How can I use less energy?
You could take more naps.
Oh, you mean how can you use less electricity? Got you covered: there are a lot of ways to reduce the amount of energy you use.
One note before we start. With every one of these tips, you don’t need a professional electrician. But you do need to do stuff you don’t normally do and change some habits. That can be hard to do. Let’s get to work.
Okay, I’m ready, what can I do at home?
- Turning off your energy-sucking computer overnight will save you about $36 a year. Don’t worry, it won’t hurt your computer, either. You can turn that thing on and off over 40,000 times without doing any damage. Even just turning off the monitor instead of letting a screensaver waste energy will help, too.
- Replace incandescent light bulbs with LED bulbs. LED bulbs use up to 75% less energy and they’re affordable. Find LED bulbs in all kinds of shapes and light levels at the hardware store. Notice we didn’t write “your local hardware store?” Like you’re going to shop at a remote store?
- Use power strips. Let’s say you have a computer, printer, monitor, desk lamp, and electric pencil sharpener. If they’re all plugged into one power strip, you can turn them all off with one switch. Isn’t it easy to save energy? But “Wait.” you say, “I’m not even using them, why turn them off?” Because, if they’re plugged in, they’re using “phantom” energy. Clever name because you never see the waste of energy coming.
- Actually, it’s a good idea to unplug all electronics. Televisions, microwaves, scanners, and phone chargers use standby power, even when they’re off. That’s why your charger can feel warm, even when your phone isn’t plugged into it. According to a 2016 study, idle electronics in the US waste as much energy as 50 power plants produce in a year! Curse you “phantom” energy!
What about that “dad joke”? “Turn the lights off, I’m not made of money!”
Dads are smart.
If you leave a room, turn off the lights. That seems so easy, so simple but way too many people think it doesn’t matter. But it does matter, especially if you have incandescent bulbs.
Incandescent lights should be turned off whenever they are not needed, because they’re just not very efficient. 90% of the energy they use is wasted as heat, and only 10% is used as light. Turning them off also keeps a room cooler.
Halogen lights use the same technology as traditional incandescent bulbs, but they’re still not as efficient as CFL or LED lights. Turn off halogen lights whenever you can. Turning them off and on doesn’t hurt them and reduces energy.
CFL lights are very efficient and you will shorten their life if you switch them on and off all the time. But! Turning off fluorescent lights for more than 5 seconds will save more energy than you consume turning them back on again. You’ll use less energy and save money turning them off, but you’ll need to replace the bulb sooner. Your choice.
A good general rule for CFL lights is: If you’re out for 15 minutes or less, leave them on. If you leave for more than 15 minutes, turn them off. In case you’re interested, CFL stands for compact fluorescent lamps.
The lifespan of LED lights is not affected by turning them on and off. This means you can turn LED lights on or off as often as you want. Of course, even though they are efficient, you’ll still save more energy. Which is the whole point of this blog.
LED lights are also better for light and movement sensors (that can turn on and off all the time) and they reach full brightness almost instantly. LED stands for light emitting diode.
Again, it’s not easy to do stuff you don’t normally do and change habits, but you can do it.
If you just can’t get into the habit of turning your lights off, there are sensors, timers, and automatic controls that are easy to install.
This is just part one of how to save energy. You just can’t wait for part two, can you?
…Okay, fine, here’s part two.
The general knowledge and advice in this blog is designed to give you a little background information about your electrical system and may not be complete or contain minor errors. Early Bird Electric is not responsible for any consequences if you attempt to fix your electrical problem using this information. It’s always a good idea to hire a local, licensed electrician like Early Bird Electric to safely and professionally handle the job.