A single kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity can cost as little as eight cents – but they add up quick. Household energy expenses are a fact of life, unless you have the money to go off the grid. Unlike the cable bill, we at least have the ability to minimize the cost of electricity each month.

After the HVAC system, water heater and lighting, the biggest energy consumers in a home are appliances. These sizable machines require a lot of energy to operate, and some of them run 24/7. How you use an appliance also influences the associated energy costs.

If you want to lower your monthly electric bill there are lots of things you can do to increase efficiency. Before you start making adjustments to your appliances do two things first:

  1. Compare electric rates in your area. Click here to learn more about how to find the best rates per kilowatt-hour no matter how much energy you use.
  2. Consider new energy efficient appliances. If an appliance is more than 10 years old, it’s probably starting to wear down and become less energy efficient. Also, newer technology has made recent models more efficient.

Now it’s time to start increasing the efficiency of your energy consuming appliances.

REFRIGERATOR

REFRIGERATORUnless something goes wrong with the power, your refrigerator is running all day and all night. That constant use accounts for 4% of the energy consumption in the average U.S. home. It’s a good thing refrigerators have continually become more energy efficient in the last several decades.

Ways to Save Energy:

  • ·  Set the temperature to 36-38 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • ·  Keep the fridge full so it’s easier to keep cool.
  • ·  Clean the air vents at the bottom.
  • ·  Defrost the freezer section.
  • ·  Check the seals around the door to make sure they’re intact.
  • ·  Cover liquids and foods to prevent moisture from releasing into the fridge.

DRYER

DRYERThe heat needed to dry clothes requires a lot of energy. Dryers are such power hungry machines, Energy Star still hasn’t found one that’s efficient enough to meet its rating standards. Clothes dryers typically use about 4,000 watts per hour.

Ways to Save Energy:

  •   Line dry clothes whenever possible.
  •   Wait until you have a full load to dry clothes.
  •   Clean out the lint trap before each use.
  •   Put a towel in with light fabrics to reduce drying time.
  •   Use the moisture sensor so the dryer will stop when the clothes are dry.
  •   Dry multiple loads back to back so there isn’t a cool down period.
  •   Use the cool-down cycle.
  •   Make sure the dryer vent isn’t obstructed.

WASHING MACHINE

WASHING MACHINEIt may not use as much electricity as a dryer, but washing machines are used more often. Together with dryers, washing machines account for about 13% of the annual energy use.

Ways to Save Energy:

  • ·  Wait to wash until you have a full load.
  • ·  If you have to wash a small load adjust the water level setting.
  • ·  Use a washer cleaner to keep mildew out of tightly sealed machines.
  • ·  Use the spin cycle to minimize drying time.
  • ·  Wash clothes in cold water.
  • ·  Only use the sanitation cycle when it’s necessary.
  • ·  Use high-efficiency (HE) detergent with front-loading machines.

ELECTRIC STOVE

ELECTRIC STOVESince the oven doesn’t get used as often as other appliances, it’s surprising to learn it uses almost as much electricity as the refrigerator. But there are ways to improve the efficiency whether you’re using the burners or the oven.

Ways to Save Energy:

  • ·  Don’t preheat the oven unless the recipe calls for it.
  • ·  Keep the door closed.
  • ·  Keep electric burners clean so they heat more efficiently.
  • ·  Use the toaster oven or microwave instead of the stove whenever possible.
  • ·  Use appropriately sized pans and pots – smaller cookware requires less energy.
  • ·  Use ceramic or glass cookware instead of metal to reduce heating temperatures.
  • ·  Use the self-cleaning feature after using the oven since it’s already hot.
  • ·  Defrost foods fully before cooking.
  • ·  Cook meals in bulk so you have to use the stove less.

DISHWASHER

DISHWASHERThey may not be large, but the dishwasher is still one of the biggest energy consumers in a home. Roughly 2% of annual energy use comes from using the dishwasher.

Ways to Save Energy:

  • ·  Wait to wash until you have a full load.
  • ·  Skip the “rinse-hold” setting.
  • ·  Use the air-dry setting.
  • ·  Use a rinse aid to speed up the drying time.

Are you on a time-use electricity plan? If so, do your dishes and laundry at night to dramatically reduce the cost of each load.

 

Rose DesRochers
Rose DesRochers is a Blogger, Writer, product reviewer and Founder of Today's Woman. Please feel free to contact me if you are a company with a product for me to review.

2 Comments

  1. When I finally decided it was time to let go of the refrigerator that was pretty much older than I was, our energy bill went down significantly! I used to not believe in the Energy Star rating new appliances come with these days but now I do! I’m slowly replacing our old appliances one by one now.

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  2. It’s sad that these are the main culprits but also the appliances that we need!

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