January 10 is National Cut Your Energy Costs Day, and we want to help you kick off the new year with some money-saving tips that will double as a carbon-footprint reducer. The following electricity-saving “hacks” are simple and easy to complete on your own without hiring outside help! Adopt some or all of these habits, and you are sure to see some pleasing results.
Heating and Cooling
Bump the temperature up in the summer and down in the winter when you will be away from home for several consecutive hours. (The same applies for extended vacations away from home.) If you do not already practice this energy-saving technique, you may have been dissuaded by “valve theory,” the notion that heating and cooling systems must work harder to rise or fall when there is a sizable gap between current and desired temperature. This theory holds no scientific basis, so feel free to move that thermostat, liberally!
HVAC systems expel extra energy when they have to push air through a dirty filter, so be sure to change your HVAC filter often to keep it running smoothly. This tip especially applies to pet owners, as fur and dander can speed up the lifespan of a filter. Frequently changing your air filter will also help anyone in the household who struggles with allergies.
The sun’s rays increase the temperature of an enclosed building when they are allowed to shine through windows. This can work to either your advantage or disadvantage, depending on the season. Keep the blinds open during winter and closed during summer to make use of the sun’s warm rays.
When planning a vacation, include turning down the temperature of your water heater on the checklist. Any time you plan to be away from home for three days or longer, you may reduce the temperature of your water heater or turn it off entirely.
Reduce the amount of phantom energy used in your home, every day, by unplugging appliances when they are not in use. While some appliances, like your refrigerator, cannot be unplugged without consequence, the average household has 39 other appliances that are easily unpluggable.
While older appliances tend not to expel as much phantom energy as their newer counterparts, the trade-off comes when they are turned on. Consider upgrading your electronics to reduce both your monthly bill and carbon footprint.