Though every appliance uses energy, some use more than others. Answer the following questions to understand how your appliances use energy
How long is the appliance on?
Though small appliances like hair dryers and irons use a lot of energy, they don't run for very long and make up only a fraction of your total usage. Some "smart" appliances even shut themselves off if you forget.
Does the appliance heat or cool anything?
Examples include refrigerators and portable heaters. These appliances use more energy than those with only a motor.
How old is the appliance?
Most appliances over ten years old waste energy and have high operating costs. Newer, energy-efficient models can use up to 50% less energy, too!
The best way to keep your appliance energy usage down is to invest in new, energy-efficient models -- especially for large appliances like your refrigerator. Cutting down on the amount of time you spend blow-drying your hair might do wonders for your split ends but it won't cause a substantial reduction in your electric bill.
Periodically test time clocks, thermostats, pump check valves, and other equipment controls around your home. Also check appliances for faulty switches, water or air pressure leaks, and odd energy use patterns. Malfunctions like these can inflate your energy costs and should be repaired by a qualified professional immediately.
Standby Power Loss
Many of your appliances may be using energy even when they're turned off. In fact, this usage can comprise up to 30% of your home electronics energy.
It's shocking, but it's true. This wasted energy, called "standby power loss," is the price of convenience. Guilty appliances include VCRs, electric toothbrushes, cordless phones, instant-on TV sets, and other electronic appliances with remote controls, timers, clocks, or memory.
BASIC FACTS ABOUT LIGHTING
You don't need to be a lighting designer to understand and make use of specialized lighting terminology. The following information will help you make lighting work for you and your business:
Bulb - Though commonly used to describe the entire illuminated object, the term bulb technically refers only to the glass shape or envelope.
Lamp - The lamp is the entire lighting mechanism, including the filament and internal wiring.
Luminaire - The luminaire is the light fixture, whether a desk lamp, wall sconce, or chandelier.
Lumen - A lumen measures the light produced by a lamp. Lamps are given a lumens-to-watt rating (like miles-per-gallon). Below are the ranges of lumens per watt for different lighting types.
5 - 25
25 - 50
20 - 100
High Pressure Sodium
45 - 110
45 - 100
Footcandle - Originally the measure of the amount of light emitted by a candle onto one square foot of surface one foot away, footcandles are now the standard unit of measuring light. A footcandle is equal to one lumen per square feet.
Even though the units are the same, the footcandle is the standard measurement in some contexts and the lumen in others. Photography professionals talk about the footcandles they need to illuminate a subject and electric professionals compare the power and efficiency of light sources in lumens.
Color Temperature - Color temperature describes the quality of light and range from warm to cool. A candle throws very warm light, while daylight fluorescents are at the cool end of the spectrum. Color temperature is measured in Kelvin (K), but higher temperatures indicate cooler light sources. Most lighting sources range from 1800K (a warm candle) to 4000K (a cool-white fluorescent lamp).
Color Rendition - The Color Rendering Index (CRI) is used to measure the effect a light source has on the appearance of colored objects. A "perfect" CRI rating (100) means that a lamp's light is identical to daylight in color quality.
SAVE ON WATER HEATING
To save on both water heating and water, install a low-flow showerhead in your bathroom(s). Easily installed with a wrench or pliers, a low-flow showerhead can cut water use as much as 50 percent and still feel great.
Also attach low-flow aerators to kitchen and bathroom faucets. For a family of four, this can save up to 8,500 gallons of water a year. Aerators allow the faucet to flow stronger while actually using much less water.
Avoid running water continuously while doing dishes, washing up, brushing teeth or shaving. Try filling up the sink and using a stopper instead.
Wrap the hot water pipes coming out of your water heater with insulation. Wrap those pipes nearest the heater first for greatest savings.
Set the thermostat to 120°F or less for normal use, and lower the setting whenever you will be away from home for extended periods. For every 10° you set back your water heater temperature, you cut energy use 3 to 5 percent. (Note: Some dishwashers may require a higher minimum temperature setting. Check your owner's manual.)
