6 Ways Energy Vampires Suck Up Your Energy and How to Stop Them
It doesn’t have to be Halloween to see a vampire lurking in your midst. Wasted electricity costs Americans more than 3 billion dollars every year. Old or inefficient heating systems cost billions more. If you are living on a budget or concerned about the environment, then you need to go through your home and find the energy vampires that are needlessly sucking energy and driving up your bills, saving you hundreds of dollars a year.
1. Electronic Devices
“Standby mode” is not the same as “off”! Putting an electrical device into standby mode leaves it continually using power, even while it seems to be doing nothing. A computer in standby mode can use more than 300 kilowatt-hours a year. Keeping your DVD player in standby to record a show keeps the device powered just so it can keep track of the time while it is waiting. These and other standby mode energy vampires could be costing you as much as $400 a year.
You should shut off all your electronic devices when they are not in use. You should also unplug your phone, camera, and laptop chargers when they are not actually being used. Unplug all your adapters as well. These devices keep drawing power as long as they are plugged in.
2. Windows and Attics
Unsealed windows, doors and attics are also often energy suckers as well. Energystar.gov states that “The attic is usually where you can find some of the largest opportunities to save energy in your home. By air sealing in your attic, you can stop many major air leaks and help to maintain the desired temperature throughout your home. Combined with attic insulation, air sealing can help to alleviate the formation of dangerous ice dams in the winter.”
Seal them with plastic in the winter prevent warm air from escaping through the gap between frame and window. You should also seal your attic entrance with plastic during the winter. Warm air rises, so sealing off the attic will keep it in the parts of your house that you live in.
You should also check that your windows and door are not leaking air. Caulk, weather stripping, and draft excluders at the bottoms of outside doors during weather extremes can help tremendously.
Your furnace may be one of the worst energy vampires in your entire home. Dirty air filters may be impairing its efficiency and wasting power. Check them, clean them, and/or replace them if they can’t be cleaned. You should also run your hands over the heating ducts while the furnace is running, feeling for leaks of warm air. If you find one, seal it with aluminum tape (found at your local hardware store). It is designed for use in hot areas. Never use duct tape for this repair. As many uses as it has, it doesn’t stick very well to warm ducts.
4. Water Heaters
You should also check the temperature setting on your water heater. Chances are, it is set above 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This is higher than it actually needs to be. Setting it to 120 degrees will still give you comfortably warm water and it can also saving you hundreds of dollars a year.
Want to save even more? Turn off electric heaters and turn down gas heaters if you are out of the hours for extended periods of time, like vacations or business trips. You should also wrap your water heater in an insulating jacket. By increasing the insulation, you can slow down heat loss through the water heater walls.
Buy a programmable thermostat and set it to save you money while you’re asleep or away from house. Modern thermostats have a pre-programmed energy-saving setpoint that you can use as a guide that allows for setting the temperature back in the winter and up in the summer. It also may have a vacation setting to maintain energy-saving temperatures when you are gone for several days.
If you want to save even more. Ceiling fans can help circulate energy. Also, don’t run your heat or air conditioning when the windows are open.
6. Exhaust Fans
You should try to avoid using exhaust fans unless you really need it. These push warm air outside in the winter, and cool air out in the summer. This makes your furnace or air conditioner work overtime.
Need help with optimizing your home?
With a little effort and the change of a few habits, you can cut your energy bills and leave less of a footprint on the environment. You can use the money that defeating these energy vampires can save you for much more necessary or enjoyable purposes.
Same Day Service Plumbing, Heating & Air can help optimize your heating and cooling, and if needed, replace your entire system with an Energy Star compliant unit that will, in the long run, make your investment pay for itself. Contact us for your help in keeping those energy vampires out of your home.