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Improving Your Home’s Electrical Efficiency

Electrical Efficiency
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Electrical efficiency is important to our environment and your monthly energy bill. Some devices are more energy draining than others. Knowing which electrical appliances are the biggest power hog in your home can save you a lot of money and time!

In this guide, Art Plumbing, AC & Electric will explore household electrical systems and appliances that consume the most energy and offer tips on how to make your home more efficient so that you can reduce your monthly electric bill.

Heating and Cooling

What is the most energy-consuming device in your home? Your HVAC system! 

An average central unit uses around 3500 watts, two to three times every hour for 10-15 minutes each time. That adds up. In 24 hours, it has used between 28 kWh and 63 kWh, or even more if you don’t change out filters on time.

To make your residential HVAC system more energy efficient, consider the following tips:

  1. Change the filter on your HVAC system every month or so to maintain its efficiency.
  2. Install a programmable thermostat that will automatically turn down the temperature at night and in off hours.
  3. Consider installing radiant floor heating, which is more efficient than other types of home heating systems, especially in South Florida where we rarely see temperatures below 60°F. Floor heating systems hold temperatures for longer periods without needing high levels of energy consumption.
  4. Install an energy-efficient fan that costs less than $200 at home improvement stores (depending on the size). This will circulate air throughout your house faster, reducing the load on central AC systems during those hot summer days.
  5. Close blinds and curtains at night; this prevents sun rays from heating up homes during warmer weather.
  6. Keep windows closed as often as possible to maintain room temperature without using the AC.
  7. Turn off your AC when you’re out of town for long periods of time. You can also turn on an air-conditioner with a timer so it’s ready in anticipation of returning home during hot hours.

Water Heater

Have you ever thought about how much energy your water heater is using? It may come as a shock. A typical unit will run three hours a day and use 4500 watts, adding up to 13.5 kWh per day or 405 kWh per month!

You can lower the costs of a water heater by implementing these routine habits:

  1. Keep your water heater’s temperature to 120°F or lower
  2. Wrap your water heater in an insulation blanket
  3. For washing machines or dishwashers, run them only when there’s a full load. Also, most clothes can be washed with cold water.
  4. Insulate pipes to reduce water loss.
  5. A programmable thermostat can be used to automatically turn down heat at night, or when you’re away from home to keep energy costs down.

Appliances

We need appliances to do our day-to-day cleaning and cooking, but these devices can use more energy than we realize. For instance, did you know your home appliances account for about 13% of the typical electric bill?

It doesn’t have to be hard to cut back on your appliance energy. With a few easy tweaks to their settings and usage habits, you’ll be able to slash your bill without feeling like life is becoming inconvenient.

Dishwasher

It may surprise you, but your dishwasher is costing you a lot of money and energy. An average dishwasher uses 330 watts of power. If used for one hour each day, this can equal 10 kWh per month.

Here’s some tips to reduce your dishwasher’s energy consumption:

  1. Use the dishwasher’s energy and water-saving features.
  2. Pre-rinse your dishes by hand to save up to 50% of dishwashing electrical use when you do load them in the machine.
  3. If possible, let dishes air dry instead of using a drying cycle on the dishwasher (which consumes more electricity).

Washing Machine and Dryer

Next time you’re about to do some laundry, make sure your washers and dryers are up to date. Even if you use your washing machine and dryer once a week, they can still account for over 5% of the energy used in your home!

So, how can you cut back on energy consumption with your washing machine and dryer?

  1. Set your washer to use the shortest wash time possible – this will save you up to 50% in electrical costs.
  2. Wash full loads of laundry (i.e., don’t do a few items here and there).
  3. Use cold water instead of hot for most clothes unless they are heavily soiled or dyed with dark colors, which can be set off by warm temperatures.
  4. Air-dry clothes outside if possible

Refrigerator and Freezer

Next time you open your refrigerator, know that you are probably using 162 kWh of electricity a month just to power it.

You can’t just turn your fridge off or use it less than you are, but there’s still some ways to save!

  1. Keep your fridge at the right temperature by setting it to 37°F; this will make sure you’re using less electrical power.
  2. Keep your fridge and freezer organized by packing them with items from the back to the front.
  3. Do not overstock your fridge and freezer.
  4. Replace old refrigerators with ENERGY STAR® certified appliances.

Oven and Stove

You may be unaware of how much your kitchen appliances are costing you. When you use your oven or stove for one hour a day, and at medium-high heat levels, it can result in 75 kWh/month of electricity usage.

There are many ways to save on electrical costs with your oven and stove:

  1. Use the right size pan or dish for cooking – too small a dish will result in uneven heat distribution.
  2. Preheat the oven by turning it ON without food inside. This could take up to 30 minutes, but you’re likely not going to need that much time at such high temperatures anyway.
  3. Reduce “vampire power” usage (i.e., electrical use when devices are off) by leaving appliances unplugged until needed and then using them only as long as is necessary before shutting down again.

Electronics

Did you know that electronics make up about 4% of our energy use? If you watch an average of five hours a day and play video games for 6.3 hours per week, these devices can account for 55 kWh per month or more!

If you want to save power and reduce the cost of using electronics, then check out these energy saving methods:

  1. Only use electrical devices when they are needed.
  2. Use dimmer switches whenever possible and at the lowest setting to save energy, especially with electronics like TVs or lamps.
  3. Unplug electrical devices that are not in use – this is called “vampire power” (i.e., electrical current still going into an electronic device even though it doesn’t need any electricity).
  4. Turn off your computer monitor as soon as you’re done using it – don’t leave it on standby mode which uses more electrical power than if just unplugged entirely.
  5. Unplug your chargers when not in use.
  6. Set electrical devices to turn on at lower levels so that they’re still operational without maxing out the electrical current needed – this will help you avoid spikes and surges in power usage.

Lighting

The lightning in a house can account for up to 9% of the total energy being used. Add that up across 50 light bulbs in the household and it becomes 300 kWh per month. Light bulbs’ energy use can vary widely based on bulb type and usage. A 100-watt incandescent bulb left on for two hours daily uses 0.2kWh, or 6 kWh monthly, while LED lights consume only 8W to produce 1500 lumens (about 25 watts).

Save money on your lighting bill with these energy saving tips:

  1. Use motion sensor lights on your porch, walkways and in dark areas where you’re frequently present.
  2. Turn off the lights when not needed or use a timer to control electrical usage.
  3. Install dimmer switches – this will allow you to adjust brightness levels without using more electrical power.
  4. Reduce electrical costs by turning off all non-essential indoor light bulbs during the day if natural sunlight is available (i.e., open curtains).
  5. If it’s necessary for lighting purposes, use LED bulbs that have been rated at 800 lumens as these are more efficient than incandescent bulbs of equal wattage rating. This can save up to $100 per year!

Improve Your Electrical Efficiency with Art Plumbing, AC & Electric

Looking to cut down on your energy consumption and reduce your monthly utility bills?

Art Plumbing, AC & Electric has been helping homeowners with their HVAC needs for nearly 40 years, as well as offering a wide range of residential services like plumbing repairs and electric installation.

We also offer FREE estimates so we can help pinpoint the electricity drains in your home! Get started by calling today at 1-800-475-1504 or contacting Art Plumbing, AC & Electric online.

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