Between things like rent, mortgage payments, car bills and food, the average household has a lot of expenditures. Many families buckling under the weight of these costs likely don’t spend much time worrying about how to reduce their carbon footprint. What many people don’t know is that notions of energy efficiency and lowering utility bills are directly intertwined. That means average folks across the country can do their part for the environment while seeing those hefty summer and winter energy bills go down. The way to do this is through energy efficient appliances.
Here are some ways families can convert their homes to promote energy efficiency:
Switch to Energy Star rated appliances when possible
Energy Star is a standard put forth by the federal government that provides consumers with info on the most energy-efficient appliances and equipment on the market. Statistics show that households can save between 10-30% annually on their energy bills by switching to these appliances and they won’t sacrificing anything in terms of comfort and style.
Refrigerators, for example, are one of the biggest energy users in the household, and older models are particularly inefficient. According to statistics published by the Washington Post, households can save up to 30% on their refrigerator energy usage by upgrading to a modern, Energy Star-qualified model. This translates to 100 dollars or more of savings per month.
All consumers need to do is look for the little yellow sticker on modern appliances in order to gauge their Energy Star rating.
Cut back on heating and cooling
According to the Department of Energy, HVAC usage accounts for over 50% of the average home’s energy bills. Upgrading to new systems can only do so much; people need to change their heating and cooling habits. One basic change includes using fans whenever possible instead of AC. When the HVAC system must be in use, it is best for those in the home to keep it at a moderate temperature of 77°F/25°C. Also, homeowners need to try to not use the unit during peak hours and to remember to turn it off before leaving the home.
Approach the kitchen differently
The kitchen is one of the prime energy-consuming areas in the household. Between the fridge and dishwasher and stovetops, it’s easy to run up the utility bill working in this area. Part of the solution is to upgrade appliances to the aforementioned Energy Star qualified models. Older dishwashers, for example, aren’t known for water conservation. Modern models, however, have a conservation feature that uses less water during the wash cycles.
That said, changing basic kitchen habits can reap big savings as well. Those who can’t afford new appliances can simply adopt new cleaning methods, such as turning off running water between dish washes rather than running a constant stream. Also, those cooking on a kitchen range should ensure that the pot or pan they are using matches the diameter of the burner. Using pots and pans that are too small wastes stove heat. It’s also vital to use trash compactors only during the night, as these appliances use up much energy.
By adhering to these simple guidelines, average individuals and families can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars on their utility bills annually.
About the author: Kurt Cerrato is a product designer. His articles appear on home improvement blogs where he enjoys sharing his expertise. Find out more about portable air conditioners, visit the link.