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Give The Gift Of Space With Mini Self...

Give The Gift Of Space With Mini Self Storage

Do you know someone who never has enough space? You probably do. It could be a neighbour, friend, or family member whose house is overtaken by...

Saving Energy Where it Matters
12 Jun 2016

Saving Energy Where it Matters

Have you noticed your electric bills creeping upward? Maybe you just bought a house, or you’re thinking about a major home remodel and started looking at all the related expenses. Maybe you’re just a savvy money manager that keeps track of the bills each month. Either way, saving energy around the house is a top concern for many people because it’s a major living expense.

Depending on the area you live in and your energy needs it can costs hundreds of dollars every month to power your home. No matter where you are and how you use energy, there are several systems and appliances that are notorious energy hogs. Making a few simple changes could be all it takes to save a significant amount on your energy bills. 

Check Your Electricity Rates First

Before you start analyzing energy use in your home, it’s worth taking a few minutes to analyze your energy bill. What is the rate per kilowatt-hour (kWh)? In deregulated areas of the U.S. and Canada, customers have the ability to choose their provider, each of which sets their kWh rate. For example, right now Direct Energy in Alberta is offering rates as low as 6.99 cents per kWh. With a lower rate, you’ll pay less for energy without having to change anything else.

Now, on to the appliances and electronics that are using the most energy day in and day out.

The Biggest Energy Users Around Your Home – And Ways to Reduce the Use

HVAC System

The heating and cooling system is by far the biggest energy user in a home. During summer months when the air conditioner is running most of the time, you’ll notice a huge jump in your monthly utility bill. These massive systems need a fair amount of energy to control the climate in a home.

Replacing the system will cost thousands of dollars, which is more than most homeowners have saved for home repairs. But you can make huge improvements without replacing everything. The first step is to have a professional come out to do an annual check. They can clean things up, repair leaks in the ductwork and recharge the Freon to make the system work less while providing better climate control.

Weatherizing your home is also very important. Dozens of air leaks could be present around doors, windows and vents. All it takes is a tube or two of caulk and weather stripping to plug the leaks that are letting cool air out and hot air in.


This one makes a lot of since given that the refrigerator has to constantly run 24/7. According to the California Energy Commission, the refrigerator uses 13.7% of the total energy in a home each year. It’s second only to air conditioners.

Each year refrigerators become about 2% more energy efficient. If your fridge is a decade or so old replacing it could dramatically reduce energy use. Energy Star refrigerators are the most efficient appliances, and some now come with “smart” features that can help you save even more. If your fridge is relatively new, take a look at the temperature gauge. If it’s below, 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius) bump it up to save more energy. Also, check the freezer to make sure it’s at 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-18 degrees Celsius).

Clothes Washer and Dryer

Most homes have washer and dryer connections that make cleaning clothes convenient but can also jack up an electric bill. The problem is less with the machines themselves than how they are used.

Tips for Reducing Clothes Washer and Dryer Energy Use:

  • ·  Wash clothes with cold water rather than hot water whenever possible.
  • ·  Always use cold water for the rinse cycle even if you’re using hot water to clean.
  • ·  Wait to wash clothes when you have a full load.
  • ·  Line dry as much as possible (dryers use much more energy than washing machines)
  • ·  Use the spin cycle to get as much water possible out of clothes before drying.
  • ·  Never dry clothes until you have a full load.
  • ·  Replace old top-loading machines with more energy efficient front-loading machines if possible.


That beautiful LED flat screen may be using a lot of energy, even when it isn’t turned on. TVs are another appliance at the top of the electricity use list. Because of energy efficiency regulations, new models are much better than old ones, but they still add more to the electric bill than most other items in a home.

The best way to limit energy use is to eliminate vampire power. This is energy that continues to be used even after an appliance or electronic device is turned off but is still plugged in. The fix is super simple – unplug the TV. But that may not be convenient if the outlet is hard to reach or you turn the TV on and off a lot. The better solution is to use a smart power strip. These can be used to cut off power completely to various items in the entertainment center all at once. You’ll save even more energy with less effort.

Lan An

Lan An is a professional editor in the field of architecture and interior design. Having a strong desire for architecture and design in her writing career, Lan An attempts to provide readers the most wonderful architectural news and projects.

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