Saving energy saves you money on your electrical bills. Bill Lutz, an electrician with Generation 3 Electric in Philadelphia; shares some simple tips you can take today to save electricity.
Install Ceiling Fans
Fans are much cheaper than air conditioners and will do a good job keeping you cool, so your HVAC system doesn’t have to work hard to do its job.
It is a good idea to use timers in many places in your home. Timers might be a good choice for your basement where you only go to do laundry or for outdoor lights that you will only need at night. They are great not only for saving energy but also for security. Lights turning on and off when you are on vacation are an effective deterrent against break-ins as they fool criminals into thinking someone is at home.
Turn Your Lights Off
There used to be a debate about turning lights on and off. A lot of people thought that the electricity used to activate and deactivate the light was more than the steady power used when the light burns continuously. This is not true. While it does take some energy to power up your bulb, it is still worth turning off your lights. As a general rule, if the light will remain on for over two minutes, you will save money by turning it off.
Do you know it usually takes an incandescent bulb 10 minutes to achieve full power and brightness even with a regular on-off switch? If you do use incandescent or halogen lights, it’s better to install a dimmer to control the voltage that is sent to the light bulb. Not only will you be using less electricity to power the light, but you will also get the warmer lighting tones that many people find relaxing and homey. Slow-start dimmers will also conserve the life of your light bulbs.
Use “Green Outlets”
These are outlets designed for entertainment equipment and home theater systems. You might not be aware that almost all appliances use electricity while they are plugged in, even if they are turned off. This is what is known as a “vampire load.” According to the U.S. Department of Energy, vampire loads are responsible for sucking up to 20% of the energy used in most homes.
Appliances like HDTVs often go into a “standby” mode when they are switched off, which still drains lots of electricity. Many other appliances can drain energy as well, even if they are entirely powered down, just by being plugged in. Special “green outlets” can detect appliances that are draining power and cut off the flow to them, which can greatly reduce the energy wasted.