Auld Lang Syne basically means “days gone by.” If many days have gone by since you thought about your electrical system, consider changing that this new year. Updating your home’s electrical infrastructure is the perfect New Year’s Resolution. It’s measurable, achievable, and important. Not only will updating your electrical system help keep your family safe, it’ll also help you save money.
Here’s how to make upgrading your system and reducing your electrical consumption two of your New Year’s Resolutions this year:
Have Your Home Inspected
Even if you’re not having obvious problems, professional inspection can reveal potential problems before they require costly repairs. Even more importantly, we can fix any problems we find before they electrocute you or start a fire.
Save Money On Energy
Wasting electricity is a bad habit, but it’s not a difficult one to break once you recognize it. If you just turn your lights off when you leave a room or turn the heat down before you leave home, you’ll use a lot less energy. You could also replace incandescent lights with LED bulbs. LEDs use 75% less energy and last about 25 times longer.
Here are a few more ways to cut your energy usage in your home:
- Switch to low-flow showerheads.
- Dry your clothes on the line.
- Wait for the dishwasher or washing machine to be full before you run them.
- Water your yard less.
Check Smoke And Carbon Dioxide Alarms
If you don’t have smoke/carbon dioxide alarms, go get them. At a minimum, you should have alarms on every floor but. Ideally, there should be alarms in every room. Find more information in the Early Bird blog “My Smoke Alarm Won’t Stop Beeping. Help!”
Install Tamper-Resistant Receptacles
“Child-proof” plastic plugs on outlets aren’t really very effective, so you shouldn’t use them. Tamper-resistant receptacles are much better at keeping children safe. They have spring-loaded shutters that keep the slots closed to protect young children. You can learn more about installing tamper-resistant receptacles here.
Replace Two-Prong Plugs
Why? Because two-prong outlets are unsafe. Actually, since 1962, code says all new houses must install three-prong outlets. They protect your home against:
- Electric shock
- Electrical fires
- Damage to your electronics/appliances
In the New Year, replace them with three-prong outlets. For more, read the Early Bird blog “Why You Should Switch to Three-prong Outlets.”
Install a Whole-House Surge Protector
When your home experiences a power surge, your electrical appliances and devices can get fried. The more electrical appliances you use, the more important it is to protect them from power surges.
When you install a whole-house surge protector, it allows only the amount of electricity your home needs to enter. It also protects appliances from surges created inside your home.
Replace Old Appliances
Old appliances waste energy. Replacing them with energy-efficient models will reduce energy consumption and save money. Before spending money on a new appliance, however, you should do your research. Not all new appliances will save you a ton of money. For example:
Appliance Potential energy savings PER YEAR:
- Air Conditioner: $25-$85
- Dishwasher: $8
- Dryer: $0
- Furnace: $50-$100
- Water Heater: 30 percent (Converting to a tankless or gas condensing water heater would save about $100)
- Refrigerator: If it’s over 25 years old, $100-$200. If it’s 10 or younger, $5-$20
- Washing Machine: If your washer is over 10 years old or a top-load washer, up to $135 on both water and electricity.
Organize That Fuse/Breaker Box
If the breaker box is not clearly labeled, do yourself a favor and “map your circuits.” It’s easy! Start by turning off the breaker in the top left of the access panel. Then, simply find the part of the home where you just turned off the electricity. If there’s no power in the kitchen, then you know to label the switch you just pulled “kitchen.” Repeat this step with each and every breaker, and you’ll be able to label every circuit in your home. There’s usually a place to write the location next to each breaker. If there isn’t, you could label them easily using masking tape.
Important: make sure it’s safe to turn the electricity off in all rooms before you start this project. You’d hate to face your daughter if you inadvertently shut down her computer before she can save her 50 page report. Er… for example.
If you make upgrading your electricity and reducing your electrical consumption two of your New Year’s Resolutions, you’ll save money and have a safer home.
If you ever want some help making your resolution a reality, give Early Bird a call any time. Happy New Year!