The average modern household uses a lot of devices that draw electricity, from appliances that cool your food, toast your bread, and wash your clothes to gadgets meant to entertain you and connect you to the world at large. And when you use these devices frequently you could see your electric bill start to go up. Luckily, there are myriad ways to cut your usage, lower your energy bill, and reduce your carbon debt all at the same time. So here are some of the worst offenders when it comes to electrical usage in the home, as well as how you can make them a little more eco- (and wallet) friendly.
- AC. When you’re trying to beat the heat in the summer, running the air conditioning could be a must, depending on the climate you live in. If temperatures soar into the triple digits and there’s nary a basement to offer solace, the AC could just be your only salvation. That said, it also ranks as one of the top household electrical draws, sucking up as much as 15,000 watts and costing you $1-2 per hour of usage (depending on rates in your area). This could leave you with a bill for several hundred dollars if you have it running day and night during a particularly hot month. However, you can cut costs by installing an energy-efficient AC unit, using a programmable thermostat, and even some energy film on your windows to reduce inside temperatures.
- Refrigerator. Old-school ice boxes actually relied on blocks of ice to keep food cool, but modern models use electricity instead, and they could be drawing around 1,000 watts, day and night. Of course, energy-star refrigerators draw less, so if you’re looking to cut your carbon footprint you should definitely consider making the switch to eco-friendly appliances or a more efficient model.
- Hair dryer. It might sound crazy, but your hair care regimen could be sucking up more energy than your refrigerator per kilowatt hour of usage. Of course, your fridge is drawing electricity all day long while your blow dryer might get an hour of use each day, but you could try air drying for a month to see what kind of difference it makes in your utility bill. It might just knock a few bucks off your payment for the month.
- Dishwasher. You might think that your clothes washer and dryer draw a lot of energy, and they do, but setting up a clothes line is easy enough, especially in the summer. What may be worse is your dishwasher, and the majority of draw comes into play when drying the dishes. So instead of selecting the drying cycle, simply wash as normal and then pop open the door a crack to let the dishes air dry; you could save a lot of money and electricity this way, especially if you run this appliance daily.
- Computer equipment. Computer equipment actually uses a relatively low amount of energy in and of itself. The problem is that many people leave their computers up and running all day, or even around the clock. You don’t need an environmental data resources report to tell you that you’re sucking up a lot more energy than is necessary by doing this. By simply setting your equipment to go into sleep mode when it’s inactive for, say, five minutes, you can cut back on energy draw significantly. But turning it off during long periods without use is better.