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Going green sounds like a big, lofty goal. For many, it brings thoughts of installing solar panels or upgrading entire HVAC systems to be more eco-friendly. While these are helpful tasks, there are many little things you can do right now to “go green” at home. If you want to make a big difference in the environment, start small with these surprising electricity savers.
1. Install a Programmable Thermostat
Your AC uses quite a bit of your energy, and so does electric heat. In fact, the Residential Energy Consumption Survey indicates that 48 percent of the energy use in American homes comes from heating and cooling spaces. A programmable thermostat allows you to set your system to a more eco-friendly level, so you’re not heating and cooling it too much when you’re sleeping or away from home.
2. Turn on the Ceiling Fan (and Turn It off Too)
A ceiling fan is a great way to make you feel cooler in a room even when the air conditioner is set at a higher temperature. However, ceiling fans only help if you’re actually in the room, because they don’t actually lower the temperature. They simply change the way you feel. When you leave the room, turn the fan off. You’ll save about $7 a month on electricity by not running it when you’re not enjoying it.
3. Vacuum Refrigerator Coils
A refrigerator’s coils, often on the back of the refrigerator, are essential to its cooling process, and they’re also a dust and dirt magnet. Many people forget about them, because they are completely out of sight. Once every three months, pull the refrigerator out and clean the coils with the vacuum. This will help your refrigerator use less energy. Set a reminder on your phone so you don’t forget this important task.
4. Check for Energy Vampires
When you plug an electronic into the wall, your electricity will constantly flow through the cord, to the device, and back to the wall. If the device is off, this cycle continues, and some of the electricity is lost. In fact, as much as 75 percent of the electrical use from your home electronics occurs when the device is off, and these are called “energy vampires.” There are two easy ways to stop this problem. First, consider plugging all of your devices into surge protector power strips. When you’re not using them, switch the strip off. A smart power strip is another option. These will cut the power to the devices when you turn the device off, so you don’t have to remember to switch the strip on and off.
Saving electricity at home starts with making smart choices. Use these ideas, and start watching your energy bills drop.