According to the government’s Energy Star website, your home is filled with little critters right now, and they are quietly stealing your energy and your money. These critters are robbing dollars out of your wallet and about 100 billion kilowatt hours of electricity from the power grid each year.
So who are these “energy thieves” in your home stealing the green from your wallet? A quick look around your abode will probably turn up a number of things you can change or improve upon to save you money while also taking pressure off of the nation’s overtaxed energy grid.
Unplug to Save
So you’re probably wondering what an energy critter is. They are all of those items you leave plugged in even when you aren’t using them. For example, if you leave your phone charger plugged into an outlet, it is drawing power, even if it is not attached to a device. In addition, appliances and electronics that are plugged in (such as microwave ovens, DVRs and video game consoles) are also constantly sucking down energy. Experts suggest unplugging appliances, chargers and electronics when not in use, especially those that are infrequently used. You could save up to $100 a year by doing so.
Many people put blinds on their windows so as not to give their neighbors too much of an eyeful. But did you know that blinds are also one of the best ways to reduce the amount of heat your homes will gain in the summer? According to Energy.gov, highly reflective blinds that are closed can reduce your home’s heat gain by as much as 45 percent. Because blinds have slats that can be opened and closed to suit your lighting and ventilation needs, they are also more versatile than other types of window coverings, such as shades or curtains.
Finding the right blinds to fit your home’s design is easier than ever today, as these window coverings come in many different types of materials. For example, you can now find aluminum, vinyl, faux wood and wood blinds.
Smartphone, Smart Home
Your smartphone or iPad is good for more than playing Angry Birds and checking out your friend’s Facebook status. Today, you can also use them to control your lights and other items in your home while you are away. For example, you can plug your lights and other electrical devices into a specially designed Wi-Fi enabled switch, such as Belkin’s WeMo, that will allow you to control these devices via your tablet or smartphone, as NYTimes.com notes.
Control Your Fate — Automate
Keeping your home at one temperature setting can be a money waster. Do you really need to keep your home toasty warm in the winter while you are at work? Of course not. The same holds true in the summer. Your air conditioner doesn’t have to work as hard if there is no one home to enjoy its cooling effects. Fortunately, there are inexpensive digital thermostats on the market today that will allow you to program specific temperature settings for your house for different time periods. Some units, such as the Nest, can even be controlled from your smartphone or the Internet, as USAToday highlights. By installing and using one of these units, Energy Star claims that you can save as much as $180 a year on your energy bill.