Most newer water heaters are well-insulated. However, if the side of your water heater feels warm near the top, you can cut heat loss by installing a water heater insulation blanket. (First, check your owner's manual to make sure that this step won't void the manufacturer's warranty. If the warranty period has expired, this is not a problem.) Make sure to use the appropriate type blanket for your water heater, whether it's electric, gas or oil. Follow the manufacturer's installation instructions carefully.
KEEPING FOOD SAFE AND COLD WHILE SAVING ENERGY
Set the temperature of your refrigerator compartment at 36° to 38°F and the freezer at 0° to 5°F. For older models, check temperatures with a thermometer.
Make sure the fan vent is clean and keep the coils at the back of the refrigerator clear of dust. Dirty coils make the compressor work harder and use more electricity.
Keep the refrigerator door gasket (the plastic strip surrounding the door) airtight and in good condition. If needed, you may be able to repair or reattach it with glue. If not, the manufacturer or a local hardware store can supply you with a new one.
Keep your freezer tightly packed, adding bags of ice as needed to fill space.
Defrost whenever more than one-quarter inch of frost accumulates.
Arrange items in the refrigerator compartment to allow air to circulate freely. Keep liquids capped so they don't add to the humidity and make the compressor work harder.
Keep the refrigerator door closed as much as you can. Organizing items makes it easier to find what you need quickly.
On humid days, use the "power saver" switch, if you have one. When this switch is on, small heaters keep the outside of your refrigerator from "sweating." On other days, turn the switch off.
Defrosting frozen food in the refrigerator helps keep the refrigerator cold.
KITCHEN ENERGY TIPS
When you can, cook many dishes together when using the oven. If the dishes call for separate temperature settings, just set it in the middle. Adjust cooking times rather than using the oven twice.
Cook with lids on your pans. For example, cooking spaghetti without a lid on the pot can use three times as much energy.
Use the smallest pan and burner needed for the job.
If the oven self-cleans, turn it on just after use, while the oven is still hot.
Don't peek into the oven as you cook. Every time the door is opened, a lot of heat escapes.
Seek alternative cooking sources. A pressure cooker cuts cooking time by about two-thirds, and a microwave uses less than half the energy of a conventional electric oven.
Many dishwashers have energy-saving wash cycles that use less water. Using these cycles can save $5-15 per year.
Avoid running small loads in your dishwasher to use less energy and water.
A no-heat air dry feature also can save energy by as much as 15 to 50 percent. If you have an older dishwasher, turn the dishwasher off after the final rinse cycle is complete and open the door. This allows air drying.
Some dishwashers have heaters to boost water temperature up to 140° to 145°F. However, most dishwashers function well at the 120°F setting. If your dishwasher has a booster heater, turn down your water heater thermostat to 120°F.
If you wash dishes by hand, fill wash and rinse basins instead of letting the water run. This uses half as much water as a dishwasher does.
Use cold water when running your garbage disposal. Cold water congeals grease better and keeps the disposal cooler, helping the unit run more efficiently.
LAUNDRY ENERGY SAVING TIPS
Load washers and dryers to capacity, but don't overload. Overloading can cut down on efficiency.
Use the water level control on clothes washers. Use less water for smaller loads.
Use the right water temperature for washers. Washing clothes with cold water usually does not affect cleaning results and may reduce shrinkage.
Follow detergent instructions carefully. Using too much soap makes the washing machine motor work harder.
Remember that delicate clothes don't need as long a wash cycle as dirty work clothes.
If the dryer has an automatic cycle, use it. Over-drying wastes energy and wears clothes out faster.
Clean the dryer's lint filter after each load to help keep the machine running efficiently.
MORE ENERGY SAVING TIPS
For more information on energy conservation visit the U.S. DOE Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). Click Here to visit site.