How to Conserve Electricity: 10 Tips
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Experts warn that we don’t have much time remaining to save the planet from the worst of climate change’s effects. Extreme weather patterns have already caused millions of people to migrate and caused substantial damage. Everyone needs to chip in and do their part, and one way is to conserve electricity.
It all begins at home. Here are ten tips for how to conserve electricity.
The real phantom menace isn’t a Star Wars movie. It’s the vampires lurking around your home. Many small appliances, including toasters and televisions, continue to suck electricity, even if you turn them off.
However, there’s a simple solution — unplug. Invest in power strips if it’s too much to do at once. Such gadgets often provide surge protection, safeguarding your delicate electronics from storms.
2. Go LED
The next time you need to replace a light bulb, budget a bit extra for the replacement bulb. Selecting an energy-efficient LED over an incandescent can save you big money over time. According to the folks at the Energy Department, these models use 90% less energy and last up to 25 times longer. That means more electricity conserved and fewer emissions-producing trips to the store.
There’s another reason to use LEDs — fun. These bulbs come in various colors, letting you set the mood. Why not try a relaxing blue or lavender for bedrooms or liven up a kid’s playroom with sunny green or red? Put an amber bulb out front and on your back patio, as this wavelength won’t attract as many insects and helps prevent light pollution.
3. Program Your Thermostat
If you have an old-fashioned dial thermostat, it’s time for an upgrade. Programming your thermostat can save you 10% a year on your heating and cooling costs if you adjust it seven to ten degrees for eight hours a day.
Here’s how to painlessly save money on heating and cooling:
- Go Up or Down One Degree: Chances are, you won’t notice a single degree of difference. However, every little bit counts — try bumping it up one in summer and down in winter.
- Adjust While You’re Away: Did you have to return to the office? You can somewhat mitigate those fumes from your commute by making a larger adjustment like the seven to ten degrees above while on the clock.
- Keep It Shady: If your air conditioner sits in the hot sun, it affects efficiency. Likewise, placing your thermostat in the sun’s direct rays can cause it to kick off more frequently. Shade these devices.
4. Use Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans won’t take the place of air conditioners, but they can make you feel much cooler during the summer months. You might not need a window or home unit in some locations.
Be sure to set your blades to turn in the right direction. Turn them counterclockwise in the summertime so that the air pushes down, creating a breeze. Reverse the movement in winter to pull warm air from your vents up toward the ceiling and reduce the load on your HVAC.
5. Air-Dry Dishes and Laundry
People washed their clothes and plates long before the advent of dishwashers and dryers. You can return to their more ecological ways.
What if your HOA throws shade on your laundry line — or, worse, threatens a fine? You can find foldable drying racks that you can conceal on your patio. You can even dry your clothes indoors during the winter months, placing them near (but not on top of) heating vents for a refreshingly warm greeting when you exit the shower. The dishes? Get a rack that fits over your sink and let them drip dry.
6. Add Motion Detectors
Do you tend to keep outdoor lights on because of security concerns? While it’s understandable not to want to come home in the dark, you produce considerable light emissions and burn electricity.
Instead, install motion detectors that light up your driveway and front porch when you arrive home in the evening. You’ll also enjoy greater security. It’s far easier to detect an intruder on your front porch if the light only shines upon their approach, giving you ample warning through the window.
7. Install Dimmer Switches
Dimmer switches are another way to save money and electricity while having a bit of fun. You can dim the lights and set the mood for a romantic evening.
Dimmer switches also come in handy if you get frequent headaches but live with a partner who insists on turning on every light. Compromising on a reasonable level is better than an ongoing switch battle.
8. Keep Your Ducts Clean
How often do you change your air filter? If it’s been longer than a few months, it’s time to replace it. The EPA recommends doing so every month or two during the cooling season, although you may need more frequent changes if you have pets or smokers in the home.
9. Think Tiny
It’s one thing to run the oven to make Thanksgiving dinner for the clan. Do you need to do so for everyday meals? In today’s world of exciting small kitchen appliances, the answer is “probably not.”
The right air fryer can make that cold chicken taste fresh out of the fryer while using a fraction of the electricity of baking it. A sous vide machine makes your steaks envy 5-star restaurants, even if they’re budget cuts, and all they need after is a quick brown on the grill. Let’s not forget the magic of Instant Pots for heating those freezer-ready meals you prepped on Saturday.
10. Go Solar
If you own your home, you’re only cheating yourself by not going solar. Your system will likely pay for itself in saved energy bills over time. Plus, you can take advantage of tax breaks if you act now — the federal ones expire in 2024 unless Congress renews them.
Most solar systems connect to the grid. You essentially sell the energy your home produces back to them, resulting in a discount on your bill. You can also set up self-contained systems but be prepared with a powerful backup generator if something goes wrong.
How to Conserve Electricity
The race is on to save the planet. Everyone can contribute by doing their part.
Follow the steps above to conserve electricity at home. You’ll enjoy lower energy bills and the peace of mind that comes with knowing you contributed to halting climate change.
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About the author
Steve is the Managing Editor of Environment.co and regularly contributes articles related to wildlife, biodiversity, and recycling. His passions include wildlife photography and bird watching.