Change Habits to Beat the Peak
As warmer weather sets in, our thoughts on keeping the house comfortable switch from heating to cooling. As temperatures rise and air conditioners are switched on, ways to improve energy efficiency at home can help you reduce demand, saving energy and money.
Making small adjustments in when, where and how you use electricity will help control your energy costs, and it can also help keep temperatures in your home more pleasant on sultry days.
- Your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system or heat pump can play a significant part in controlling your energy use year-round.
- Most people are not sensitive enough to notice much of a difference in air temperature whether the thermostat is set at 73 or raised to 78. The closer your air conditioner or heat pump setting is to the outdoor temperature; the less your unit will run.
- Each degree of temperature difference represents a percentage of the total cooling load, meaning when temperatures are in the high 80s, you could reduce your cooling demand by 10 to 15 percent for each degree above 75 degrees.
- Fans offer an economical alternative to air conditioning on mild days. At lower settings, a little air blowing across a room helps to bring down humidity levels.
- Central air conditioning can use as much as one kWh of electricity for each 12-minute cycle of cooling. A ceiling fan can operate for about 13 hours on the same amount of power. However, turn off fans when you leave a room because they cool people, not space.
- When it comes to heat and humidity, changing kitchen activities present opportunities to reduce your household energy demand throughout the day.
- All the things that make the kitchen a favorite gathering place in winter can help send your electric meter into overdrive from late spring through early fall.
- Appliances on your countertops or stashed in your pantry could keep you cooler and use less energy. Microwaves use about 60 percent as much energy as full-size ovens, and a toaster oven or induction cooker consumes nearly half as much power.
Share the space
- Today, it is common for everyone to retreat to separate areas, turn on their electronics, adjust their ceiling fans or window unit air conditioners and close their doors to cocoon in their environments.
- Getting control of your energy use to reduce your home’s overall demand can be challenging when you consider the entire house, so bring back family time to beat the peak.
- LCD televisions use 60 percent as much electricity as comparably sized plasma models. One laptop uses about 20 percent as much power as a desktop computer and today’s home assistant devices can play music using about 17 percent of the energy on a component stereo system.
- Energy-efficient LED fixtures, a couple of sets of headphones, and a few rechargeable power boosters for the family’s handheld devices and you have a cool and fun place to share with the family.