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Seven Subtle Energy-Wasting Habits

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Most people know you could save money on your electricity bill by turning off the lights when you leave a room, keeping your home temperature fairly steady and using energy-efficient devices. However, while you may be consciously taking actions to save electricity, bad energy habits could be keeping you from true savings. Here are seven subtle energy wasting habits to eliminate today.

man sitting at kitchen table while woman unpacks groceries

Unpacking groceries without thinking can lead to lots of lost electricity.

1. Falling asleep with the TV on.

At some point, everyone has unexpectedly fallen asleep in front of the television. However, for some people, falling asleep in front of the TV is a way of life. This is one of many mindless, energy-wasting habits that negatively impacts your bill. This habit can also have negative impacts on your quality of sleep, according to the National Sleep Foundation. To save energy and improve your sleep, step away from the screen at least an hour before you want to go to sleep to give your body time to prepare for sleep. If you are someone who needs the sound of the television to fall asleep, try using the sleep timer function on your television so that the tube turns off on it’s own, even if you’re already snoring.

2. Browsing the refrigerator with the door open.

When you’re bored or hungry, how often do you find yourself standing in front of the fridge, searching for something tasty? While opening the refrigerator to quickly grab a snack is normal, expected and inevitable, browsing the fridge for extended periods of time can seriously impact the amount of energy your energy consumption. The longer you keep the fridge open, the more cold air escapes. As large amounts of cold air escape, your refrigerator has to work overtime to re-chill the air. To avoid both unnecessarily scouring the fridge and eating out of boredom, keep some healthy snacks available on countertops or in cabinets, such as almonds or multi-grain crackers, as well as fruits and vegetables that don’t need to be refrigerated, such as bananas, apples, oranges, tomatoes and cucumbers.

3. Keeping fans on in empty rooms

Fans are a great option for improving the comfort of your home, but keep in mind that fans cool people, not rooms. Keeping a fan running in a room that no one is in is a waste of energy. When it comes to bedrooms, instead of running a fan all day, instead turn on the fan ten minutes before bed to achieve the same cooling result.

4. Closing too many interior doors.

In an effort to keep the heat or AC “contained” in specific rooms, people tend to keep the doors to those rooms shut. However, if you have central air conditioning, the more doors you close, the less efficient your system will run, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Because central AC uses a blower fan, the system is balanced to keep the whole house cool. When you shut too many interior doors, you keep the system from working efficiently. The exception to this rule is if you have window or portable AC units. These systems are designed for smaller spaces and provide the best results when used in closed off area.

5. Not adjusting to the weather.

In order to be energy-efficient, most households have two temperatures: the summer temperature and the winter temperature. However, when you set those temperatures and then forget about your thermostat for a few months, you fail to account for swings in the weather between the seasons that can impact the temperature, comfort and energy-efficiency of your home. To increase comfort and stay energy-efficient, you can adjust to the weather by wearing more or less clothing, opening or closing windows or even turning off your air completely if the weather allows. Additionally, adjusting to the weather means adjusting your activities to maximize efficiency. For example, in the summer it is advantageous to bake and use the oven after dark to avoid overworking your air conditioner. The heat produced by the oven works directly against the air conditioning, but if it is cool enough at night, you can open windows to let the heat escape without sacrificing comfort.

6. Unpacking groceries inefficiently.

When it comes to unloading groceries, a lot of small bad habits can add up to one big energy bill. First, try and make as few trips to the car as possible, and do not leave the door open while you’re doing so. Every time you open the door to your house, you lose the warm or cool air your HVAC system worked hard to make. Instead, carry more at once, and take the time to open and close the door during every trip. Next, put all your frozen and refrigerated foods away at once. By tackling all the cold items at once, you reduce the number of times you have to open the fridge and freezer doors, and thus reduce the amount of cold air that needs to be recovered.

7. Not covering windows

Keeping your windows bare has implications in both hot and cold weather. In hot weather, sunlight can shine through the window unobstructed, which raises the temperature of your house. If sunlight is shining directly on electronics, it can cause those devices to overheat, or cause them to use more energy to operate fans to stay cool. In the cold weather, lack of blinds or curtains can make drafty windows feel worse because there is no barrier to block the chill. If blinds are outside of your budget, consider picking up some curtains to help better protect your space from the shifting weather. Or, check out more energy saving window treatments from The Craftsman Blog.

How many of these subtle energy-wasting habits are you guilty of? Share with us on Facebook!

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