The Christmas season is upon us and each year the shopping list grows a little bit longer. But just because shopping for presents might break the bank this season doesn’t mean your utility bills have to. Smart shoppers already know to take advantage of Black Friday deals to save money on the best gifts, but some still aren’t convinced of why they should shell out now on energy-efficient appliances.
There’s a whole list of reasons to make the investment but, to make a long story short, having an energy-efficient home means that you lower energy costs, saving you money in the long run.
The upcoming sales season also means that it’s the perfect time to take advantage of some Black Friday opportunities and put that brand-new fridge that you’ve been eyeing on your Christmas list. Here’s a list of energy-efficient improvements you could make to your household appliances to increase savings in the coming year.
Replace incandescent lightbulbs with LEDs or CFLs
Do you ever notice how hot your lightbulbs get when you leave them on? All that heat is energy that wasn’t converted into light. Either way, you’re still paying for it. So why not get more for your dollar and switch to a bulb that can save energy?
We’ve written before on how energy-saving LED light bulbs are. For the most part, it takes 60 watts of electricity for an incandescent bulb to do what a CFL needs only 13-15 watts for, and only 6-8 for an LED. That’s potentially a tenth of the cost per lightbulb. Better yet, you can purchase smart lightbulbs like the Phillips Hue, which are not only more efficient, but also allow you to customize brightness and colour from your phone.
Swap out your old fridge for a more efficient model
Your fridge is probably running 24 hours a day and all those hours burning energy add up on your electric bill each month. The fridge is one of the biggest culprits on your utility bill, which is why if you want to reduce your energy bills now, that’s the best way to have the biggest impact. According to ENERGY STAR, your fridge could be costing you $125 every year. Think of all the gifts for yourself you could have bought with that money.
Update your laundry room
Keeping your linens smelling fresh and clean every week hits both your water and your heat bills. Since you’re already making the change, why not change both your washer and dryer? Getting an ENERGY STAR-certified clothes washer can help you achieve your energy conservation goals by using roughly a quarter of the energy and a third of the water. Newer models of dryers are equipped with moisture sensors that turn off automatically once the clothes are dry. One more way that new laundry machines can shrink your budget.
If you have the space for it, why not also buy a clothes rack to dry your laundry? It’s free every time you use it and much gentler on both your clothes and the environment.
Get more efficient electronics
You finally have an excuse to buy a brand-new flat-screen TV. ENERGY STAR estimates that between our constant phone charging, playing video games, or binging TV shows late into the night, our electronics account for more than 10 percent of our electricity bill.
Even when they’re idle or turned off completely they still guzzle energy. So, making a few smart upgrades to your entertainment unit can have a lasting impact on your energy bill. Smart TVs are designed to allow streaming directly onto the screen, so no more hooking up your laptop to the TV for movie night. You could also use digital media players (Apple TV, Roku, etc.) to watch your favourite content on the TV instead of doing it through your video game consoles.
Get smart — Try these new gadgets in your home
You can get all the benefits of unplugging all your appliances when they’re not in use without all the hassle with smart plugs. You simply plug them into the outlets and manage them via Wi-Fi. They can also be configured to respond to personal assistant devices, like your Amazon Echo, so that you can switch on devices with simple voice commands. They are also available for outdoors or large appliances and can have built-in dimmers for your lighting as well.
Or, you could update your thermostat to a programmable one like the Google Nest. If you’re likely to forget to turn off the heat while you’re at work, then you can set the heat to run on a schedule. Want to turn up the temperature without leaving your bed? Not a problem. These devices allow you to control the temperature through your smartphone. This allows you to better control your energy consumption so you’re not wasting heat on an empty house.
For more tips and ideas about how to optimize your home and save on your utilities every month, go to EnergyRates.ca and find the best available electricity and natural rates in your area.