washer and dryer will also save energy. Check the filters in both machines regularly. In the case of the dryer, you'll want to clear the lint filter with each use, but also periodically check the vent. Not only can a blocked vent make the machine run inefficiently, it is also a fire hazard.
For even more energy savings, consider letting your clothes dry in the sun instead of the dryer when possible.
In the family room
As the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy noted, 10 to 15 percent of all energy use in the average American home is linked to electronic devices, especially those used for home entertainment. A simple way to save energy is to make sure you turn these devices completely off when not in use. Stand-by, hibernate and low-power modes will still pull energy. In fact, the ACEEE found, DVRs and digital cable boxes use the same amount of energy whether in active use or passive stand-by mode. Keeping your home entertainment systems and other electronic devices plugged into a power strip with an on/off switch will help you to easily turn off multiple items with one motion.