In the United States, over 20% of our total energy consumption is related to our home and we are the 7th largest per capita consumer of residential energy in the world according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Lighting and appliances in your home account for 10%-50% of your residential energy use. 80% of energy consumption in your home can be directly contributed to your light bulbs, refrigerator, washer & dryer and dishwasher. Below, we are going to talk about the four biggest offenders in residential energy consumption.
Incandescent Bulbs – oldest, most common light bulb to date, but also the most wasteful in its category. The lifespan is only 1500-2000 hours. Only 10% of the energy used go to light these bulbs. The other 90% creates heat, which requires additional cooling for comfort.
Compact Fluorescents (CFLs) – these use less electrical energy than incandescent bulbs. They are approximately 3 to 4 times more efficient that incandescent using75% less energy.
Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) – consist of as many as 18 bulbs clustered together. They have come a long way in their innovation fitting most common household fixtures. They only use 1/30 of the energy used by incandescent bulbs and only 1/3 of the electricity consumed by CFLs. LEDs will last up to 10 times longer and hold up well to jarring and bumping because they do not have the filament like incandescent bulbs. The cost of LEDs are initially expensive, but the cost is recouped over time with your energy savings. High-quality LED recessed lighting products are the new rave today incorporating all the best features currently found on the LED lighting market: energy savings up to 80%, 50,000 hour life spans, great light output and color, low environmental impact and the ability to be installed with a dimmer switched adding ambiance to any room.
Did you know that a dishwasher consumes 1/3 less hot water than hand washing your dishes? 80-90% of the energy used for your dishwater is consumed by the water heater. Some older dishwashers require a water temperature of at least 130° F to get dishes cleaned. Newer models on the market have smaller booster heaters using less water heating energy. Save more money while running your dishwasher by choosing an air dry vs. heated drying option.
Washer & Dryer
Horizontal axis washers use 50-75% less energy & water than vertical axis washer, but costs a lot more. On average, it costs about 10 times more to dry a load of laundry than it does to wash it (so if you ware like many American households that “fluff” your laundry in the dryer 3 times before folding think of the energy being wasted doing that). Ways to save money while doing laundry are:
- Use cold water whenever possible
- Be sure to adjust the water lever to match each load size
- Always clean your dryer lint filter
- Use an auto sensor function if you have one to avoid longer than usual drying
Refrigerators & Freezers
They account for 9-15% of a household’s total energy usage. If you have a refrigerator that is 20 years old or more, you should consider an upgrade you will end of saving money in the long run. When looking for a new refrigerator, you want to consider these options for optimal energy efficiency:
- Manual defrost over automatic
- Freezer on top/bottom instead of side-by-side
- Chest freezer over upright freezer
- One larger over two smaller units
An extra refrigerator or freezer can cost you an additional $100 in energy costs per year. The fuller you keep your freezer, the less work it has to do to keep items cold because the food inside stores cold air.
Lindus Construction / Midwest LeafGuard is a full service contractor specializing in LeafGuard Gutters, GAF Asphalt Roofing, SeasonGuard Windows/Siding/Insulation, Metal Roofing, Decking, New Construction & Home Remodeling. Call us at 1-800-873-1451 or check us out on the web at http://lindusconstruction.com. Tune into WCCO 830 every Saturday at 9am for our Home Improvement Show with Denny Long & Andy Lindus.