As the cost of electricity is expected to rise over the coming months, everyone is trying to find ways to reduce their energy consumption. Indeed, what was previously seen as the norm has become a luxury — but your standard of living needn’t be affected to compromise.
The fact is, there’s a lot of excess energy being used in most homes which we’re not even aware of. And with a few small adjustments, you can lower your energy consumption and save on your bills. Here, we will take you through 9 ways to save on energy this summer.
Worried about water consumption as well? Check out these 9 ways you could be wasting water and not know it.
Use fans to cool your room
Electric fans are cheaper to power versus your AC running to chill the whole house. Purchase independent fans and strategically place them to create a breeze in each room. Then only run each fan when necessary. Some of the best air purifiers can also act as effective fans if you want to solve two problems at once.
Adjust your thermostat
We all love to sit in a nice air-conditioned room when it's blazing hot outside, but even adjusting the temperature on your thermostat up one or two degrees can have a significant impact on how much energy you use. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends you set your thermostat to 78 degrees when you're home, 82 degrees when you're sleeping, and 85 degrees when you're away from home.
One of the best smart thermostats and the best smart air conditioners can help you set these temperatures easily, and will recommend the best temperatures to help save you money. Plus, they can be programmed to change modes automatically when you're away or asleep.
Use the eco setting on appliances
If your appliances come with an eco setting, make sure you take advantage of it. Eco settings can be found on washing machines, dryers and dishwashers. It will essentially extend the run time and minimise the water or electricity consumption in return. This should not affect the performance of the cycle either, so there’s no reason not to use it.
If you want to buy a new appliance this summer, make sure you look out for one which is Energy Star certified. This means the product has met the strict standards required by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to be classed as energy efficient.
Limit direct sunlight in your home
While it’s lovely to sit in the sun, any direct beams of sunlight into your home will actually be increasing the temperature. This, in turn, will make your AC work harder.
Close the curtains or blinds in any rooms where sunlight is filtering through. Just remember to move any plants into a room where they will still receive daylight, or outside if temperatures are warm enough.
Switch off unnecessary appliances
Any appliances which you’re not using, but are left sitting on standby will be slowly wasting energy. This includes radios, televisions, games consoles and DVD players, but this list is not extensive. Essentially, if it’s switched off, but ready to use, it’s likely to be sapping unnecessary energy.
Fully switch off these appliances when not in use, either by flicking their power switch or by unplugging from the wall completely.
Use smart plugs
Another way to control the energy usage on these kinds of appliances is by taking advantage of the best smart plugs. Smart plugs sit between the plug of an appliance and the wall socket, and can control when the power flows through.
By using one of these, you can essentially turn a ‘dumb’ appliance smart, and control and schedule when you want it to be powered. Some models can even let you monitor the actual energy consumption, so you can see the difference it makes. These come in use for all kinds of situations — check out 10 things you never knew you could do with a smart plug for more.
Use smart lights
If you haven’t owned smart lights before, you won’t realize the difference these can make to your home. Gone are the days of relying on light switches, because your lights can all be controlled and scheduled remotely.
This means you don’t have to worry about forgetting to switch off every light at night or leaving a light on in an empty room. And, because they're all LEDs, the best smart lights are also much more energy efficient versus incandescent bulbs. Check out our light bulb guide for further details.
Check and maintain your air conditioner
Whatever you do, odds are you will still run your AC over the summer to some extent. Because of this, you need to schedule regular checks to make sure it’s well maintained and running at maximum efficiency. Be sure to remove any dust from the air intake vents and move anything which may be blocking the airflow. Give your air filter a clean every few months as well.
If you’re running an old system, you could also upgrade to an entirely new AC to improve energy efficiency. Again, look out for Energy Star ratings.
Resist using the dryer
If it’s hot outside, why are you using the dryer to dry your clothes? Take advantage of the sun and line dry your clothes outside instead. Just be sure to keep an eye on the weather in case the forecast changes.
If you have limited outdoor space you can also line dry your clothes indoors. You just need to keep the room ventilated, otherwise this can lead to mold and mildew. One of the best dehumidifiers can help speed up the process.
Don’t leave your shower running
If you let your shower run empty as it heats up, you’re not alone. Most of us don’t like the idea of getting into a cold shower, so we leave it running until it’s ready. The problem is some of us leave it for much longer than necessary, even taking our attention away from it.
To ensure you’re not wasting energy and water, keep an eye on your shower as it heats and use your hand to monitor the temperature. Use it as soon as it’s ready and turn down the temperature if it’s too hot. Check out these 15 water saving tips for more advice on how to save on water.
If your hot water feels too hot, you can also adjust your water heater to a lower setting, which will save on energy over time.
For more saving tips, learn how to make your own DIY household cleaner and save money, how to make your old iPhone last longer, how to make your washing machine last longer and need fewer repairs, how to make your laundry more eco-friendly, 11 easy household tips to save you money and how to make your own laundry detergent.