It's never too late to develop energy efficient habits. This article outlines simple habits that can make a difference in your energy use. These include ensuring doors and windows have an airtight seal, using ceiling fans strategically, installing a clothesline, and operating large appliances at night. We also recommend regularly cleaning vents on appliances (e.g., refrigerators and dryers), installing a smart thermostat, and using programmable power bars to prevent phantom power consumption.
Top energy-efficient habits you should adopt this year
Whether you are a first-time homeowner, someone who has finally paid off your mortgage, or an empty-nester looking to downsize, it's never too late to adopt energy-efficient habits. Adopting these habits can make you and Mother Earth smile because you can decrease your carbon footprint and increase savings on your energy bill.
Saving energy doesn’t always require large and costly updates. Small and simple changes can make a big and lasting impact.
The following are energy-efficient habits that can help you save energy.
1. Ensure doors and windows have airtight seals
Doors and windows are designed to keep heat inside during the winter and heat outside during the summer. But they cannot do their jobs properly when seals are worn. When seals are not airtight, they let drafts in, making heating and cooling systems work harder. This adds to the cost of heating and cooling.
2. Use ceiling fans strategically
In winter, when trying to keep warm, it is important to keep in mind that warm air rises. A ceiling fan spinning clockwise helps by pushing the warm air down to where you want it. In summer, remember that moving air tends to feel cooler. By circulating air, a ceiling fan spinning counterclockwise might reduce the need to use air-conditioning. But even when air-conditioning is needed, moving air helps save energy and cost by allowing you to set the air-conditioning's thermostat higher than you would otherwise.
3. Install a clothesline
Using a clothesline will help you save energy and have your clothes smelling fresh but if the weather outside is not cooperating you can also try an indoor drying rack. When drying clothes inside be careful to manage the extra humidity in the room where the drying rack is located. An ENERGY STAR® dehumidifier is recommended if you regularly use a drying rack inside and the humidity is already high.
4. Operate large appliances at night
Operating appliances at night, including dishwashers and dryers, means avoiding running them during peak times especially during cold winter months. Peak times are 6-9 AM and 4-8 PM.
This small change can help alleviate pressure on our energy grid during peak times. Also make sure you are using appliances with full loads to maximize energy savings.
5. Clean vents on appliances
Appliances need to breathe. When there is no proper ventilation, appliances tend to consume more energy to operate. So, keeping vents clean, in refrigerators, dehumidifiers, and dryers, is a must. Also make sure you regularly replace air filters in your ventilation system and furnaces. The more dirty the filter is, the harder the motor has to work.
6. Install a smart thermostat
Smart thermostats are programmed to automatically control your heating or cooling system for when you need it. Choosing an ENERGY STAR® certified thermostat can save you energy since it enters in a low-power standby mode when not in use. For example, during colder months you can program a thermostat to lower the temperature at night or during the day when everyone is at work or school. By adjusting the temperature based on household patterns, smart thermostats save energy, which saves you money on your energy bill.
7. Use programmable power bars to prevent phantom power consumption
Devices and appliances continue to draw energy if they remain plugged in, even if they are turned off or not in use. This is called phantom power consumption and it can add up, making up approximately five percent of your home's energy usage.
8. Turn off whatever you are not using
When leaving a room, always turn off the lights. Turn off your television if no one is watching it. The same applies to any appliance and electronic device in your home. Remember—when it comes to saving energy, every little bit counts. Why pay for energy you don’t need?
These habits are an easy way to use less energy and save on your bill. For New Brunswickers who would like to take energy-saving a little further, check out the Total Home Energy Savings Program where you may qualify for incentives for making energy efficient upgrades to your home.
How can I use less energy this year?
There are lots of things New Brunswickers can do to use less energy. For example, we can turn down the temperature in rooms when not in use, run appliances such as dishwashers and dryers with full loads, turn off appliances and lights when not at home, or even add an extra layer of clothing instead of adjusting the temperature in your home.
What are examples of energy efficienct products?
Some examples of energy efficienct products are energy efficient LED light bulbs which use less electricity than incandescent light bulbs, and ENERGY STAR® appliances, which use less energy than older appliances.