Saving Energy is Saving Money
Interested in saving money this holiday season? The Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel (OCC) offers some energy-saving tips so that you can spend less on your utility bills to free up money for gift-giving.
Lighting, heating, cooling, and major appliances account for almost all the energy used in an average home. And the holidays can inflate your bill with increased heating costs, increased appliance use, and additional lighting around your home.
Consider choosing LED instead of traditional incandescent bulbs for holiday lighting. LED lights last longer and only use about 15 percent of the energy of traditional incandescent bulbs.
Switching holiday lighting from incandescent to LED can reduce the cost to power those lights by more than 80 percent.
Another way to save electricity during the holiday season is by turning lighting off when it is not in use. Purchasing a timer or a “smart” plug to automatically turn your holiday lighting on and off can save both time and money. With a Wi-Fi connected smart plug, you can control holiday lighting with your phone or smart speaker.
Reduce heat loss by sealing air leaks around doors and windows. Heat is also lost through bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans, so minimize the amount of time they are in use.
Improve your furnace’s efficiency by replacing air filters every 1-3 months, as noted in the owners’ manual, and tune up your HVAC equipment yearly. Save on heating costs by turning your thermostat back 7-10⁰F when you are away from home. For maximum convenience, invest in a programmable or “smart thermostat.” Keep your thermostat set to 68⁰F during the day and lower at night to save more.
Use layered clothing, heavy blankets, or an electric blanket to stay warm. Seal air leaks and replace air filters every 1-3 months to improve furnace efficiency and save more.
Increase Appliance Efficiency
You can reduce your home’s energy usage and save money by changing how you use your appliances.
Consider cleaning the refrigerator coils every six months, so that the compressor does not have to work as hard.
Additionally, minimize opening the door to keep cold air in. If you currently own two refrigerators, consider eliminating one or unplugging it when not in use.
Updating your refrigerator to meet the new energy efficiency standards will cost around $200 less per year in electricity than those produced in the 1980s. Look for the ENERGYSTAR logo when shopping for any new appliance.
Keeping your water heater temperature at 120⁰F is important to reduce excess heat loss from the tank. Higher temperatures can cause heat loss, while lower temperatures may lead to bacteria build-up. A tankless water heater could be a more energy-efficient choice if you don’t consume much water.
Apart from improving your water heater’s efficiency, you can make some simple changes to reduce hot water usage. Start by repairing leaky faucets and installing energy-efficient showerheads and faucet aerators. To save water, you can also wash full loads in the dishwasher and washing machine. Consider using cold or warm water instead of hot water when doing laundry.
Hosting guests during the holidays can be challenging when trying to conserve energy in the kitchen. Try to bake multiple dishes at once, keep the oven door closed as much as possible, keep oven burners clean, and use the correct size burner for efficiency. Try using a microwave instead of an oven when possible.
Money saving alternatives rather than the oven:
- Slow Cooker
- Air Fryer
- Toaster Oven
- Electric Pressure Cookers/Multicookers
Avoiding Vampire Power
Vampire power is the electricity electronics use when plugged in but not in use, costing about $165 year. Unplug devices with standby mode and use a smart power strip for convenience. This is crucial when on vacation as devices in standby mode can consume a lot of vampire power for an extended period.
For More Information
To learn more about how you can make simple changes to lower your utility bills, please visit www.occ.ohio.gov.
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