There are many easy ways to save energy and money, including unplugging electronics when they’re not in use. Scan each room to find four to five energy wasters in each, and read these tips on how to lower your bill.
Find the Energy Wasters Lurking in Your House
- Give the printer a rest. The printer should be switched off or, better yet, unplugged.
- Ditch the screensaver. According to ENERGY STAR, using the computer’s sleep mode or power management features can save up to $50 a year. If your computer won’t be in use for more than 2 hours, Energy.gov recommends turning it off.
- Get a power strip. Use a power strip and flip the switch to stop power flow when away. Add a smart power strip to control it with a mobile device.
- Who’s being heated? Space heaters can increase energy bills if they’re used at the same time as another heat source or if heating an empty room.
- Charged up? Time to unplug. This rechargeable battery is all loaded up, but it’s still drawing a constant trickle of energy. You can save a little by unplugging chargers when we don’t need them.
- Lights out! This oven light is using energy for no reason. Remember to turn it off when you aren’t using it.
- Coffee’s on. Switch off the coffee maker so you don’t have to pay for it to use electricity all day. For even more savings, unplug.
- Shut that door. An open fridge is a big waste of energy. If it’s popping back open, it may be time to repair to the door seals.
- Fix filthy filters. Say that five times fast. Clean air filters use less energy and reduce the strain on your HVAC system.
- Keep cooled air in. We’re all for fresh air, but open windows are a waste when your heating and cooling system is running.
- Paying to cool the whole neighborhood? The window air conditioning unit is on, and the door of the house is open, letting in warm air.
- Turn off that lamp! Even if there were someone around, there’s plenty of sunlight.
- Turn off electronics. Consider plugging the entertainment system into a power strip and turn off the whole strip to stop the flow of energy.
- Check the thermostat. In summer, we recommend keeping your thermostat at the highest temp comfortable and programming it to turn up a few degrees when you’re away.
- Charging an invisible phone? Many chargers suck energy even when they aren’t connected to a device.
- Flip the switch. See that light in the closet? Make it a habit to flip the switch every time you leave a room.
- Fans cool people, not rooms. Like lights, make a habit of turning off fans when you leave the room.
- Give vents some space. Blocked air vents stress the heating and cooling system. Leave some space around air vents to maximize system performance and minimize energy bills.
- Nix the fan. Exhaust fans are great when there’s steam in the bathroom, but running it long after a shower is a waste.
- These bulbs need an update. Older bulbs use a lot more energy than LED lighting. In fact, according to energy.gov, “widespread use of LED lighting has the greatest potential impact on energy savings in the United States.”
- Shave off some energy waste. Most electric shavers draw energy when they’re plugged in. Pull the plug after your morning routine.
- Unplug the toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes don’t need to charge all day and night. Save energy by only plugging in when the battery is low.
- Hot water hog. Someone left the tap on, which wastes water and the electricity used to heat it.
- Turn it off. If you have trouble remembering to flip the light switch, consider sensors that switch lights on or off based on motion.
- Extra fridge = energy drain. When some people get a new fridge, they set up the old, inefficient one in the garage, but that old fridge can use up to 75 percent more energy than newer models.
- All charged up and nowhere to go. These power tools are fully charged, but they’re still using electricity.
- Watch that temp. Many water heaters are set to 140 degrees by default, but dialing it down to 120 degrees could save 6 to 10 percent on water heating costs.