How Much Power Are You Wasting In Your Home?
8 Ways to Reduce Your Use of Power and Lower Your Electric Bill
Switching to solar power will save you money in the long run, but you can amplify those savings by identifying and fixing all the places in your home where too much power is being used.
In the age of technology, many more things are plugged in and rely on power than ever before. And as a result, your power bill is higher. So let’s look at how much power you’re using, and a few things you can do to reduce your usage and save money.
Where Does All That Power Go?
First, some helpful numbers. The Lawrence Berkeley National Lab found that up to 10% of your home’s power use can come from devices sitting around in standby mode.
Think about all the devices that connect to “the cloud.” All those smart appliances. All the phone charging you and your family do every day and night. The more devices you plug in, the more power you use. Pretty simple concept, but it’s something to think about if you’re serious about reducing your power bills and using less energy.
Here are some estimates for how much power your biggest electricity users gobble up each month:
- Central Air Conditioner (2 ton): 1450 kWh/month
- Water Heater (4-person household): 310/kWh/month
- Small Refrigerator (17-20 cubic foot): 205 kWh/month
- Dryer: 75 kWh/month
- Oven Range: 58 kWh/month
- Lighting Fixtures for Small 4-5 room household: 50 kWh/month
Did you know that you can customize a solar power battery system to power the things you decide are most important?
If you want more personalized numbers for how much power your actual plugged-in devices use, you can buy a tool from Amazon and get your numbers. You just plug the cord into this tool instead of your wall, and it will record how much power it uses.
Learn more about how many kWH an average home uses.
With that data in hand, you can make decisions about some ways you can cut your power usage.
8 Ways to Reduce How Much Power You’re Using
1. Reconsider Your Lifestyle Choices
Do you need power-hungry, “smart” devices to make your coffee, lock your doors, keep your food cold, and perform other daily tasks, or can you use simpler devices that save you money?
Consider the power these devices require, and the dependence you’re locking yourself into. If saving money (or helping the environment) by using less power is important to you, and you also want these power-hungry features, you have a clash of values, and you’ll have to decide which one matters more to you.
If you choose the “smart” devices, you’ll need to live with the fact that your power bills will be persistently higher than they would have been.
2. Find More Efficiencies
Your dryer uses a lot of power (see numbers above). Your washing machine’s power use depends on the temperature of the water. Both of these also depend on how many clothes you put in each load. If you can put more in each load and your machines still wash and dry your clothes without trouble, you’ll save a lot of power by making this simple adjustment.
Look for other efficiencies like these in your daily power-using tasks.
3. Adjust the Temperatures of Things
First – you can control the temperature in your house. Even heating or cooling your home just one degree more requires substantial energy. Over time, this will add up to a lot of power.
Try living with a little less heat in winter and a little less cool in summer, and you’ll save noticeable amounts of money. Compensate by bundling up a bit more in the winter.
Second – you can control other temperatures, such as your water heater and the water in your washing machine. You can see from above that your water heater is your second greatest user of power. Some water heaters are set to scalding temperatures like 160oF. This is not only dangerous, but unnecessary. You should never need water that hot to come out of your shower or tap.
Most experts recommend lowering this to 120. That single change will save you several dollars every month.
This third option is a bit more risky, but you may also be able to adjust the temperature in your refrigerator. Again – that’s risky though, because you don’t want food to spoil. But some fridges are set on the coldest setting, and you should be able to adjust it a little.
4. Find and Seal Leaks
This could make a profound difference in your power usage, depending on the age and character of your home. It takes a little work, but it’s worth it not just for the money savings, but for your own comfort. What good is it to heat your house up only to have all the heat escape out your leaky windows and doors?
Feel around your windows for cold air in winter (the easiest time to detect a gap). Look for light coming through your door’s edges. If you see or feel any gaps, seal them up.
Here are a couple helpful guides for how to seal up cracks and leaks:
5. Use Less Hot Water
Reducing the temperature in your washing machine hasn’t shown to make any difference in how clean your clothes get. You’ll save money by just using cold or low settings instead of hot or warm.
If you have teenagers this might be tough, but simply taking shorter showers will also yield noticeable savings. The difference between a 15 minute shower and an 8 minute shower is significant in regards to gallons of hot water used. If your shower times are trending long, you’re using a lot of power just for a few extra minutes of toasty comfort.
6. Keep Your Heating and Cooling Systems Maintained
Over time, these become less efficient. The simplest change to make is to change out the air filter regularly. A clogged air filter makes your system work much harder than it needs to just to heat or cool your home, wasting power and costing you money.
And it’s wise to pay for regular maintenance of the unit itself.
7. Easy Stuff
You know this stuff already.
- Stop leaving lights on.
- Turn fans off when no one’s in the room.
- Don’t leave the TV on if no one’s watching.
- Turn your computers off at night.
8. Reduce the Number of Charging Devices
Again, in our tech age, we’ve neglected to consider the costs of all these interconnected devices. Does every person in your family need maxed out smartphones? And laptops? And computers?
These things are power vampires, and smartphones especially, require (at least) daily charging. If you have four or five of these going every night – it’s costing you.
Again, this is a lifestyle decision.
If it’s important to you to have all these, then your next best option is to find more efficient ways of keeping them charged. Solar power offers the cleanest and most economical way of doing this in the long term.
To learn more about using solar power to offset your energy costs, reach out to a solar energy consultant. Or, find out more about how much solar power installation costs and how to pay for solar power.