Some of the biggest energy-wasting habits we practice at home may seem minor, but combined they can add up to some serious energy waste. Here are 13 everyday energy wasting habits that can make a difference in your home energy usage:
13 Common Everyday Energy Wasting Habits
1. Leaving the lights on
The simplest of actions can cause unintended consequences, especially if your goal is to conserve energy. Even something as innocuous as forgetting to switch off the lights upon exiting a room is more wasteful than you’d expect. As much as possible, try to maximize any natural light that filters into your home during the day, and double check your light switches at night.
2. Neglecting to unplug appliances
While it might be tempting to keep your phone charger plugged in 24/7 for easy use whenever you need it, leaving appliances plugged in when they’re not in use consumes a lot of unnecessary energy. More than that, once devices are fully charged, keeping them connected to the wire does nothing as they are already at full capacity. This can even run the risk of short-circuiting and causing electrical fires if left unattended.
3. Keeping the refrigerator door open for too long
You’re probably guilty of leaving your fridge door open as you assess the shelves for any consumable options. But those precious minutes you spend standing in front of your refrigerator is a significant energy waster. Not only that, but it can also drain the appliance’s energy capacity and cause it to have issues maintaining a regulatory temperature. It may be easier said than done, but a good practice to adopt is making it a point to open the door only when necessary.
4. Using incandescent bulbs
In this day and age, LED lights are the way to go. Most homeowners prefer them because of their high-energy capacity at a fraction of the cost. Aside from that, they’re also capable of operating at much cooler temperatures than other bulbs.
5. Not regularly changing your air filters
Cleaning out the filters on a HVAC unit is a part of the regular upkeep that comes with the appliance. As the unit runs, the filters trap dirt particles that need to be cleared out often. Once the filter becomes clogged, it exerts more energy into doing its job while also racking up the electricity bill. It’s advisable to have your filters replaced at least every three months. (Our Home Comfort Plan can take the worry out of filter replacement for you!
6. Not maximizing the dishwasher
The dishwasher may seem like the ultimate time saver, but the average appliance uses up about 1,800 watts of electricity. To save on costs and trim down your energy usage, keep in mind that you should only run the dishwasher once it’s been completely filled up. It might be easy to forget and switch it on to clean only a couple of plates, but this does nothing but waste both water and energy. You can also change its settings from heat dry to air dry to reduce expenses.
7. Washing your clothes with hot water
This might come as a surprise, but the way you wash your clothes could also be contributing to your energy waste. There are certain myths about hot water being able to kill germs that stick to fabric more effectively, but the reality is that washing your garments with cold water is just as efficient in removing dirt and stains, and will only consume half of the energy to boot.
8. Not programming the thermostat
Half of the energy consumed by the average homeowner revolves around the heating and cooling of the house interior. Many people have a habit of leaving the air conditioner running at maximum all day during the sweltering summer months, or turning up the heat too much when winter rolls around. One means of combating this is by investing in a programmable thermostat that allows you to enter preset times where you will be out of the house, so that the appliances will automatically shut off when not in use.
9. Keeping the water heater settings too high
There’s nothing better and more relaxing than stepping into a hot shower, especially when the weather grows cold. But having your water heater thermostat over 120 degrees can set your energy-saving crusade back by a lot. For every 10 degrees that you reduce its settings, you save as much as 5 percent on energy! (Old and outdated water heaters are super inefficient, which translates to both energy loss and extra expense. Installing a new water heater may represent significant energy saving in your home.)
10. Using your oven in the summer
Baking or cooking using your oven during the hottest part of a summer afternoon will overheat your home and cause your HVAC unit to work harder in order to maintain a decent indoor temperature. If you feel like using your oven, try to schedule it for later in the evening or before noon.
11. Putting warm food in the fridge
Placing a steaming plate of leftovers inside your fridge will only cause the appliance to operate at a higher capacity to cool down the dish. If you have any extra food that you wish to store for another time, keep them on a covered plate on your kitchen counter until they’re at room temperature before sliding them into the refrigerator.
12. Using outdated appliances
You might believe that sticking with the same microwave you’ve had ever since college is the best means to save money, but the truth is that modern devices are made and engineered in such a way that they conserve energy and operate more efficiently.
13. Falling asleep with the TV on
This is another habit that may seem harmless and which many people are guilty of. Much like leaving your appliances plugged in when they’re not being used, leaving the TV running will only add on costs and waste energy. To rectify this, program your TV to switch off at a designated time after a few hours.
These 13 everyday home energy wasting habits are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to making your home healthy and efficient! Northern Heating & Air provides home heating and cooling installation and repair in the Glens Falls, Queensbury, Lake George, Saratoga Springs region (see our full liste of areas served here). Call us at (518) 745-0401 to schedule your HVAC inspection or repair today, and let our skilled technicians ensure your heating and cooling systems do their best job for you all year round.