By Bobbi Peterson
We all have bad habits. Whether it is biting our nails or snacking in between meals, those bad habits can take their toll. You are probably also indulging in bad habits that are costing you money every month, and you might not even know it. These would be all the ways you're upping your energy consumption in wasteful manners.
Much like breaking bad habits, saving money on energy is all about changing behavior. It might also come down to some simple and affordable home DIY projects. First, you have to recognize all the ways you're wasting energy.
- Keeping Water Temperature Too High Do you know what the current setting is for your hot water heater? You should, and it should be 120 degrees. That is just around hundred degrees less than it takes to boil water. That is sufficiently hot enough for all your needs. Lowering that temperature will also significantly reduce your energy bill.
- Heating or Cooling Unoccupied Rooms Isn't it nice to walk through every room in your house to find them cool in the summer and warm in the winter? You shouldn't be doing that. Why are you heating rooms no one is using? A quick fix is to make sure you're closing the vents on your HVAC system in those rooms not in use. That will redirect the warm/cool air. The other proactive step you can take is to install a programmable thermostat. This can be programmed to turn on your HVAC upon arrival (or a few minutes before) and turn it down or off during the night. That is a lot better than running those systems 24/7.
- Washing Partial Loads This applies to your dishwasher and your clothes washer. Your dishwasher uses around 1800 watts per hour. It also uses up a lot of heat to dry those dishes. If those dishes are going to sit in that unit for awhile before you unload them, then why not let them dry on their own? Too many spots on glasses? Try a rinsing agent that will take care of that. As for the clothes washer, you're using energy and water for every load. Get the maximum benefit by making sure you've got a full load every time.
- Staring at an Open Refrigerator Is your refrigerator running? You better catch it. At the very least, you shouldn't stare at an open door. What happens every time you open that fridge door is warm air blasts into all your cool food. When you close it up again, the fridge kicks into overdrive in an attempt to cool things down as quickly as possible. That uses up energy and wears down the machine. Maybe it's time to organize your fridge so you know exactly where all the things you want to eat will be found.
- Using Power During Peak Hours Most power companies offer discounts for off-hour usage. This is really to protect them. They know in the summer months, everyone will be cranking up the AC during the day, and that is when the most strain occurs. It's also when they can charge more for usage. Add in the dishwasher, dryer, and other appliances, and you're operating at expensive peak time. Check with your power company. If you can wait until dark to do the dishes or your laundry, then you might come out ahead.
- Using Older Appliances When it comes to appliances, nothing is made to last forever. If you're looking for an excuse to swap out the old microwave or stove, then consider energy efficiency. Your appliances should be Energy Star rated. As an added bonus, you might discover that swapping out those appliances can help around tax time. Switching to energy-efficient appliances and other home upgrades can result in energy tax credits.
- Staying Plugged In Did you know any device you keep plugged into an outlet is using up power even if it you're not using it? Things such as televisions, printers, monitors, computers and microwaves are all essentially on "standby" waiting for you to bring them to life. As such, they are absorbing power. Time to get unplugged, and that includes the phone chargers!
When you add up all the money you spend with all those bad energy habits, you could be looking a decent amount of cash flying out of your pocket and toward the power company. Wouldn't you like to reverse that trend?
Featured image credit: Nils Vik, courtesy Flickr