Once they’ve switched to solar, a lot of our customers want to optimize how they use their electricity. Whether you want to make some big investments or tweak a few bad habits, here are some ways you can increase your home’s energy efficiency.
Around the house
Beware the phantoms and vampires
Nope, we’re not talking about a new TV series. Phantom load (sometimes called vampire power) is the electricity a device consumes while it’s turned off or in standby mode. According to the EPA, 10% of your monthly electricity usage comes from phantoms like TVs, DVD players, cell phone chargers, computers, and any device with a remote control or power light. Not going to use a game system for the next month? Unplug it. Done charging your phone? Unplug the charger. Going out of town for two weeks? Plug your home entertainment system into a power strip and turn it off while you’re gone. In fact, you can even get smart surge protectors that will automatically turn off power to plugs that aren’t being used.
Invest in some Energy Star appliances
Energy star appliances, like this dishwasher, are designed to use less energy. If you have appliances that are older than 10 years, upgrading can save you money in the long run.
Wash full loads only
Run your washing machine and dishwasher when you have full loads. You’ll minimize how much energy you need, and you’ll only have to take time to fold clothes once!
Turn off heat dry on your dishwasher
Dishwashers consume the most energy when using heat, so let your dishes air dry instead.
You don’t need to sit in the dark to reduce the amount of energy you use with lighting.
Install dimmer switches
It’s more than just mood lighting. With dimmer switches, use as much or as little light as you need. You can check some out here.
Switch to LEDs
LED lights use 90 percent less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs. Start by switching out the most frequently used bulbs with LEDs and then replace the rest as they burn out to spread out the cost. In addition to using less energy, LED bulbs also last longer than incandescents so you won’t have to replace them as often.
Your fridge uses a lot of energy, and there’s a lot you can do to help it run at its best.
Cover your food and drinks
Condensation from uncovered containers makes the fridge have to work harder. A set of drink covers can be particularly helpful if you put unfinished drinks in the fridge often.
Keep your fridge full
Food acts as insulation so your fridge doesn’t have to run as long to maintain its temperature. Guess that means you’ll have to buy that package of cookie dough, after all.
Clean the coils
Dirty condenser coils make it harder for your fridge to stay cool. Clean them once a quarter to keep your fridge working well. We suggest using a brush like this one to keep your fridge humming along.
Don’t put hot foods in the fridge
Hot foods will raise the temperature inside your fridge so it has to work harder to remain cool.
Hot water heater
Your hot water heater works hard all year long (we think cold showers are brutal). Keep it operating at its best.
Insulate your hot water heater
We’ve gone from jackets for people to jackets for pets to jackets for appliances. Really though, you can buy an insulating jacket for your hot water heater to minimize heat loss.
Over time, sediment buildup in your hot water heater can reduce its efficiency. Clean out the sediment a couple times a year through the valve on the hot water heater’s side.
Use a timer or switch to tankless
If you use a traditional water heater, install a timer so that it runs only when you need it. Otherwise, it runs all day. You could also get a tankless water heater, otherwise known as an on-demand water heater.
Solar power allows you to produce the energy you use day in and day out right on your own roof. Ready to get started? Get started with a free energy consultation today.