Even though many countries have been pushing to switch the majority of their power generation to renewable energy sources, many power plants still burn fossil fuels. This is a particular concern because scientists have warned that we could have less than a decade left to reverse climate change before it is too late. Using less electricity is one of the steps you can take to help the environment. As a bonus, it can also save you money. Fortunately, there are many ways you can cut down on your electricity use.
1. Install Solar Panels
Solar power has long been touted as an eco-friendly alternative to burning fossil fuels. With electricity prices on the rise, many consumers are turning to solar panels as a way to break their dependence on the power company. Purchasing and installing the panels requires an upfront investment, but with most panels lasting 25 years or more, you should be able to recoup the investment in energy savings long before you need to replace your panels.
2. Reduce Your Use of Artificial Light
You might remember your parents harassing you about turning off the lights when you were a kid. Turns out that you should actually take their advice. Turn off any lights that you aren’t using. During the daytime, take advantage of natural lighting instead of using artificial lights. Use table lamps, under counter lights, and track lighting instead of ceiling lights. Swap out your incandescent bulbs for energy-efficient LEDs.
3. Use Less Hot Water
Heating water is one of the tasks that consume the most electricity in the average household. Reduce your hot water usage by taking shorter and less frequent showers. Don’t leave the water running while you are washing your hands, brushing your teeth, or shaving. If your faucet is leaking, get the leak fixed. Consider replacing your water heater with a more energy-efficient tankless model.
4. Upgrade Your Electronics
Manufacturers have continued to make electronics more energy-efficient. If you are running an older TV or computer monitor, upgrade to a newer model. Laptops use less electricity than desktops, so consider recycling your desktop and using a laptop instead. Electronics draw a small amount of power even when they are turned off, so unplug your electronics when you aren’t using them.
5. Adjust Your Thermostat
Heating and cooling is the largest electricity user in most homes. Set your thermostat to the warmest temperature you can be comfortable at in the summer and the coolest in the winter. Adjust it so that the HVAC system doesn’t need to run as much when you are asleep or not at home. You can install a programmable thermostat to automatically make these adjustments for you.
6. Reduce Heat During the Summer
Use window coverings to block the afternoon sun. Avoid cooking, or cook outdoors. Use a microwave, toaster oven, or crockpot instead of your conventional oven. Hang your laundry on a line outside to dry instead of running the dryer. When you do run the dryer, toss in a dry towel to reduce drying times.
7. Green Up Your Laundry
Wash your laundry in cold water and only run full loads. If you are using an older model washing machine, consider switching to a high-efficiency model.
8. Adjust Your Refrigerator
Set the temperature on your refrigerator to between 2°C and 3°C and set your freezer at -18°C. If you are running a second fridge, stop using it. If your fridge is out of date, consider purchasing a newer, more efficient model.
9. Air-Dry Your Dishes
Crack your dishwasher door to let your dishes air-dry, instead of running the heat-dry cycle. Or, if your dishwasher has an air-dry setting, choose that. This can reduce the amount of high electricity price energy your dishwasher uses by 15 to 50 percent.
10. Fix Your Air Ducts
If your air ducts have clogs, holes, or leaks, they could be reducing the efficiency of your HVAC system by as much as 20 percent. Get your ducts inspected and have any issues repaired.
Cutting back on your electricity use is good for the environment and your wallet. Combining all of these small changes can add up to hundreds of dollars in savings per year.