Wasting Electricity - Don't be an Energy Hog

Are you an energy hog? Several factors can affect how much electricity your appliances use. The location of the appliance directly impacts its efficiency. For example, a dryer in a garage often uses more energy than a dryer inside a house. The age of your appliance also has an effect on its electrical usage. An average refrigerator purchased before 1985 uses almost three times as much energy as a newer model of the same size.

Amazingly, according to the Department of Energy, 40% of energy is used while appliances are shut off! Appliances have to be unplugged in order not to draw electricity. Although not on this list, electronics such as DVRs and cable boxes, which are rarely shut off, continue to draw 30-40 watts while not in use. To determine if you’re an energy hog, use an energy meter (available for $25 and up online) to compare your energy usage to the average monthly kilowatts for major appliances:

Air Conditioner(7000 BTU) = 112 kw
Ceiling Fan (lighted) = 41 kw
Clothes Dryer (electric) = 120 kw
Clothes Washer = 19 kw
Coffee Maker = 12 kw
Computer Printer = 2 kw
Computer with Monitor = 32 kw
Dishwasher (w/drying cycle) = 10 kw
Dishwasher (w/o drying cycle) = 4 kw
DVD Player = 7 kw
Hair Dryer (hand held) = 15 kw
Iron = 6 kw
Lighting 7 room house = 72 kw
Microwave Oven = 15 kw
Refrigerator (17 cu. feet) = 110 kw
Television (32 inch) = 16 kw
Television (Plasma 42’) = 45 kw
Toaster = 3 kw
Vacuum = 9 kw
Water heater = 350 kw

There are several practical things you can do to avoid being an energy hog. Consider making the following changes:

• Replace old appliances even if they’re not broken. The three greatest energy hog old appliances are water heaters, refrigerators and clothes washers.
• Wash clothes in cold water only. The majority of the energy consumed by a washing machine is due to heating the water.
• Make sure your water heater is well insulated. Typically accounting for 13% of your total energy use, an insulated water heater can save you real money. Also, an old water heater, ten years or more, typically operates at a reduced 50% efficiency.
• Use a refrigerator with the freezer on top or bottom. Side by side models use 15% more energy. Also, in the door ice makers and water dispensers increase energy usage by up to 20% even though they require you to open the door less.
• Shut off electronics that are easy to leave on and overlook such as DVRs, DVD players, cable boxes, coffee makers, etc.
• Don’t use the drying cycle on your dishwasher.
• Shut off ceiling fans when you’re not home. Ceiling fans running perpetually can cause you to lose money that you are saving from not using your air conditioner as much.
• Use compact fluorescent light bulbs rather than incandescent bulbs. Compact fluorescent light bulbs use ¼ of the energy of other bulbs.

Using common sense and taking the time to think about how you use your appliances can save energy and money. Investing in insulation and newer appliances will also save both over time. Start today taking steps to avoid being an energy hog.

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