They sit there all day long looking innocent, as if nothing out of sorts is going on. Yet when you’re not looking, and even when you are, your appliances are robbing you blind. They are just doing it in a way that is difficult to detect, but make no mistake, all of your appliances are guilty. From the fridge to the microwave, everything that stays plugged in is bilking money from your bank account via your utility bill.
But these energy hogs are doing more than running up you utility bill. They are collectively doing a lot of harm to the planet. A little bit of energy waste in your home may not make that much difference to you. But multiply the waste by tens of millions, and it can have catastrophic effects in a given region.
In 2012, California closed a two-year program that replaced inefficient appliances, mostly water heaters and cooling system. Approximately 178,000 households participated. Such programs are only the beginning. Ultimately, it comes down to individuals prioritizing energy efficiency when it comes to appliance purchases.
Consumers are generally motivated by money. Getting the bill under control can be tackled on three fronts:
- Get a more competitive price for utilities
- Purchase energy-efficient appliances
- Live a greener lifestyle
Let’s take a closer look at each option:
Get a More Competitive Price for Utilities
Surprisingly, many people still do not realize that when it comes to utility providers, they can shop around. If you live in Texas, Illinois, New Jersey, or Pennsylvania, you are not restricted to a single provider. You pay for energy by the kilowatt hour (kWh).
There is an excellent chance that there is someone offering an even better price than what you are currently getting. Of course, price is not the only thing to consider. But it is a big one. Click here for more information on different providers and energy plans in your state.
Purchase Energy-Efficient Appliances
Refrigerators, washers, and dryers are big, obvious candidates for an efficiency upgrade. Everyone knows how much power those machines abuse. However, the real culprits may be the small appliances that quietly go unnoticed everyday. Forbes had this to say about the matter:
Digital picture frames are small, so it’s hard to think of them as energy hogs. But if each U.S. household had one of these frames running around the clock, it would take five power plants to run them all, says the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), an electricity-focused research and development nonprofit.
This piece also goes on to point out energy vampires like printers and speakers. They are so called because they are sucking up energy even when they are not on. Mobile phone chargers and laptop adapters also qualify, as they are trickling energy even when nothing is plugged into them. Bottom line: no appliance is too small for energy considerations
Live a Greener Lifestyle
Finally, we come to the place where these types of articles always end up. Whether it be energy efficiency or personal finance, the ultimate solution is that we have to change our lifestyle to enjoy lasting change.
You don’t actually have to take a 30 minute shower at the hottest temperature you can stand. You don’t have to wash an item of clothes after just one wearing. These energy saver tips from the U.S. government are a good place to start figuring out how you can do your part.
We all have a part to play. Your energy consumption is not strictly a private matter between you and the power company. It is a community matter, as energy is a limited, shared resource. We might one day figure out how to get usable energy out of dark matter. But until then, we have to manage the resources at our disposal. It is up to each of us to manage those resources with care.