The cost of energy continues to be a major concern for Australian households. Electricity prices have increased substantially over the […]
Many people, especially in developed countries, have a steady and constant power supply with rare outages from natural disasters, and often take electricity for granted. However, there are several places globally that have poor access to electricity.
Access to electricity is also dependent on the price of energy, which has been steadily rising globally, making electricity a rather expensive commodity. An overview of the household electricity bills over a year can give a clearer idea of the cost.
This article provides a list of home energy hacks that can help save energy and money.
Use solar panels
One of the best methods of reducing energy consumption is through averting the use of public power completely by installing solar panels.
While solar panels can have a high upfront cost, the lifetime benefits from the energy and saving anticipated from the panels makes the investment worthwhile.
As an initial step, there are several grants that can help users get the solar panels at reduced rates or even for free. Excess energy produced from the panels can be sold back onto the grid, offering a further saving option.
Apart from saving energy and reducing money spent on energy, solar panels are also key to reducing greenhouse gases, which helps protect the environment.
Also Read: Is solar energy renewable?
The benefits gained from trees growing and thriving within your space can not be overemphasized, they extend far and wide in the ability of trees to incur numerous positive changes to the home and ecosystem at large.
During summer, trees help protect the house and residents from the fierce sun rays which significantly contributes to lowering the summer temperature.
This directly decreases the operation and energy required for air conditioning systems, which typically consume huge amounts of power during operation. On average, this measure can save over 25% of the house’s total bi-annual energy cost.
During winter, trees reduce the speed of cold winds, thereby protecting the house from severe cold and thereby reducing heating costs.
Additionally, trees help control water reserves in the ground and are generally good for the environment. They produce oxygen and pull carbon dioxide from the air, reducing air pollution.
This natural feature makes trees instrumental in eliminating global warming and reducing harmful carbon emissions.
Air dry clothes
Washing machines have become a standard staple of modern society for washing and cleaning clothes mainly due to its convenience relevant to old practices of handwashing.
However, dryers, which have become very common, can be easily eliminated from the process by reverting to air drying clothes wherever possible.
The operation of dryers involves both a heating element and a rotational motor which makes them consume large amounts of power, and considering they operate on an almost daily basis all throughout the year, avoiding dryers can have significant energy saving benefits.
Dress to Suit the Weather
This simple measure can have a major impact. During cold weather, instead of turning the heat all the way up, it is advisable to put on thick clothes and reduce the heat. Similarly in hot weather, wearing light clothes means the operation of the air conditioning system can be reduced
Wearing the same kind of clothes in the house regardless of seasons places huge stress on the air conditioning and heating systems, and ultimately greatly increases their energy consumption, especially since these systems run almost 24 hours a day, and on a daily basis during either season.
By properly regulating your thermostat, huge amounts of energy can be saved and therefore a lot of money can be saved on utility bills annually.
Tightly Pack your Freezer
This is another simple trick which many people miss or aren’t even aware of. The emptier the freezer is, the more cold air escapes from it when it’s opened. As a result, the fridge will have to use more energy to produce a larger quantity of cold air, which can result in higher electrical bills.
Packed freezers tend to hold in the cold air when the fridge is open, ultimately minimizing the amount needed for regeneration and lowering the energy consumption. Even if a fridge is generally half-empty, it can be filled with newspaper or different types of grains to help it retain cold air.
Utilize Ceiling Fans
Although ceiling fans are becoming outdated, losing ground rapidly to more powerful air conditions, they are still very effective in controlling the environments of spaces. When used properly, they can actually add value in both hot and cold weather.
By blowing air down, ceiling fans keep the rooms cool and comfortable, reducing the need and operation of air conditions and saving energy and money.
On the other hand, running the fan in the reverse direction draws the cold air up and keeps the place warm, reducing the operation of heaters, again saving energy and money. As a matter of fact, ceiling fans are actually more effective in winter than summer.
Windows line large portions of a house’s exterior walls. Non-insulated windows allow the penetration of heat into the house during summer, and the escape of heat during winter, forcing air conditioning and heating systems to operate more and spend more energy.
Plastics are recommended as they are natural insulators. If unavailable, blankets, fabric or any other thick material can prevent the loss or gain of unwanted heat. It’ll also control and limit sunlight that enters into the room.
