Although the money you pay to utility companies each month may not seem a lot, it might just be what’s keeping you from paying off a debt or going on a vacation. The Department of Energy revealed that the typical family spends an average of $2,200 each year on energy. Tweaking a few things that you’ll barely notice can go a long way into helping you make significant savings.
Below are six ways that can help you save thousands on your energy bills.
1. Buy Energy Efficient Appliances
If you’re replacing your old appliance or one that has broken down, you can reduce your electric bills by buying the most energy-efficient model. Energy efficient appliances are designed to use minimum energy to perform the required task. While most energy efficient models are likely to cost more than their conventional non-energy efficient counterparts, the small amount they’ll save you in monthly energy bills will eventually add up. An energy efficient appliance will reduce your electricity bill for years to come. This makes it a wise investment considering that electricity rates increase every year.
On average, an energy efficient appliance uses anywhere from 10 to 50 percent less energy compared to a non-energy efficient equivalent. This means that if you have an energy efficient fridge, dishwasher, washing machine, and other appliances, you can actually save thousands. An energy efficient refrigerator uses up to 40 percent less energy and can save you more than $50 each year. ENERGY STAR certified washers and dryers uses 40 to 50 percent less energy than the standard models. Energy efficient dishwashers, on the other hand, can save you around $25 a year. When all these and others add up, you’ll realize that you’ll have saved hundreds of dollars.
2. Keep Fridge And Freezer Full
The refrigerator is one of the largest energy consumers in your home. A smart outlet can show you just how much power your fridge is consuming. Luckily, you can reduce the amount of energy that your refrigerator consumes and save some bucks. The key lies in reducing the amount of work the fridge needs to do to cool down the inside and keep it cool. This involves filling up the fridge and packing your goods tightly. Just as you would pack your frozen groceries together to keep them frozen before you get home, the refrigerator functions under the same principles. While the freezer produces its own freezing cold temperature, if frozen foods are packed tightly together, they keep each other cold hence reducing the amount of work the refrigerator needs to do. In addition, some items such as potato and ham salad gather cold and become cold batteries.
Similarly, filling items in the refrigerator reduces the cubic feet of air that the refrigerator needs to cool. Every time you open your fridge, cold air escapes, and warm air enters. Most of the energy used by the freezer goes towards cooling this warm air. When the refrigerator is full, there is less room for warmer air; hence less energy is needed to cool it. Therefore, if you don’t have a lot of food in the fridge, simply putting a few jugs of water in the fridge can make a huge energy difference.
3. Wash Full Loads
If you run your washing machine, your dryer, or your dishwasher with only half a load of dishes or clothes, you’ll be losing out in terms of efficiency. Unfortunately, most people don’t think this can have a significant impact on their energy bill. Well, it can. Even if you run the appliance with small load settings, it still uses most of the energy of a full load.
A small load of clothes uses about 65% to 80% of the energy of a full load of clothes. This means that a full load saves you somewhere between 30% and 60% of the energy that would’ve been used for two small loads. The same principle applies to dishwashers. A single full load of dishes uses more energy than a half load, but less energy than two half loads. Running full loads also saves you time and water. However, do not overload dishes or clothes because overloading reduces the performance of your dishwasher or washing machine. Therefore, read the user manual to see the recommended load.
4. Put Your Food in Early and Turn Your Oven Off Early
Instead of waiting until the oven preheats fully, you can put the food early to get a head start. In fact, some dishes such as vegetables and casseroles don’t need a pre-heated oven. Many food items can start cooking at room temperature, but most baked recipes need a fully heated oven. Some people actually preheat their ovens up to an hour before cooking while all it needs is 10 minutes to preheat to the proper temperature. When the oven heats for an extended period, it wastes a lot of energy. You can also save energy by defrosting foods in the freezer before cooking, so the oven doesn’t have to use more energy bringing the food to room temperature.
Similarly, you can save energy and reduce your electricity bill by turning off the oven before the food is fully cooked and use the residue heat to complete the cooking. The burner continues radiating heat for a short while and the residue heat cooks the remaining part. Generally, a good oven retains the required temperature for up to 10 minutes after switching it off.
5. Buy The Right Size For An Appliance
It’s important to find the right size for appliances such as the refrigerator, oven, dishwasher, and washing machine. You can actually save money, in both the initial cost and operating costs, by buying appliances of the right size. The right size is the one that fits your usage. For instance, you can buy a large washing machine, but if you don’t have enough clothes to fill it, you won’t maximize efficiency. Similarly, you can buy a large dishwasher which is not worth it if you don’t have enough dishes to fill a load.
Choosing an unnecessarily large model or one that offers too many features increases energy uses which means added costs. For instance, water and ice dispensers in refrigerators can increase energy use up to 20 percent. Another feature that can lower a freezer’s efficiency is the auto-defrost feature. Large dishwashers too use more energy and water hence higher electricity bills. Therefore, buy a dishwasher that fits your needs in terms of size and features. A good dishwasher should have an internal water-heater, light-wash cycle, and energy-save feature.
6. Unplug Your appliances
When you turn off an appliance, you may assume that it won’t use any power. However, according to experts, appliances can use a lot of energy on standby mode. Therefore, you’ll be paying for electricity that you don’t even use. The energy cost of an individual appliance left on standby mode is quite small, but it can be significant when it involves a number of appliances. Research shows that standby electricity wastage can add up to about 10% to 20% of your electricity bill.
Leaving your appliances on standby mode can cost you over $100 per year depending on the number of appliances, type of appliance, and their efficiency ratings. Your washing machine, dishwasher, microwave, electric oven, dryer, and other appliances will eat up your electricity and add to your costs. Therefore, unplug appliances from the socket when they’re not in use or at night when you go to sleep. Alternatively, you can install a surge protector or smart power strip which cut power off automatically when the appliances are turned off.
The above ways can help you reduce your household’s energy consumption and thus decrease your energy bill. Therefore, if you can follow all the recommendations, you’ll be able to save thousands on your electricity bills.