Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Household Energy Gobblers

November 15, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog

Tips for Identifying and Eliminating Energy Thieves

Drastic seasonal changes always make us mindful of our energy bills, whether for cooling or heating. Are you also aware of the many energy thieves that are lurking in your home? While they won’t appear as menacing as this fellow above, these thieves can slowly gobble power and increase your costs. An average home can incur costs from $100-150 a year due to these drainers. Here is a list of some of these thieves, tips for eliminating them, and a few reminders for increasing efficiencies in your home:

We have many rechargeable items in our homes, and tend to keep the power cords plugged in when not in use. But they continue to use power! Instead, use a power strip as a charging station, and plug all of your rechargeable items such as cell phones, cameras, and laptops into it. This will enable you to easily turn off the power strip when you’re not charging anything.

Small appliances. Even while in the OFF mode, most small appliances are truly only in standby mode, and continue to use power. Look for any items with a clock, like radios, microwave ovens, coffeemakers, DVD/VCR’s, cable & satellite boxes and TVs. Unplug these appliances when not in use, especially when you’re going to be out of town for a while.

Desktop computers. If you can turn it off when not in use, do so. It is a top user of power when on and not in use. If you have to keep it on, set it to go into sleep mode when idle. It will also help if you update to a more efficient power supply. And, if you don’t need a high-end video card, don’t install one. They continue to draw 20+ watts of power in the idle mode.

Space heaters use a LOT of wattage, but are a good alternative to using your heating system. If you don’t need to (or want to) run the heatingsystem for your whole house, opt for using a space heater when and where you need it, just don’t combine both.

Run your washing machine with cold water as often as possible to eliminate heating the water.  Run your dryer on the “no heat” cycle when drying delicate items and other clothing made of thin fabric.

Insulation and weatherstripping. If you’re not sure what type of insulation you have or if you feel it is adequate, and if you think you have deteriorating weatherstripping, hire a fix-it professional to come in and look at these items. You can lose an enormous amount of heating or cooling due to these two items.  Adding or changing weatherstripping alone can reduce your heating/cooling bill by as much as 30%. If you have an 1/8 inch gap all the way around a door, you will lose as much energy as if you had a six inch square hole right in the middle of it. Take necessary precautions.

Single pane windows provide little protection against heat and cold, and put a strain on your HVAC system. Consider upgrading to energy efficient, double pane windows to reduce heating and cooling costs. You can get them with a low-e (for emissivity) coating. Depending upon the region in which you live, this coating will either be on the outside of the pane to reduce incoming heat or on the inside, to keep heat in. Make sure you know which one you’re getting when you purchase or order.

HVAC units, refrigerators, deep freezers are lumped together because these units, if particularly old and outdated, are going to be terribly inefficient and, therefore, create a load on your energy bill. As proud as we are of an appliance that has lasted for so many years, the costs to you in energy may not be worth it. You should especially have your HVAC units checked annually to ensure they are still running efficiently. New models are highly efficient and DO make a noticeable difference in your monthly and annual costs.

As a reminder, keep the coils behind your refrigerator clean to increase efficiency.  We all know we need to do this, but…do we?  Put a monthly reminder in your calendar to manage this task…at the same time that you’re replacing your HVAC filters.

Keep frozen jugs of water in your freezer to help keep it cold all year long.

The only gobbler you should be aware of this month is the one that may be on your table on Thanksgiving Day! Stop your energy gobblers and reap the benefits.

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