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Have you ever wondered what drives your electricity usage through the roof? You get the bill and you’ll either see that you used more or less electricity than the previous period, but the rest is a bit of a mystery.
A detailed breakdown of energy usage by appliance would be nice, but we’re not going to see that on the bill anytime soon. For now, just know that there are typically 5 things that account for the biggest electricity waste. Understand what they are and you’ll find ways to maximize their energy efficiency.
Five things that drive your energy bill up:
- Vampire power – Sorry to be the one to tell you this, but there are vampires in your home. Don’t worry, though, they are the electricity-sucking kind and they can be fixed. According to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, about 10% of your electricity use comes from plugged-in devices that are not in use. Unplug all kitchen appliances that aren’t in use. This includes that fancy KitchenAid blender and the coffee pot. Unplug printers, DVD players and game consoles until you’re ready to use them. And for the love of all that’s energy-saving, unplug your phone chargers when they aren’t in use.
- Standby computers – A computer on standby can also be an electricity vampire if it’s plugged in, but did you know that it can draw power even if it’s unplugged? Any computer or device that is connected to the internet will drive your energy bill up when it’s left on. Turn off your computer instead of putting it on sleep mode or standby.
- Hot water – Most people can save a considerable amount by being more cognizant of their hot water use. Wash your clothes on cold instead of hot, run your dishwasher less often and take shorter showers. In addition, see if you can lower the temperature on your water heater. EnergyStarestimates that you could save over $100 annually by dropping the temperature setting from 140 degrees to 120 degrees.
- Heat – If your heat is electric, this is going to be a large chunk of your electricity bill in the winter months. According to the Alliance to Save Energy, you can save about three percent on heating costs for every degree you lower the thermostat. Also, consider getting a programmable thermostat, so you can set the temperature low while everyone is at work and school.
- Refrigerator – You probably know that your fridge uses more electricity than almost any other appliance. Its sheer size gives this energy-sucker away. But did you know that there’s something you can do about it?
Set the temperature between 35 and 38 degrees Fahrenheit. This will keep your food cold enough without wasting energy. Also, be sure there’s enough room for air to circulate behind the refrigerator. This will keep it running efficiently. You can also try to keep the fridge fully stocked. The more food that’s inside, the less space there is to cool. If you have an older fridge, check the gaskets around the door. Do this by closing the door on a sheet of paper, and then trying to slide the paper out without opening the door. If it slides out easily, you should replace your gaskets.
And finally, keep on those kids to close the fridge door. No more standing with the door open while you decide what to eat.
Now that you have a better idea of where your money is going, you can take measures to reduce your overall electricity bill. Turning off the lights when you’re not in a room is always a good idea, but you’ll get more from your efforts when you focus on these 5 energy-eaters.
This is written by Trevor. Trevor is a freelance writer who focuses on health and wellness, energy, and finance. He enjoys using his talent for words to help educate others. In his free time, you can find him writing for different publications or outside enjoying about any type of fitness activity imaginable.
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