The ridiculously high cost of gas may be what’s got everyone grabbing pitchforks and torches and calling for a revolution, but gasoline isn’t the only utility draining money away from your weekend entertainment fund. Electric bills are set to jump this summer as well. And powering your 42″ plasma and the rest of those high-tech gadgets you bought back when you actually had equity in your home to borrow against, is gonna cost you. Especially if you’re not watching how you use it, or don’t realize where it’s being wasted.
According to recent studies, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that the average family household is spending nearly $2,000 per year in utility costs. And wasteful kitchen appliances alone are at fault for almost half of these costs. That’s a whole bunch of Benjamins that could be back in your pocket. So here are some tips to help you reduce your need for the juice, and give you a greener (as in more money) summer.
1 – Only use your clothes washer when you have large loads to do and avoid using warm/hot water unless necessary. And if that means buying more boxers to make it to the weekend, so be it.
2 – Avoid overheating by allowing a space of at least one inch between the wall and the back of the refrigerator. This will help allow air to circulate and control the temperature.
3 – Try to steer clear of placing your fridge by areas that produce heat. Radiators, vents, heat ducts, stoves, and even sunlight from your windows can cause the unit to use more power than needed.
4 – Check the temperature of both your fridge and freezer regularly. Keep the fridge between 35 and 38 degrees and your freezer at 0 degrees.
5 – Make sure your door and windows are closed while the unit is running.
6 – Change your filters on a regular basis. A build up of dirt can hinder its performance causing the unit to use more energy to do its job.
7 – Keep it in a centered area by making sure it isn’t near walls, furniture or dusty areas.
8 – Try to prevent washing small loads. Larger loads will use less water and electricity.
9 – Only use standard options. Pre-rinse, heat-dry and rinse-hold are simply extra features that tend to use more energy.
10 – Make sure that any way for air to escape is closed off. This would include open windows and doors. And check for, and seal off, any large gaps in doorways and windows.
11 – Set your timer for temperature control. No need to keep the place cool while you’re at work.
12 – Select the correct unit for the size of your room. Going bigger is not be the best choice here.
And if you’re in the market for some new appliances… Realizing something needed to be done about rising energy costs, the EPA along with the US Dept of Energy (DOE) created a classification system called Energy Star. (The government actually helping? I’m stunned.) This system is designed to pinpoint domestic appliances that are more energy efficient, boost air quality and decrease utility bills.
Although appliances equipped with the Energy Star label can potentially cost up to 40% more than standard models, they can save up to half of the daily energy you use. So not only are you saving money in the long run, but you’re helping to protect our environment.
Here’s the 411 for qualified models to help guide you before you buy:
Energy Star Clothes Washer:
While using 50% less water, these washers also extract more water from your clothes in the spin cycle to help reduce drying time, as well as reducing normal wear and tear. Up to 40% less electricity and $110 can be saved each year.
Energy Star Refrigerators:
The energy these refrigerators consume is at least 40% less than standard models and that means you can save nearly $150 every year.
Energy Star Dehumidifier:
Save up to $30 on your yearly costs while using approximately 20% less power.
Energy Star Dishwasher:
You can save $90 over the dishwasher’s average lifetime and by using half the water of regular models, reduce over 40% of the energy used.
Energy Star Air Conditioner:
Over its lifetime, you can save $250 while using 10% less energy than standard models.
Information provided by PartSelect.com, an appliance parts retailer.