Energy hogs are all around your home. They lurk in kitchens, hide in attics and basements, even root around home offices. They’re wasting energy and costing you hundreds of dollars every year. Here are the top five biggest energy wasters in most homes:
1. Electronics – Energy consumption in U.S. homes for electronics is up 10 percentage points in the last 10 years*. Not surprisingly, because we have so many more electronics: set-up boxes, computers, TVs and game consoles. These devices constantly draw power simply because they’re plugged in.
Solution: Plug your electronics into a smart strip and turn the strip off when the devices aren’t in use. When shopping for new electronics, look for the Energy Star label.
2. Heating and Cooling – Heating and cooling still take up a chunk of your energy bill… so, upgrading can save you a chunk of change. An older conventional heating system operates at 75% efficiency—which means that 25 cents of every dollar you spend on heating your home is wasted. A new high-efficiency furnace operates at more than 90% efficiency.
Solution: Look at the Energy Guide labels of your heating and cooling systems to see how efficient they are. If the units are old, plan to replace them with higher efficient units. In the meantime, clean or replace the filter as indicated on the system, and vacuum vents and ducts regularly to help increase efficiency.
3. Air Leaks – Air leaks are responsible for a lot of wasted heating and cooling. Every place conditioned air is leaking out of your home—whether it’s through windows, doors, attics or foundation cracks—is like money leaking out of your pocket!
Solution. Find and seal leaks. Check for air entering through doors and windows and also electrical outlets, switch plates and baseboards. Think about places you’ve noticed a draft and look for a leak. Plug up the leaks with caulk, weather stripping or even a rolled up towel. An energy auditor can tell you if you need to upgrade your insulation.
4. Energy-saving Light Bulbs – Energy efficient light bulbs, like LEDs and CFLs, can last up to 10 to 20 times longer than a regular incandescent bulb and use up to 75% less energy. A single 10 watt energy-saving bulb provides as much light as a 60-watt incandescent bulb while also emitting less heat.
Solution: Switch to an LED or CFL when you need to replace an expired bulb. Additionally, use a lower wattage where you don’t need so much light.
5. Large Appliances – Large appliances, like water heaters, clothes washers and dishwashers, can use up a lot of energy. Trying to remember efficiency actions for each appliance can seem overwhelming, but there are a lot of similarities that actually make it easier.
Solution: Keep your appliances clean: Dust the fridge coils, defrost the freezer, clean dryer vents, etc. Run with a full load: Not just clothes washers and dishwashers, but think about using smaller appliances, like using a toaster oven for smaller meals, when appropriate. And if an appliance is older, consider replacing it with a high-efficiency Energy Star-certified model—especially appliances that run continuously, like water heaters and refrigerators.
Article appearing courtesy Xcel Energy Blog.