Even if you’re not quite ready to make the investment in energy-efficient home upgrades, there’s still plenty you can do to cut down on your annual energy costs. With energy consumption, sometimes the simplest habits, such as flipping off the light switch when you leave a room, can have the biggest impact. Read on to find out what else you can do to be more responsible with your energy consumption.

Cut the Power

  • Keep unused chargers unplugged. From smartphones to tablets and laptops, our lives are growing increasingly wireless, but all of these devices still need to charge up from time to time. However, unplug the chargers until they’re needed.

  • Unplug electronics and appliances that don’t see everyday use. The stereo in the garage or the television in the guest bedroom will continue to use low levels of electricity even when turned off. Take inventory of all the appliances and electronics in your household, and decide which ones can conveniently stay unplugged.

  • Use power strips to turn off computers and entertainment systems. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, these devices on standby mode can still use the same amount of energy as a 75- or 100-watt lightbulb running continuously.

  • Turn off the lights in unused rooms.

Utilize Energy-Saving Settings

  • In the winter, set your programmable thermostat to remain at 68 degrees and to drop 7 to 10 degrees while you are sleeping or away at work. In the summer, set your programmable thermostat to remain at 78 degrees and to rise 7 to 10 degrees while you’re sleeping or at work. These settings can lower your energy bill by up to ten percent, according to the US Department of Energy.

    NOTE: Resist the urge to adjust or override the temperature on your programmable thermostat, which will force your HVAC system to work overtime. Programmable thermostats typically come in 7-day, 5-2, or 5-1-1 models, so pick a level of flexibility that’s right for your lifestyle.

  • Set the thermostat on your water heater for 120 degrees or lower.

  • Opt for shorter dishwasher cycles, which can handle most everyday kitchen messes.

  • Wash your clothes on cold cycles whenever possible, and don’t overdry your clothes. Use the moisture detector on your dryer, if available, which will turn off the dryer when the clothing inside is dry.

  • Program your computer to enter ‘sleep’ mode after 30 minutes of inactivity. According to ENERGY STAR, proper power management settings on your computer can save up to $50 annually. ENERGY STAR also provides instructions for adjusting the power management settings on various operating systems.

Water Conservation

  • Fix any leaking faucets or running toilets, which can waste gallons of water.

  • Scrape rather than rinse messes off your dishes before placing them in the dishwasher, and only run the dishwasher when it’s full.

  • Wait to wash your clothes until you have a full load of laundry, or lower the water level to an appropriate setting on your washing machine for smaller loads.

  • Limit your showers to ten minutes or less. Baths can require around 70 gallons of water, so opt for a quick shower whenever possible.

  • Make a habit of using less water even in the simplest of tasks. Just turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth can make a big impact on your water usage.

Sticking to energy-saving habits can be tough for one person, let alone a whole household, but the impact on your energy bills and the environment is worth the effort. If you’re ready to take your energy-efficient lifestyle to the next level, you can read our blog article on energy-efficient home upgrades.

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Sources: Daily Finance; ENERGY STAR; National Geographic; Natural Resources Defense Council; US Department of Energy.

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