Five Ways You’re Wasting Electricity Without Even Realizing It
Let’s be real—electric bills can be expensive.
Wasted electricity can account for a lot of money on your bill.
So are you wasting electricity without realizing it?
With the average monthly electric bill coming in at $130 per household, it’s important to address possible waste. So if you’ve already taken action to lower your power bill, but still feel like you’re paying too much, read on to find out what else you can do.
Ways You Are Wasting Electricity Without Even Realizing It
1. Letting “Vampire” Devices Drink Up Electricity and Run Up Your Bill
Leaving your computer, printer, video game system or even coffee maker on or in standby mode can be costing you. Some devices keep using electricity even when they’re completely off and just plugged in! Actually, “standby” mode, while it does use less power, kind of gives away that it’s still using electricity even when not in use. These devices are “standing by” waiting for their next use, all the while continuing to draw power!
Anything with a light or a clock on it is using power whether you’re using the appliance or not. While you may not be able to unplug your DVR while you’re not using it (and risk missing your favorite shows!) many of your appliances can be powered off and unplugged when not in use without causing much inconvenience.
What you can do about it: Plug devices into power strips in groups. Then, when you’re done, turn off the devices and unplug the power strips. This makes it easy to cut these energy vampires off at the source and then, when you need to use them again, you can access them by plugging the whole strip back in.
2. Inefficiently Using Already-Inefficient Devices
Ok, that one might have been a little confusing. Let’s put it another way. While some of your biggest appliances like your washing machine, dryer and dishwasher do offer a lot of convenience. But they’re not known to be the most energy-efficient items in your home. So if you use these devices in an additionally inefficient way, you’re contributing to a higher-than-necessary bill.
If you run your dishwasher an average of 4 times per week, that’s over 200 times per year. And when you take into account that the average household in the U.S. does 400 loads of laundry per year as well—you can see why it’s important to do these in the most efficient way possible if your goal is to save energy (and money!)
What you can do about it: Set up a designated laundry day once per week, and wash the largest loads possible each time. (Less loads = less electricity.) Also, “warm” is usually just as effective as “hot” but doesn’t require the extra power to super-heat the water, which can save you in the long run. By doing your laundry all on the same day, within the same couple of hours, you also make it possible for your dryer to heat up fully just once instead of heating up, cooling down and then having to reheat fully.
Similarly, running your dishwasher when it’s full and setting it to air dry when possible (or drying by hand) can add up to decent savings throughout the year.
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3. Using Lights and Ceiling Fans the Wrong Way
I know, I know. How can someone use a light or a ceiling fan incorrectly? You would be surprised! You’re no doubt already familiar with the fact that you should turn off lights and fans in a room when you leave it—that’s energy saving 101.
But did you know that if you’re using overhead lighting or lighting that is intended to brighten up the whole room, you’re paying too much?
On to ceiling fans. How can you possibly use one incorrectly? Well, when you’ve been up there dusting, you have probably noticed a little switch that changes the direction of the rotation of the blades. Actually, the direction it spins can control how efficiently it runs, depending on the season and temperature! Who knew!
What you can do about it: When it comes to lighting, the key is targeted lighting! Using a bedside table lamp or a reading lamp in your living room can save you tons of money throughout the year, as opposed to using the overhead or installed lights like the ones in your ceiling fans. Task-specific lighting is just as convenient, but way more energy-conscious. And of course all electric lighting should be switched to CFLs or LED lamps for true efficiency and savings.
Run your ceiling fan counter-clockwise during warmer months of the year and clockwise during colder months. Doing so will allow them to circulate air more efficiently and you can adjust your thermostat for the better and save!
4. Using Appliances That Are From the Stone Age
Ok, maybe “Stone Age” is a bit harsh, but if you’re using appliances that were manufactured before the first time you heard the phrase “go green”…well, you see where I’m going with this.
Appliances from the 70s, 80s and 90s were simply not as efficient as ones starting in the 2000s. They simply use more electricity than their more-recent counterparts and replacing them is a really smart move if you’re serious about saving on electricity.
What you can do about it: If you’re looking to replace your appliances but want to make sure you find the most efficient one in your price range, you’re in luck! We actually covered a wonderful tool you can use to compare models in this post.
If you’re not in the market for new appliances just yet, look into a PFC (power factor correction) device like our Electric Saver 1200. You can find out all about how the device works, find out how to purchase and install it and get an idea of how much it can save you here.
5. Over-Charging Your Electronic Devices
This one may not seem so important, but it really is. Look around your home at the number of rechargeable devices you have. (Anything that comes with a charging cable, basically.) Between tablets, laptops, smart phones, battery packs, portable game systems and even toothbrushes, you likely can name more than a couple! Leaving these devices charging, or leaving the chargers plugged in when you’re not using them is definitely draining excess electricity from your home. Not only that, leaving them plugged in can destroy their battery life, requiring you to replace them or have them repaired more frequently—talk about expensive!
What you can do about it: Unplug the chargers when the devices are done charging, and unplug right away when the battery hits “fully charged.” There are even a few gadgets like charging stations that automatically cut power when the devices are charged for your convenience. Some are even wireless and only require that you place your device on a charging plate—no cords necessary!
These are some of the ways you could be wasting electricity without even knowing it. Try out some of our solutions and see how much you can save!
Got another tip for us? Let us know in the comments! Happy saving!