Managing to keep energy costs low while still being comfortable in your home can be very challenging in the hottest and coldest months of the year. Luckily, there are a number of things that you can do that are free, environmentally friendly, and comfortable too. Here are 5 easy things that you should be doing in your home that will make a real impact on the environment while saving you money in the process:
Unplug your electronics
Electronics still consume electricity even when they are turned off. When you aren’t using smaller electronics such as coffee makers, toasters, gaming systems, or phone chargers, unplug them or get a power strip and switch it to OFF (3).
Run your washer with cold or warm water
90% of the energy your washer uses is heating the water it is using (1). Along with this, the hot water does not provide many advantages over the cold alternative. This means you could be getting the same results you currently do while saving money and the environment! So unless the batch is particularly dirty, choosing the cold or warm option on your washing machine can save you a lot of money in energy costs over time.
Avoid putting uncovered food or drink in the refrigerator
When left uncovered, food and drink products release moisture into your unit which causes the machine to work harder and consume more electricity in order to stay cold (1). Cover items with plastic wrap or in plastic containers to prevent this.
Be smart with water use
It is important to monitor water usage when considering how to be more energy efficient. For example, turning off water for just a few seconds during small tasks like brushing your teeth or shaving can make a difference. Even further, you can save over 40 gallons of water every time you opt for a shower instead of a bath. Another important tip is to never run just a “half load” of laundry. Your washing machine uses the same amount of water regardless so washing only full loads will help you be the most efficient you possibly can (2).
Allow natural sunlight to do what it does best… or don’t
The shades in your home can act as an additional programmable thermostat for you and your family. On a cold but sunny day, open up your shades as much as you can to let in natural sunlight. This will help heat your home organically and, as a bonus, the extra sunlight lets you save on electricity too. On warmer days, closing the shades will keep your house cooler and give your A/C a break. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) says that white-plastic curtains have the potential to reduce additional heat intake in a home by 33 percent.