How to Conserve Water & Electricity in Your House

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Energy conservation through your household decisions means saving money, keeping your property value high, protecting the environment and overall remaining conscientious and concerned about the planet. Taking steps towards a more energy-conscious lifestyle can help you and the world around you in the long run.

TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)

Saving water and electricity through your everyday appliances can save you money, energy, and time. Keep track of all of your energy use and adjust accordingly to provide yourself benefits in the long run while remaining environmentally friendly.

Ways to Save Money on Electricity

Given how pertinent electricity is to many functions of households, understanding better ways to use it by making small differences now that will end up with big differences or saving in the long run.

  • Upgrading to a dual-flush toilet, a mainstream and affordable option, can save $14 to $20 dollars per year and up to 20 percent of water. 
  • A five-minute shower can use five to 15 fewer gallons of water than a full bath. Low-fold shower head can save even more water. To save as much water as possible, use a low-flow showerhead with a flow rate of less than 2.5 gpm.
  • Save money on electricity by washing clothes in cold water in full loads whenever possible. 90 percent of the electricity in washing is used to heat the water. 
  • Use air-drying for clothes or dry in only full loads.
  • Switch your lightbulbs to LED ones which use at least 75 percent less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescent lighting. Save money on electricity by keeping lights on only when necessary.
  • Ways to save water and electricity include using large appliances like dishwashers and washing machines only when full, and during off-peak hours– usually after 8 p.m. – when electric rates are generally lower.
  • Upgrade to a programmable or smart thermostat that reduces energy use through automatically turning itself off when it's not necessary. On average, a programmable thermostat save $180 per year while notifying you when to replace air filters all while improving the efficiency of your energy use. 
  • Use a power strip to conserve energy use, and turn them off when they're not in use.
  • If you have an electrical geyser, adjust the thermostat to a temperature between 55 ° C and 60 ° C. Solar heating can reduce the electrical geyser's energy use up to 50 percent. 
  • Use a laptop instead of a computer. 
  • Adjust your monitor's brightness to use brightness as little as possible. 
  • Set your computer to sleep or hibernate instead of using a screen saver when not in use.
  • Turn off your computer if you're not using it for more than two hours. 
  • If you feel your laptop getting warm, fix the internal cooling, keep it away from heat and keep intensive processes in check. 

Save on Washing and Drying

Washing and drying can use a lot of energy because these are things that the average household spends a lot of time doing. You can determine ways to save money on electricity through these tips.

  • Hand wash dishes instead of using the dish washer. 
  • Use cold water for washing to save money on heating.
  • Using an Energy-Star qualified dishwasher can save annually about 5,000 gallons of water and $40 in utility costs. Though dishwashers use more electricity than hand washing, they save money, water and time. 
  • Air-drying dishes, instead of using the heat-dry cycle of dishwashers, can reduce energy use by anywhere from 15 to 50 percent. Just open the door after the rinse cycle to let your dishes dry themselves. 
  • Regularly remove dryer lint from the filter.
  • Cold water detergents use less electricity. 

Save Energy in the Kitchen

Aside from other areas of the household, habits in the kitchen that depend on how you handle and store food can also be ways to save water and electricity.

  • A lower wattage toaster oven, microwave, crock pot, rice cooker or any other kitchen appliance can save money and energy when cooking.
  • Use microwaves and toaster ovens for cooking leftovers as these appliances use less energy than conventional ovens do.
  • Keep food in conventional ovens on the top rack, where there is more heat. 
  • Defrost frozen foods by leaving them in the refrigerator overnight. 
  • Use glass and ceramic pans, rather than metal ones. They retain heat more effectively. 
  • Turn off plates or ovens before food is fully cooked so that the food may use whatever energy is remaining within it and any residual heat to complete the cooking. Your oven retains heat for up to 30 minutes after heating is turned off. 
  • Don't use pots with distorted bottoms. These pots don't allocate heat to all parts of the food as effectively as they could. 
  • Use pressure cookers for cooking food for a long time. 
  • Boil water in a kettle rather than a stove pot. 
  • Fix your refrigerator door seals so that they close properly and keep food cool. 
  • Set your refrigerator temperature between 0 ° C and 5 ° C.
  • Keep your food in your refrigerator slightly apart from one another to let air circulate appropriately. 

Save on Heating and Cooling

Taking advantage of how heating and cooling that keep you comfortable can be used to create more cost-effective and environmentally-friendly solutions to your needs.

  • Don't preheat the oven unless the food requires high temperatures or a long cooking time.
  • Using a ceiling fan instead of a thermostat for keeping cool can use only about 10 percent of the energy a central air conditioner might. 
  • Install energy efficient windows to take advantage of your house's location and architecture for heating and cooling purposes. As one example, homes in cold areas may use windows that use gas to reduce heating expenses. Storm windows either inside or outside of the house may reduce heat loss by 10 to 20 percent. 
  • When your home isn't occupied, adjust your thermostat accordingly to save money. 
  • Ensure your house is properly insulated using fiber glass or insulator and any air leaks are sealed. In warmer climates, your heat resistance can be much lower when compared to colder areas. 
  • Don't block radiators. Let their energy be put to use, or lower their energy use. 
  • Add an insulating blanket to water heaters so they can retain heat more easily. 
  • Paint your walls using light colors. These colors don't absorb sunlight as much as dark colors do, so they can reduce heat usage. 
  • Make sure your doors have appropriate weather stripping to retain heat. 

Other Ways to Save

Saving can come in many forms. Thinking about your lifestyle choices can lead to greater benefits that can give you even more ways to save water and electricity.

  • General good habits include unplugging devices not in use, shutting curtains and closing doors to prevent heat loss and taking colder showers. 
  • Use hand-operated devices over electric ones.
  • Make sure you only buy appliances and other materials for the size you need. 
  • Remain mindful about how much energy, electricity, water, heat and time you use. Make sure you can find appropriate alternatives that much your living situation and its unique needs. 
  • Perform routine inspections on parts of your housing as they relate to how much money and energy you use, including how much heat is lost through your attic. Keep close check on how much energy is used.
  • Analyze how your house's architecture, design, appliances, insulation and other features can best fit your lifestyle, habits, needs and whatever else is relevant.
  • Check your pipes for leaks, dust off the coils behind refrigerators and inspect your air condition systems.

Making a Difference in the World

Sometimes coming to terms with making more environmentally friendly and economically smart decisions come down to changing habits and actions psychologically. For example, you may enjoy taking long, hot showers so understanding what prompts these behaviors and working to fix them can save you money and energy in the long run. It can also mean changing your priorities so you can use energy more effectively.

Ask yourself how much you need or want in your day-to-day habits and figure out the most optimal way to reduce energy from these actions. Communicating to others on ways to save money and energy through methods such as creating a save water and electricity poster or some other way to reach a larger audience can make a better difference in the world.

References

About the Author

S. Hussain Ather is a Master's student in Science Communications the University of California, Santa Cruz. After studying physics and philosophy as an undergraduate at Indiana University-Bloomington, he worked as a scientist at the National Institutes of Health for two years. He primarily performs research in and write about neuroscience and philosophy, however, his interests span ethics, policy, and other areas relevant to science.

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