Whether it’s home insurance or energy costs, saving money is the important part. We continue the series on energy costs, looking at options to cut down on utility bills and improve the home overall. In this article we approach the topics of appliances and electronics, to get you started in this area of many choices.
Shopping for Appliances
When you purchase an appliance, you should be aware of how much energy it will consume. After all, appliances make up approximately 17% of your household’s energy consumption – you’ll pay for it for the next 10-20 years if you don’t make a good choice.
The most important thing to look for is the label designating the item in the Energy Star program. This will serve as a quick and easy way to see if the product is energy efficient; these products go above and beyond the minimum requirements.
Be sure that you purchase the item for your household. For instance, if you purchase a furnace that is too large for your home, it will cost more and operate inefficiently. Don’t get into this type of thought process; it can be risky for your finances both now and later.
While we don’t have time to get into specifics, evaluate each appliance to look for ways to save energy/money. For instance, air drying your dishes and only washing full loads in the dishwasher. Surely you can imagine the wealth of interesting tips for each appliance that can equal big savings.
You guessed it: shop for Energy Star products here as well, in order to identify items that can help you save money on energy costs.
Your office alone could be a great place to start: computers, copiers, fax machines, monitors, multifunction devices (copier, scanner, fax), printers, and scanners will bear the label. Aside from the office, you can begin introducing energy-conscious products with the Energy Star label around the home: cordless phones, televisions, VCR/DVD players, home audio, and set-top boxes.
Make sure that the product is off when not in use. Screen savers, for instance, do not save energy. You should also look at unplugging objects when they are not in use; powered devices will commonly (like laptops) draw power when they are plugged in. Alternatively, look at smart power strips that will take care of the problem automatically, detecting this sort of situation.
Batteries can even make a difference. If you haven’t integrated rechargeable batteries into your household and mobile products, where applicable, these are more cost-effective than disposable batteries. Be sure that you are disposing them in the right way, if you do use the latter type of batteries.
Overall, it is important to keep in mind Energy Star products, which are a wonderful way to guide you to energy-efficient products. You should also be mindful of how products are being used, such as keeping your desktop computer on all the time (already consume more energy than laptops), along with many other household items that can drain energy – and your energy bills.