This measure conveniently regulates the temperature of the household throughout the year and leads to high reductions in energy losses, and to money savings.
Use LED lights
LED lights, or Light Emitting Diodes are basic semiconductors which release light when current is passed through them emitting various colors. White LED lights use green, red and blue lights.
LED lights consume a much smaller amount of power compared to traditional light sources, such as fluorescent or incandescent lighting, greatly reducing the energy consumption for lighting.
Moreover, LED lights do not emit heat, as do traditional sources, so they don’t need the extra cooling energy consumed to offset the extra heat in the space.
LED lights are very durable and can last as long as 50,000 hours, compared to incandescent bulbs whose lifetime is almost 50 times less.
The great thing about LED bulbs is that they are very versatile, they don’t contain any mercury and can be used in both residential and commercial spaces.
Wash clothes with cold water
This one is quite easy. If you have a washer, set it to only wash with cold water. Research has shown that over 85% of energy costs consumed within households is due to heating. People use electricity to heat their food, boil water, warm spaces and heat water to warm wash clothes.
Washing clothes in cold water on a regular basis, with slight exceptions to very specific cases, can save huge amounts of energy over the span of a year, and greatly reduce the yearly electricity bill.
Switch off Power Strips
People generally turn off their devices when they’re not using them, to extend their life and save on wasted energy consumption. However, most people don’t know that electronics can still consume energy when switched off.
These are called vampire devices. They still draw electric current when they are in sleep mode to use for routine processing and to maintain a quick response when switched on.
As more and more equipment is getting connected, a majority of modern electronic devices within the household have become vampire devices. An easy measure to limit this unnecessary power consumption is by turning off the power strip which feeds the devices, cutting the energy drain and saving money.
Fill the Washing Machine
Washing machines are one of the most convenient appliances in modern households, helping people immediately wash and clean clothes, and ensuring fresh clean outfits on a daily basis, with minimal effort.
However, every time the washing machine runs, it consumes a considerable amount of energy. That is why it is highly advisable to always use a washing machine at full load. Full loads mean less frequent operation of the machine and less energy consumed, reducing the number of washes from seven times a week to maybe 2-3 washes a week.
With a little bit of planning and organisation of the wardrobe, clothes can be arranged in order of use, occasions anticipated, wash combinations and other neglected clothes. This measure can be very effective in reducing energy consumed by the constant operation of the washing machine.
Replace AC Filters
Proper and frequent maintenance of electrical heating and cooling systems is essential to ensure longevity and proper operation of these systems.
Most people avoid cleaning or replacing their AC filters unless there is an immediate problem, which may cause health issues for the household residents and may place the system at risk. Filters and system parts should be cleaned and maintained properly and regularly.
Dust-clogged filters are not effective and drive the system to consume more energy to operate. It’s recommended that filters are replaced at the beginning of the fall and spring and are cleaned regularly.
Switch off the lights
This measure is one of the easiest to apply but also one that is most often ignored, although it has a great potential to save on energy consumption.
Switching the lights off is highly dependent on the type of lighting fixtures available. Incandescent and halogen bulbs are probably the worst types in view of energy conservation as most of the energy consumed is turned into heat. Turning these lights off when a space is not being used can considerably lower the energy consumption.
Although this fact is less severe with compact fluorescent lights and even less so with LED lights (as they’re already manufactured with energy conservation in mind), it is always recommended to switch off the lights if leaving the room, especially if it’s for long periods of time.
Moreover, turning the lights off reduces carbon emissions and other toxic gases produced and is therefore and environmentally friendly option.
Air dry your dishes
The same principle for clothes also applies to dishes. Although dishwashers are very convenient and replace the mundane task of washing the dishes, they do consume a high amount of electric power.
More specifically, the ‘heat dry’ feature on dishwashers is a huge energy consumption gap that can be omitted to reduce the electric bill.
Considering that households have less frequent and far fewer utensils to wash compared to restaurants and hotels, air drying can be a very convenient measure to dry the dishes without consuming any energy.
This guide introduces and details key measures that can be implemented to reduce energy consumption in the household and ultimately reduce the energy cost.
Once the specifics of each household are studied, a group of these measures should be implemented and followed through to witness significant changes in the electric bills. The more measures one can implement and adopt as standard, the further the benefits to the costs and the environment.