Everybody has heard the same tried and true methods of saving energy such as turn down the furnace, turn down the a/c, switch to CF bulbs

But there are other unique ways to save energy. It all starts with seeing what the largest energy consumers in your house are. In order of greatest use, they are: furnace, a/c, hot water heater, refrigerator. After that would be lights, and computers that are left on 24x7.  So let's address each of these.

First, turning down the furnace to a lower heat setting will save energy. But of course you already knew that. Similarly, turning the air conditioner warmer will use less electricity. Again, you also already knew that. How can we make those appliances go further? Here's a couple ways: use a set-back thermometer to automatically change the temps in the daytime when you're not home, and when you're asleep. These thermometers are relatively inexpensive nowadays being under $100. Also be sure to change the filter regularly.

You could also do the same for a hot water heater, having the hot water get "hotter" just before your AM shower, and/or just before your PM bath. The rest of the time, you probably don't need the water to be as hot.

As far as the refrigerator goes, make sure it is operating in top condition: check the seals and vacuum the coils. Beyond that, it really is a matter of buying a more efficient refrigerator.

Lights: compact fluorescent bulbs do indeed use much less electricity than incandescent bulbs. A 23W CF bulb has the equivalent light output of a 100W bulb. That's a 75% energy savings.

Onto the last topic of this article: computers. Most desktop computers take between 90 and 150 watts of power when running at full speed. A typical laptop takes about 75-100 watts at full power.  We can approximate the electrical usage and cost on a per watt basis. A quick estimate is about $0.80 per watt per year. So if you run a 100W computer for 1 year, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, the electrical cost is about $80 per year.

Just turning the computer to sleep mode drops usage down to about 3 watts or less. My laptop goes to under 1 watt on sleep mode, and I'm sure that is just to keep the battery topped off.

So if you have the computer in sleep mode most of the day, and just at full power for 3 hours per day, your cost would drop from the approximately $80 to approximately $12.

We are implementing (or have already implemented) many of the above. We already use setback thermometers, and keep our heat and a/c turned down. We also have replaced many bulbs (not all of them yet) with CF bulbs. I also built a special lower power computer that takes 40W at full power.That alone is saving me over $100 of electricity if we run it 24x7. We don't run it 24x7 so our savings are even greater, more like $140 per year.

© Copyright 2021 - Steven Hong - All Rights Reserved. Each office independently owned and operated.
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