Nowadays, saving energy is of utmost importance and perhaps more so than it was during the oil shortage years when prices were really at the top.
With new technologies and techniques available to people, learning how to use them is essential. You just can’t go around using electronic devices and heating and cooling systems haphazardly. There are ways to optimize your use of appliances and so on to the point you’ll see considerable drops in energy use and costs.
Believe it or not there’s a two pronged attack going on here. Changing your usage habits and doing some maintenance and slight mechanical adjustments on your own.
Energy Use Habits
When looking at keeping energy use down, you may be surprised that you can save a considerable amount of money and energy by doing the first line of defense: change in habits.
This means that you need to double check the way you and your family operate to make sure things aren’t leading to excess use and wasted use. I sometimes fall asleep with the TV on. I counted up 20 hours of this habit a week and realized how much energy I was using. Sure I could have put a timer on shutting off the set, but when you’re sleepy you don’t think of stuff like that. I then set up an alarm in the bedroom and living room where I snooze and although it might wake me up, it will make me shut things off or do so on their own. I guess I just couldn’t sleep without the set on but that’s a bad habit and had to change.
Keep the kids from running in and out of the house. Every time a door opens and shuts heat or cool air escapes and puts more demand on the systems to accommodate. Make sure family and friends turn off devices after use if the devices don’t have an automatic shut off. Check windows for misaligned panes or cracks or breaks. Sometimes you can miss something and not realize the heat or cool air are escaping.
If you take care of the little things the big things will operate better.
The Big Energy Use
The first big energy use of a home or an apartment is the temperature controls. Heat and cooling systems eat up the most electricity or petroleum based fuels and people don’t realize that they can make adjustments in their habitual use and modifications of mechanical options. One major way of handling this is to look at the systems and how they operate. Do you have vents closed or open that could be put to better use? Are the vents cleaned and free of obstructions? Are there loose parts, holes, that allow for heat or cool air to escape? A good once over inspection by yourself or a professional can detect and remedy problems like this that could save you a great deal of money and misery. Double check with your landlord or a professional in heating/cooling maintenance to make sure your systems are operating at peak efficiency. Make sure you know the little things you need to watch out for like blocking vents and damaging systems with furniture. Heat and cooling are the two big ticket items and affect everything from general temperature to heating water, cooking, and more. There are also many other ways how you can save energy in the winter.
The Big Appliance Battle
The average household and good apartment will have a fridge, stove, washing machine and dryer, maybe even a dishwasher. Each of these appliances has to be maintenance worthy and on top of that, used properly. Some people don’t realize the way you use these appliances can reduce cost to a great deal. Let’s start with washing machines.
Don’t pack a washing machine to the top. Leave some room but don’t just throw a pair of socks in there and start a cycle. That’s wasteful. If you normally use warm water you might do well with just cold. It takes a lot of energy to heat that water up. See if cold water and your detergent can give you the clean results you’re looking for.
The dryer is an energy monster. It takes a lot of heat to dry those clothes. Don’t pack it to the brim either. Leave about 25% of the room in the dryer free so that the heated air can do its job. Don’t just toss in a pair of jeans and run the the cycle. Wait and coordinate with the family to make the best of the appliance.
Dishwashers use up a good deal of energy. Placing your dishes in the appliance efficiently will allow for better cleaning and no damage or interference with the operation of the unit. Don’t start a cycle unless the appliance is full. Make sure nothing is blocked inside and you’re using the right timing. If it really takes only 15 minutes for a cycle, then don’t set it on an hourly cycle.
The Final Word
The overall bottom line is that you can do something about energy costs with simple things that you can take responsibility for like I had to find out. Give them a try and keep statistics so you can see the changes over time.