[This is a guest post.]
Wouldn’t it be great to save money by avoiding potential expenses around the house? Well, checking your home’s electrical systems and appliances can help you cut down on your monthly electricity bills, prolong the lifespan of your appliances and help to prevent future expenses.
These tips will help you to do some home maintenance tasks that allow you to save electricity, heat and water. Always keep in mind: safety is of utmost importance when performing these home maintenance tasks. Doing these tasks incorrectly could not only cause injury, but could lead to repair bills or damage to your house. If you are unsure of how to do something, you can always hire a licensed and trained electrician to do it for you.
Outlets and Sockets
Walk through your home and check on all the electrical outlets and sockets. If an outlet becomes overloaded, it has the potential to overheat and trip your circuit breaker. Overloaded outlets can become dangerous and could damage the items that are plugged in. Avoid using outlet strips to be able to plug more appliances or gadgets into a single outlet. You may need to hire an electrician to install another outlet for you to prevent a circuit overload.
To manage electrical use at your outlets, consider the use of a power strip. These can be turned off with the flip of a switch so that the items that are plugged in are not being “energy vampires,” which means using energy to power clocks or lights when they are otherwise not in use.
When cooking, use a microwave if possible. The microwave uses less electricity to warm up foods like soup or for heating water to make tea. On a hot summer day, using the microwave also eases the burden on your air conditioner because it does not heat up the house as much as the oven or stove top.
Only wash full loads in the dishwasher and washing machine. Let the dishes air dry.
If you can hang up your clothes on a clothes line or clothes rack, this saves energy on using the clothes dryer.
Lower the temperature on your water heater to 85 degrees Celsius.
Consider replacing old, inefficient refrigerators, dishwashers and freezers with new models are Energy Star rated, as these can save 30 percent on electricity.
Heating and Cooling Equipment
Your home’s heating and cooling equipment is likely the biggest consumer of energy in your house. Adjust the thermostat or install a programmable unit to lower energy usage while you are away from home. For every degree that you raise the thermostat in the summertime, you can save up to 3 percent on your air conditioning costs.
Remember to check and replace the air filter or use a permanent filter that can be washed and reused. You can also adjust the speed on the air conditioner’s or air handler’s fan to lower costs. If your air conditioner is more than 10 years old, consider an upgrade to an Energy Star rated model with a SEER of at least 14.
Shut off ceiling fans when you are not in the room. It’s a simple, but valuable tip: if you’re not using it, turn it off.
At night during the wintertime, turn down the heat while you sleep. Wearing flannel pajamas, using flannel sheets and a quilt or extra blanket on the bed will keep you comfortable while reducing energy consumption of your furnace.
Gadgets and Lighting
When charging your smartphones, iPads and other gadgets, use an approved charger and plug it into a surge protector for protection against power surges. Be sure to remove your gadgets as soon as they are done charging. Unplugging them from the charger prevents wasted energy. Make sure to shut off TVs and computers, as the stand-by mode still consumes some energy.
Consider updating your home’s lighting: you can easily save up on your electricity bill by adding more natural light to your bathroom or kitchen, for example. Switch to LED bulbs in your lamps and fixtures. These bulbs last for an average of 20 years with typical use and use about 75 to 90 percent less energy than traditional light bulbs.
For all-around electricity savings, sign up for a home energy audit. Your utility company may offer this service at a low cost or for free. You may learn more about insulating your home, sealing air leaks and preventing unwanted heat gain or loss through your home’s windows and doors. Most of these maintenance activities are one-time tasks that yield long-term savings.
About the author:
Jeff E. Brown is a freelance writer, self-taught lifehacking teacher, DIY home improvement specialist, owner of two happy dogs and a barbeque master. He loves learning through experience and writing about all the cool things he has learned since he moved out of a compact apartment into a comfortable house. You can reach him @jeff8rown