As the price of electricity continues to go up, more and more people are looking at ways to use less energy, to not only save money on their utility bills, but also to save the environment. Here's seven smart tips on saving electricity which you can start using today.
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1. Choose CFL bulbs over incandescents
Although at first glance CFL bulbs can seem a more expensive option, using CFL bulbs has been shown to offer savings of up to $35 per bulb over its lifetime. While one CFL bulb will provide 10,000 hours of light and cost the relatively small sum of just over $10 in electricity charges, you'd have to use 7 incandescent bulbs to get the same output, plus the cost of electricity would be almost $50.
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And if you stock up on CFL light bulbs when on sale, you'll save even more in the long run!
2. Install motion sensor switches
Are you guilty of leaving lights on when you're not in a room? Installing motion sensor switches could save you up to $100 per year as they'll turn off your lights when you're not in the room. Worried that the lights will be going on and off as you sleep? Some sensors need to be manually turned on, so they won't spring into action every time you move.
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3. Buy energy efficient appliances
If it's time to replace an appliance always look for those with an Energy Star label, so you can be sure that your new appliance will meet certain energy-efficiency guidelines. As the average household spends approximately $2000 per year on energy bills, an appliance with an Energy Star label can have a dramatic effect on this sum.
If you can't afford to invest in energy efficient appliances, consider financing your appliance purchase, but check out the interest rates as you don't want the interest to be more than your energy savings.
4. Give your air conditioner an overhaul
Over half of our annual energy bill is consumed by heating and cooling our homes, so make sure that your air conditioner has regular servicing. Try not to place them in direct sunlight and ensure that the airflow isn't impeded in any way. If your unit needs replacing, be sure to look for one with an Energy Star label.
5. Turn off appliances and electronics when you're not using them
According to the Department of Energy, 75% of the electricity consumed by home electronics happens when we're not actually using them, so you should always unplug them when they're not in use. Many people worry that they're going to lose their settings if they turn them off at the plug and prefer to leave them on standby. However, inbuilt memory chips ensure this doesn't happen.
6. Install smart metering
While smart metering programs may vary according to the utility company, the premise behind it is basically the same. A ‘smart' meter is installed in your property, which has the ability to track how much electricity you are using in order to make sure that the power grid doesn't become overloaded. But how does this benefit you? Some companies will pay you for signing up while others allow you to view your usage in real time so you can manage your consumption. Other utility companies give you the option of choosing a tariff where you pay less for ‘off-peak' electricity. Check with your local company to find out what they have on offer in your area.
7. Clean your refrigerator
We're not just talking about the inside! Your refrigerator uses more electricity than the total of all the other appliances in your kitchen. To keep it running smoothly you should ensure that the coils are cleaned twice a year; this will improve its efficiency by up to 50%. Refrigerators and freezers are also more efficient when they're full. If you can't fill them with food, put water containers in the fridge and ice bags in the freezer. Also ensure that the seals are still tight and that the temperature is at a constant setting of 35-38 degrees for the fridge, and 1-5 degrees F for the freezer.