Have you ever wondered how much energy you actually use in a day?
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the average household electricity consumption annually is 10,649 kilowatthours (kWh), which is actually down a full percentage point from five years ago. That means a household uses roughly 29 kWh a day. While a lot of us are trying to do our part, there’s still room for improvement and a lot of unanswered questions about daily energy usage. We broke down nine common household energy sources (and questions!) and how you can save usage each day.
1 Light Bulb
I know they last longer, but do LED light bulbs actually save more energy?
Yes, they do! If you ran a traditional 100-watt incandescent light bulb for an entire year, not only would you have to replace it 12 times but it would cost around $132 on your energy bill — that’s not including the cost of 12 new bulbs. The light emitting diodes (LED), however, can run for an entire year on one bulb at about $21 for the entire year.
2 Power Strip
Are power strips still safe to use?
Power strips are an age-old way to provide extra power outlets but you’ll want to be sure to use a surge protector with a high joule rating of 1100 or more. The surge protector itself doesn’t use extra energy, it’s the appliances plugged into it that do. In fact, vampire energy can account for at least 10% of your energy bill. In order to save energy on those appliances, unplug them fully when not in use or turn the surge protector off.
What if I leave the microwave plugged in when I go on vacation for a week?
It’s definitely a good idea to unplug major appliances when you go out of town but if you forget, the microwave on standby would use about 10 cents for the week. A microwave plugged in all day on standby, for perspective, uses about .02 kWh per minute.
4 Hair Dryer
What if I forget to unplug it before I rush out the door for an event?
While a low wattage hair dryer could help you save on your energy bill overall, if you leave your standard hair dryer plugged in all day, you will use about 1.6 kWh.
Should I get a cordless vacuum to save energy?
Yes, the beauty of the cordless vacuum is that it only uses energy when it’s charging. This is the same for robo-vacuums. If you use a traditional, 1,440-watt vacuum cleaner for one hour every week for a year, you spend about $7.50 for the year. A cordless vacuum cleaner’s running cost is nearly 68 cents annually.
6 Air Purifier
Can I run my air purifier while I’m at work for my pets?
Given it’s recommended you run your air purifier 24/7, yes, you can leave it on for your pets but there is an energy cost to this appliance. Because residential air purifiers range vastly in their wattage, you’ll want to first purchase one that has low wattage and is properly maintained. You can expect to pay between 10 and 40 cents per day based on the size of your room.
7 Dimmer Switch
Does the dimmer switch use less energy when the lights are dimmed?
Yes! While the switch itself doesn’t save energy, if you consistently dim your lights an average of 50%, you could cut your energy bill as much as 40% over time.
Does putting my computer to sleep save more energy than turning it off?
These days, almost every home has at least one laptop and they can suck up to $40 a year. Be sure to power off and turn off your surge protector with your office devices to save the most energy. A laptop charger also wastes energy, using 4.42 kWh even when in standby, and 29.48 kWh with a fully charged laptop plugged into it.
What if I keep my TV on all day now that I’m working remotely?
If you must keep it on, be mindful that flat screen TVs are one of the most guilty vampire energy zappers, even when not in use. They average about $41 in energy per year. Try plugging your TV and corresponding components into a surge protector. When not in use, simply turn off the strip and no electricity will be used by these energy-sucking devices.
Small steps can lead to big results. In this case, taking the time to focus on small ways to save energy will result in reducing your carbon footprint and saving money every month.