With energy prices around the world rising out of control, the biggest worry for households this winter is paying the energy bills. In this article, we’re going to talk about how to make sure you’re not overpaying for energy, with 6 simple tricks to reduce your energy footprint, and save on energy. So let’s get started!
Know your Footprint
First off, it’s important to understand how people consume energy, and what costs us the most. When I was a kid, my parents used to tell us to turn off the TV to save on energy, but these days, those devices use relatively less energy than almost any other appliance. Knowing where to cut back is just as important as actually reducing your usage.
So here are some simple stats, and these work for both electric and gas powered appliances. These are averages, and may be different depending on things like the size of the home and the state of your weatherproofing, as well as where you live.
~ 50% Heating and Cooling
~ 15% Water Heating
~ 10% Lighting
~ 15% Kitchen Appliances
~ 5% Washer/Dryer
~ 5% Everything Else (TV, Cable Box, Phone, etc)
As you can see, heating and cooling are always the lion’s share. Combined with water heating, nearly 2/3rds of your energy goes to heating. This is good news, because by setting your thermostat down by only a few degrees, you can drastically reduce your energy usage. This may be the year to invest in a thermostat with timers, if you don’t have one already. A huge amount of wasted energy comes from heating that’s left on when the owners aren’t home.
Depending on where you’re from, you may be used to cranking the heat all the way up and walking around at home in very little, or nothing at all. But this is a recipe for higher energy bills. You can head this off by just dressing a bit warmer. Wear sweats and a jumper in the house, and wear pajamas to bed.
Service Your Appliances
One of the things that drastically impacts your energy usage is inefficient old appliances. In particular, a water heater or refrigerator that hasn’t been serviced may consume up to 25% more energy than it needs to. So service those appliances! You’ll thank yourself later.
Make Sure Your Home is Weatherproof
A huge problem in many homes is weatherproofing. Simply installing weatherproof flashing or re-caulking your doors and windows can improve your home’s energy efficiency overnight.
To check for air leaks, turn on the blowers on your heating system, or a large fan, and then light a match or incense stick, and hold it near the doors and windows you’d like to check. If the smoke finds its way through the cracks in a window or door, you’ve located a source of energy loss that you can probably fix.
Use the Microwave When Possible
If you have a choice between using the microwave or the oven to heat something, such as a premade dinner or leftovers, pop that food into the microwave rather than the oven. The simple fact is that microwave ovens are many times more efficient than traditional gas or electric ovens, because virtually all of the energy a microwave generates goes directly to heating the food.
A huge expense for many homes is hot water heating. Especially if you’re using electric water heaters, your water heating is a huge energy suck. You can cut down massively on expenses by keeping your showers under 5 minutes. Not only is this better for the environment, but it also saves a load of money.
If you have showers at work or the gym, why not stop by on the way home to take a nice long, hot shower on someone else’s dime? We won’t tell anyone.