Keeping energy consumption as efficient as possible helps keep your energy bills low. Many factors contribute to your overall energy use, and fluctuations in these variables can amount to hundreds of dollars in your energy bill. Consider these strategies to optimize your energy consumption and lower your costs.
“Ghost Loads” Steal Power
Anything connected to an electrical outlet is capable of draining small amounts of current when not in use. Most notorious are power converters that change AC power to DC, electronic recording equipment, televisions, cable or satellite receiver boxes and battery chargers for portable tools.
Follow these steps to reduce or eliminate waste through ghost loads:
1. Buy an inexpensive watt-hour meter and take readings from each idle item that uses electricity. Determine what to do by the reading you get. Test extension cords, too, and replace those that are leaking.
2. Cluster electronic equipment so that everything in the cluster can be plugged in to one heavy-duty power strip with an “On/Off” switch.
3. With the exception of AC/DC converters that provide instantaneous power for critical services, such as lift chairs for persons with disabilities, unplug any that feel warm to the touch.
The Time of Day Power Is Used Makes a Difference on Your Bill
In many states, including Massachusetts and Rhode Island, power companies charge more for usage during the hours that electricity is in highest demand. If you live in MA or RI, get a copy of your power company’s rate schedule and make adjustments accordingly.
Simple changes in daily routines can make big differences. For example, perhaps you can do laundry in the late evening or on weekends. Playing video games, washing dishes, taking showers or baths, and using hair dryers or power tools are other activities that might be easy to reschedule to off-peak hours.
Routine Appliance Maintenance Reduces Power Bills
Appliances that are well maintained run efficiently and use less power than those that are hindered by lack of the lubrication or cleaning needed to keep all parts working freely. Often, maintenance of hot water heaters is totally neglected. Review the owner’s manual and follow instructions carefully.
Attitudes and Habits Affect Monthly Bills
Careful attention to efficient use of all conveniences in your home can make big differences in your power bill. Shutting off lights, closing windows and doors, and choosing quickly when you open the refrigerator door are examples of actions you can take.
Pay attention to water, too. If you have a lackadaisical attitude toward controlling the temperature, flow and use of water, especially hot water, your attitude will show on your bill.
Air or Power Leaks Cost Money
Whether it is a refrigerator gasket that doesn’t seal, a house that lets air in around the doors and windows, or an underground electrical cable that leaks power through cracked insulation, energy leaks cause power bills to climb. An energy professional can help you identify and resolve these issues.
Help is Available to MA and RI Residents
Dupois Oil, located in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, provides power-saving services to homeowners and building managers throughout most of Rhode Island as well as in southeastern Massachusetts. To learn how we can help, browse our web site.