The US Energy Information Association (EIA) expects the total U.S. electricity generation during 2013 will be 0.2% higher than 2012. They estimate that this will continue into 2014 with a 0.4% increase. The rising cost of generation fuels, (especially natural gas), is a key factor in the estimated increase in cost. The EIA says “during the upcoming winter months, residential electricity price will average 11.9 cents per kilowatt/hour, which is 2.1% higher than in the winter of 2012-13.” Due to these raising costs and usages, it is necessary for the American Public to conserve energy where they can. The following tips describe a few simple tips to keep energy costs and usage low.
Out of Socket
- When you are not using an appliance, unplug it. A seldom-used refrigerator in the basement may be costing you $10 a month to keep those four pork chops frozen. Unplugging toasters, microwaves, coffee pots, curling irons, etc. increases safety and energy efficiency.
- Unplug computers and cell phone chargers when you are not using them. This goes for any personal electronics.
- Embrace the power strip. Put all plugs belonging to your home theatre system in one power strip with can be turned off when not in use. Even in “off” mode, they can consume as much as a 75-100 watt light bulb that’s running constantly.
Out of Use
- When you are not using your computer, turn it off. When you go to sleep, shut off your computer. During the day place it in “sleep mode.” This uses less power and can be set up to automatically enter “hibernation” when you are not using your computer for longer than thirty seconds.
Out of Control
- Relinquish control of the temperature to your thermostat. Programming a thermostat to automatically turn up and down during certain times of the day and times of year will prevent energy costs. Set it to your preferred settings and then let it alone. Constantly raising and lowering the thermostat manually increases uses and energy costs.
Out of Waste
- Set your appliances to the bare-minimum usage. Refrigerators should be at 38 to 42 degrees Fahrenheit and your freezer should be set between 0 and 5 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Don’t continually open the oven door to check on items. Check the seal on the oven door to make sure that it is not leaking the necessary heat. Use a microwave only for reheating small items instead of cooking whole dishes that could be heated in a more energy-efficient oven.
- Use the dishwasher only when it is full and air-dry the dishes when possible. The same should go for your clothes washer. Make sure that the proper level of water needed is used only and wash in cold water when possible. Always use cold water to rinse close as heating the water takes more energy. Ensure that the lint filter of the dryer is always empty to provide proper circulation and therefore uses less energy.
Out of the Room
- Turn off the lights when you leave the house. Turn off all the lights being used in rooms you are not currently occupying.
Using these simple tools will not only lower your electricity/ energy bills, but lower energy prices in the US and protect the valuable resources of the planet. Energy efficiency is the simplest way to help the world and save money for your family’s future.