Nowadays, with the cost of water and electricity skyrocketing, we all want a more efficient home. While advanced products like solar panels can dramatically reduce your energy usage, they are also quite expensive to install.
On the other hand, there are quite a few secret efficiency tips that you can implement today. They aren’t expensive, and will save you a lot of electricity and water. You’ll save both money and the environment.
1. Switch to LED Lights
For the past hundred plus years, homes have utilized incandescent lightbulbs for the bulk of their lighting. Incandescent light bulbs produce a lot of light, and come in a whole host of shapes and sizes. However, compared to LED lights, they use a LOT of electricity.
Light-emitting diodes (LED) lights use more than 75% less energy than their incandescent counterparts, and last roughly 10 times longer. With the average household having lighting comprise of about 15% of their total energy usage, this represents a lot of energy savings.
By just going through your house and replacing all of your incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs, you can save roughly 10%-20% of your monthly power bill. It isn’t a large investment, and your new LED bulbs will last a lot longer than your previous incandescent ones.
2. Install Water Efficient Devices
Similar to the advancements in LED lighting, your appliances and tools that use water in your home no longer need as much water to operate. Older toilets use up to 6 gallons per flush, with newer models using as low as 1.5 gallons per flush. Toilets consume a whopping 35% of total home water usage on average, so reducing your toilets use by 4X will represent some big savings.
If you aren’t quite ready to go out and buy a new toilet, you can try a DIY hack to reduce water usage in the meantime. Remove the top of your toilet tank, and place something in the water area that takes up space, like a brick or two, or several rocks. Every time your toilet refills, it will now take less water to reach the fill line.
Don’t stop with your toilet. Low flow showerheads reduce the amount of water usage, and are relatively inexpensive to buy. You can also add aerators to your sinks to lower the water usage.
By using low flow toilets and showerheads along with faucet aerators, its possible to reduce your water bill by 50%, which means that you’ll be cutting your bill in half. That is a lot of savings for a few simple changes.
3. Limit Your Drying
Anytime you dry something with an appliance, it takes an inordinate amount of power for that appliance to heat up and dry. Some common appliances that you are probably drying is your dryer (obviously) but also your dishwasher. These drying cycles are draining your wallet and, when possible, you want to limit or eliminate them.
Lets face it – it isn’t very practical to stop using your dryer and hang all of your clothes. However, a lot of people aren’t very smart about how they use their dryer, and could be using it a lot more efficiently. Rather than putting your clothes into the dryer, and turning the knob to the max time amount, start measuring how long it takes to dry your clothes.
If you want to get even more advanced, try combining your drying loads into “slow dry” and “quick dry”. For example, jeans and towels can go into the same load, and will require a longer drying period. But, there’s not reason to let you dryer run a long time when you have a bunch of cotton shirts in there.
With your dishwasher, chances are you have more flexibility here. Whenever possible, turn off the Dry setting on your dishwasher cycle, and let your dishes air dry. One great trick is to start your dishwasher at the end of the evening. After washing, they will have all night and into the morning to air dry.
4. Bonus: Know your Time of Use Cycles
Most electricity companies charge more for the electricity you use at certain times of day. For example, during the winter, this is often the evening hours, when everyone is home running all of their appliances. And, during the summer, this is often during the day, when everyone is at work running their air conditioning.
Knowing when your electric company charges more means you can plan around it. Run your heavy-use appliances during the cheaper time periods. And, for chores you can’t do during off-peak hours, consider investing in a more efficient appliance. For example, a stick vacuum can make a suitable replacement to your heavy duty upright vacuum, and uses far less energy.
There are many expensive options that will save you energy, but there are also quite a few cheap and easy tricks. Making your home more efficient will save you money while also saving the environment.