Reducing Your Energy Consumption

Reducing your home energy costs is not as difficult as it may seem. We are all sold on new ways to save on costs as a fight against energy companies through alternatives like solar, LED lighting, new energy-efficient computers and TVs, attic insulation, HVAC, and so much more.

But what if I could teach you some ways you could reduce how much you pay to energy companies just by understanding more about what you already have in your home. Purchasing new things that will reduce costs is not the issue and is encouraged, but let’s look at saving money with what you already have in your home first.

The first thing we want to look at before anything is identifying which appliances have the “Energy Star Certification” stamp of approval on your appliances. Generally speaking, if this certification is not on your appliance, this might be the first red-flag as it means it is an old appliance or might not have passed the test because it used cheap and energy-draining parts, which was affordable upfront, but costly down the road.

The second thing before we dive into the real tips is identifying the age of your appliances. Old appliances past their usual lifespan need to be taken care of, either through replacing their parts or replacing the appliance as a whole. 

With that being said, let’s dive deep into simple appliance-saving tips. 

Appliance Energy Tips & Strategies

Refrigerator 

This is a tip for new refrigerator buyers and to bring awareness to current refrigerator owners. The way your refrigerator was built and your freezer’s location can determine how much energy is consumed from your fridge. 

Here’s what I mean.

There are generally three types of refrigerator types, top-mounted, bottom-mounted, and side-mounted, each with its pros and cons. Refrigerators come with a similar build, where all the significant parts’ are located at the bottom of its body.

Top-mounted is freezers placed on-top of your refrigerator located away from the significant parts’ and are considered the most energy-efficient types. However, compared to bottom-mounted and side-mounted, these are less energy-efficient because it is closer to these ‘major parts.’

These significant parts consist of parts like compressors and evaporators, which are all high in temperature used to turn liquid refrigerant (coolant) into gas circulated by the evaporator fan. 

Because these ‘major parts’ are high in temperature, imagine if they were located near the freezer? The high temperature would need to use more energy to compensate for the cold air that comes from the freezer. This extra effort causes your bottom-mounted refrigerator to burn more energy and, as a result, causes your monthly energy bill to increase.

Stoves & Cooktops

Gas and electric stoves/cooktops are often the two options homeowners will decide between, but we forget that many other alternatives might be better suited for what they are looking for.

Gas stoves are often chosen over electric ones because natural gas is cheaper than electricity, and it is much easier to clean and control temperatures. However, electric stoves are less expensive as an upfront investment, are easier to use, and are considered safer than gas.

While gas and electric stoves do have their pros and cons, I want to introduce a new type of stove known as induction stoves. Induction stoves are still electric but use less electricity at a much faster rate.

Induction stoves only heat your cooking ware and food and don’t heat the counter-top because of a physical mechanism known as electromagnetism. The heat is only attracted to ferrous cooking ware, cooking pots, and pans made of our iron. While a traditional electric stove can take anywhere from 5-10 minutes to heat and cook a meal, induction stoves take 1-2 minutes while cooking the food much faster and can change temperature much quicker.

Comparatively, induction cooktops are 35-60% more energy-efficient, as quoted by many researchers.

Microwaves Vs. Toaster Ovens

Microwaves are a standard for purchasing kitchen appliances, but what we see today is how it differs between toaster ovens and oven ranges.

Microwaves get the job done a lot faster than any kitchen appliance because it uses radiation to heat-up water molecules in the food to heat the dish more quickly. Although it heats food faster, it doesn’t always taste the best compared to cooking or baking it in a toaster oven or oven range.

To give you perspective, a microwave can use around 800-1200 watts to heat a meal, while a toaster oven will use 1200 – 1400 watts, and an oven range will use 1500 to 2400 watts of energy.

This comparison is relatively easy to tell even when cooking. An oven takes 5-10 minutes to pre-heat and will take another 30-40 minutes to cook a meal, if not longer.

If we were to compare these three alternatives, we find that the toaster oven tends to provide the highest quality meal for the right amount of energy. It doesn’t cost or use as much as a microwave, and it uses natural gas to cook your meals, making it fresher than just warming it up.

Conclusion

We will be adding to this list as we come up with more innovative ideas for homeowners to reduce their energy costs and live healthier lives using their appliances. I hope this helped!