Have you ever been curious about how much energy you and your family are using?
Maybe you’re trying to be more conscious about your impact on the environment, or maybe you’re hoping to save money on your monthly utilities bills. Maybe it’s a bit of both. Whatever your motivation may be, the first step to lowering your energy use is understanding how much you typically use and what it’s being used on.
Every home is different and uses energy differently. This is great because it means there is always the potential to be more efficient. If you’d like to know exactly how your specific household is consuming energy, we recommend a home energy audit done by trained professionals. Armed with this information, you can work together with your family to reduce energy usage and lower your monthly electric bill.
For comparative purposes, here’s how the average American household uses their electricity and ways you can reduce each.
#1 Electricity Use: Space Cooling (15.7%)
How much electricity is used for residential cooling in the United States? In 2020, it amounted to 236 billion kilowatt hours. That makes space cooling the largest chunk of household electrical use. Americans are used to controlling their thermostats to their liking for maximum comfortability. Specifically in the warmest summer months, this often leads to skyrocketing electricity bills.
Ways To Lower Use: It is possible to rely less on your HVAC for space cooling by making some minor adjustments at home.
One of the ways you can lower a room’s temperature is by turning on the ceiling fans. It might sound simple but this easy step has been proven to allow you to raise your thermostat up to 4 degrees without changing your comfort level. Sunlight warming your home can make your HVAC work harder. Keep the curtains and blinds closed throughout the day or at least the hours of the day when the sun hits your windows. Why run your AC when you’re not there? Implementing a programmable thermostat, like the Google Nest, in your home will allow you to save money mindlessly. It can tell when you leave and return to your residence, then run your unit accordingly.
#2 Electricity Use: Space Heating (14.2%)
Everyone likes to be warm and cozy in the winter. If you live in an area that sees frigid temperatures, your heater is likely your best friend! But at more than 14% of a household’s consumption, space heating is the second largest use of energy.
Ways To Lower Use: Weatherization is a helpful practice during all seasons to run an energy efficient home. However, winter might be the most important time to be sure your home is built to combat the temperature outside your door. Prevent those freezing temps from seeping into your home and work to contain more of the warm air within it. Insulating, air sealing and weatherstripping your home are key ways to drive down heating costs in the winter.
#3 Electricity Use: Water Heating (11.8%)
The third largest energy expense in American households is water heating. And don’t worry, we aren’t about to tell you that you have to take ice cold showers from here on out. There are other ways you can lower your energy usage while still enjoying a hot shower.
Ways To Lower Use: You can help your water heater retain heat by insulating pipes or adding a water heater jacket. This will allow your system to use less energy to heat up.
Traditional storage water heaters aren’t the most efficient type. You can always switch to an on-demand, tankless water heater. It won’t constantly use energy to keep a full tank of water warm.
Lowering your water usage in general is also a good idea for the planet and for your pocket book. Shower timing apps and water usage trackers are good ways to keep yourself in check and mindful of how much of this precious resource you’re using.
Even putting your dishes straight in the dishwasher can help because you aren’t spending additional hot water rinsing them first.
#4 Electricity Use: Refrigerators and Freezers (7.1%)
Unfortunately, when it comes to refrigerators and freezers, we can’t just turn them off to conserve energy. They’re pretty necessary, after all. But there are other ways you may be able to lower the energy usage of your fridge and freezer that can add up over time.
Ways To Lower Use: The recommended temperature range for the refrigerator is 36°F to 38°F and 0°F to 5°F for the freezer. Setting them colder isn’t required and a waste of energy.
It also might be time for an upgrade. Did you know that if your fridge and freezer was made before 1993, then it uses TWICE the amount of energy as one made today? Today’s appliances have higher standards and EnergyStar appliances are especially efficient.
#5 Electricity Use: Lighting (4.1%)
Lights are everywhere in our home and, let’s be honest, often they’re left on everywhere. Most homes are filled with traditional incandescent bulbs throughout. These are considered extremely inefficient. A lot of the energy used for incandescent bulbs doesn’t even go to lighting- a majority is wasted as heat!
Ways To Lower Use: To cut back on your energy usage due to lighting, updating your light bulbs should be on the top of your list. According to EnergyStar, if you replace the five light fixtures you use most often at home with energy-saving models, you can save up to $70 each year.
Take things a step further and install smart bulbs that allow you to control everything from the brightness level, to a scheduling program for when they should automatically turn on and off.
#6 Electricity Use: Televisions and Related Equipment (4.1%)
The technology of TVs has improved drastically over the years, and they typically don’t cost that much to run. But our nation spends a lot of time watching television and that adds up.
Ways To Lower Use: When deciding what type of TV to buy, have efficiency factors in the back of your mind. You can buy an LED TV, which uses less energy. Or choose a smaller TV that suits your needs. Besides, who really needs a 300-inch TV anyway?
If you already have a TV but are still looking to make a difference, you can conserve energy and spending by watching the TV on a dimmer picture setting, or watching TV less often.
#7 Electricity Use: Computers and Related Equipment (1.7%)
More people are working from home now than ever and incurring home office expenses that the traditional office once picked up the tab for. Additional WiFi usage, computer usage, device charging, dual monitors, and the list goes on. These expenses are costing you money on your electrical bill every month.
Ways To Lower Use: Wherever your home office is located inside of your home, plug your computer and related equipment into a Bluetooth power strip. These allow you to control the power of all devices plugged into it, with the ability to power them all down at the touch of one button. This alone can save you $42 a year by preventing the phantom electricity use that occurs when devices are left always plugged in and pulling power.
#8 Electricity Use: All Other Uses (41.3%)
The largest piece of the home energy pie is the general category of “all other uses.” This includes miscellaneous appliances, washers and dryers, stoves, dishwashers, heating elements, motors and others not specifically stated. Individually, they don’t use a notable amount of energy. But when you look at them all together, it’s more than 40% of your home’s energy usage.
Ways To Lower Use: This “catch-all” area doesn’t necessarily have a catch-all solution. Different tips might work better for different homeowners than others.
For example, to cut back on dryer heating costs, you can line dry clothes if your climate allows for it. Be sure all appliances you purchase for your home from here on out, such as stoves and dishwashers are energy-efficient models. Then overall, you can choose to only run the other miscellaneous appliances when absolutely necessary.
When every household is doing their part to lower their energy consumption, it is the best move for the planet and an overworked, unreliable energy grid. You can take charge of your electricity bill spending by taking these steps to control your energy use.
A trusted company, like Energypro, can help get you started with a variety of home energy efficiency packages to help your household run at its best.
Reach out to one of our energy specialists today.