Modern homes come fully equipped with the latest appliances and technology to make our lives more convenient. These devices can save you valuable time normally spent doing household chores. However, if you do not use your home appliances efficiently, you could be costing yourself more in the long run. Although convenient, many of these large appliances consume large amounts of electricity. Here are some tips to help you cut your energy expenses by ensuring you use your home appliances efficiently and adopting environmentally responsible practices at home.
Washer and Dryer Energy Efficiency
Your laundry room is the perfect place to start evaluating your appliances’ energy consumption. Since your washer uses both water and electricity, it is doubly important to use this home appliance efficiently. A few minor adjustments could have a major impact.
First off, make sure you fill your washing machine to capacity. Since it uses the same amount of energy, you can maximize efficiency with full loads. If you do not have enough to fill the drum, then reduce the settings to the appropriate size so you use less water and fewer kilowatts. Furthermore, consumer reports estimate that washing your clothes in cold water actually saves you about $60 each year. In addition to eliminating the electricity required to heat the water, but it also keeps your colors more vibrant.
Although your washing machine requires a lot of energy to run, your dryer is one of the worst culprits of wasted wattage. I have been line drying my clothes for years now for several reasons. Not only is it free, but it is also environmentally friendly. When the weather does not cooperate, I use a drying rack or hang them up. On rainy days, you can use a fan to speed up drying time.
However, if this is not an option for you, there are things you can do to ensure that your dryer is running at its optimum performance settings. First, be sure to run the spin cycle before putting your laundry in the dryer. Also, clean the lint trap between loads so your appliance does not have to work harder than necessary. Additionally, adjusting the heat from the high to the medium setting can actually cut your energy usage in half. You can also take advantage of the residual heat by doing several loads one after another. The dryer is already hot, so it will need less energy to heat up for the next load.
Another way to further save on electricity is through smart sorting practices. Avoid overloading your dryer. Otherwise it will take longer to complete the load. When laundering bulky items, throw in a dryer ball to separate them to help them dry faster. The less time your dryer has to operate, the more money you save.
Like your washing machine and dishwasher, your refrigerator has the same energy consumption no matter how much is in it. So, it makes sense to maximize it by keeping your fridge well stocked. Another way to cut your energy costs is to check that your refrigerator and freezer are set to the recommended temperatures. If they are too cold, it greatly increases their kilowatt consumption.
Manufacturer settings recommend keeping your fridge between 35 and 38 degrees, and your freezer between 0 and 5 degrees. Studies show that lowering the temperature by 10 degrees below these levels can increase energy consumption by 25 percent. Since it runs 24/7 this is one example of how you can use home appliances more efficiently to save on your monthly bills.
Appliances for Cooking
Your oven is another major contributor to high energy bills. To reduce your electric bill, you can turn to other kitchen appliances that require less electricity. Cooking in the microwave reduces energy consumption by 30 to 80% depending on the model. You can also find recipes for your slow cooker, crock pot, or toaster oven. Since they are smaller, they are more efficient than your oven.
However, there are things you can do to make sure not to waste energy when you have to use your oven. For example, cover your pots and pans with a lid when cooking on the stove top. If you cook without a lid, it requires about 60% more energy. Another way to maximize your oven’s energy output is to cook several meals at the same time. Since it is already preheated, it requires less electricity to heat up for each meal. Just like your dryer, you can take advantage of the residual heat to cut your energy costs.
Home Appliance Standby Settings
One way many people waste energy without realizing is by not unplugging appliances and other electronic devices. Even when appliances are switched off, many of them go into standby mode. Though they are not active, they are ready to be instantly reactivated with the touch of a button. Using standby mode still draws power when they are not in use.
Most frequently used electronics like TVs, computers, and gaming consoles usually have standby options. So, it is best to unplug them when you are not using them. Also, don’t leave chargers plugged in once you have finished using them. If you have a difficult time remembering to do this, you can consolidate your electronics and appliances into a single power strip. It is easier to remember and more convenient since you are able to switch off several appliance at once. With the flip of a switch, you are can use several home appliances more efficiently at the same time.
Regular Maintenance of Home Appliances
This last piece of advice may be the most important. Regular maintenance of your home appliances ensure that they are performing at their optimal efficiency. Be sure to clean the coils inside the fridge, empty lint traps, clean dryer hoses, and remove calcium buildup from spray arm inside the dishwasher. Failing to clean them could lead to costly repairs over time.
If you decide to go one step further, you can invest in upgrading your outdated appliances with ones that are more energy efficient. This does not mean you need to go out and buy brand new appliances though. It could be something as simple as replacing old light bulbs with energy efficient ones. Although, if it is time to upgrade your larger home appliances, shop around for ones that are Energy Star certified.