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Blog May 15, 2018

15 Tips for Saving Electricity with Your Kids This Year

Energy Saving

15 Tips For Saving Electricity With Your Kids

Teaching your kids life lessons is not always the easiest thing to do. It seems to be even harder when the consequences of the lessons don’t directly affect them or conflict with their interests. Far too often that’s how it feels when it comes time to discuss the importance of saving energy. It can be a struggle, as explaining where and how your children will need to cutback in order to keep your energy bill under control becomes synonymous with “no more fun”. The good news is that it does not have to be like this. You can help your kids understand ways to save energy while keeping things enjoyable and more importantly, saving money.

To help you do so, consider these easy tips that will reduce your energy output while keeping day-to-day life unchanged:


1. Turn Off The Lights

There’s something about being a child makes us completely oblivious to the fact we need to hit lights off. What’s worse is that if we do not know when the lights are on, like if they’re lit on the second floor and we’re on the first, it could be a while before we find out. That means you’ll likely see a nice little tick up in that electric bill.

Some parents have combatted this by being a constant voice in their child’s ear, reminding them of it each time they leave a room. Others have found success using different methods. Sumitha, a parenting blogger from AFineParent.com said “My solution has been to rely on habits rather than explanations. One simple one is, switch off the lights while leaving the room. Why? Well, we don’t leave taps on when we are not using the sink… it would just be a waste to do so. In the same way, if we are not in a room, there is no need for the light to be on in that room.”   

2. Use Rechargeable Batteries in Their Toys

Purchasing rechargeable batteries is an easy way for you to save serious energy that beats the hassle of having to constantly buy new batteries. Though there is a larger upfront cost than for their non-rechargeable counterparts, standard rechargeable batteries can be re-energized as many as 500 times. That means that in just a few uses they will pay for themselves. In addition, rechargeable batteries don’t experience the same gradual decline as other standard batteries, so their overall performance is better.

Along with those benefits, making the switch to rechargeable batteries will give you the opportunity to teach your kids basic handyman skills – like how to use a screwdriver and put the batteries in. This can be a big step towards independence for kids, so allowing them to take charge of battery replacement can act as a milestone that also saves you money in the process. Who’d have thought their toys could be such a great teaching tool?

3. Turn Off the Video games and Play Outside

While your children spend hours barricaded indoors playing on consoles like the PS4 and Xbox One, it is your energy bill that is feeling it the most. Video game consoles are energy hogs, running up a tab even when you’re not playing them. And while the electric costs are adding up, they’re nothing compared to the bonding time you miss out on with your children.

Remedying the situation has a simple solution: Teach your kids how to have a good time outside. You can make it a seasonal activity, so maybe in the colder months, it’s hockey and snowball fights, while in the summer and the spring you can play soccer and shoot some hoops. The quality time and physical activity can help ingrain your kids with healthy habits and can even inspire a love for certain activities and sports. What’s more, they’re not cooped up inside all day running up the electric bill!


4. Use LED Lights for Your Decorations

LEDs are an incredibly efficient lighting alternative that is almost like using no electricity at all. These lights use about half as much electricity as their fluorescent, incandescent, and even halogen-based substitutes, guaranteeing you big savings.

The usual lifespan of an LED is around 30,000-50,000 hours, dwarfing the typical incandescent bulb’s 1,000 hour lifetime. As incandescent and other types of bulbs are gradually phased out, it is important to teach your kids about LEDs versus CFLs. You can even talk about the “old days” and the advantages LEDs have over incandescent lights.

Consider buying your kids LED flashlights and play hide N seek, tell scary stories, or read their favorite books. Making LEDs a part of your everyday life will establish them as the acceptable norm for your kids and put some dollars back into your pocket.


5. Stop paying for Vampire energy

Sorry to say it, but energy vampires suck your energy 365 ¼ days per year. We’re referring to appliances you leave plugged in. This could be your laptop charger, a video game console, or maybe a charger for your kid’s toys. It’s called the phantom load or vampire power and it refers to electricity consumed by devices that have been turned off but remain plugged in.

Though the phantom load does have its benefits like allowing for quick and easy power-up, as well as maintaining certain settings that you have programmed into devices, some findings suggest that it makes up roughly 10% of your energy bill each month. Put a stake in vampire power by teaching your children that even the small things count. Review with them which devices should remain plugged in and which can be unplugged.


6. Teach Them when they’re Young

Sometimes the key to getting your kids to save energy lies not in changing behavior down the road, but rather guiding it from a very early age. This may be difficult when we as adults momentarily show bad energy usage habits and when it is so easy to forget how observant toddlers and young children are.

The team from bestbabycares.com advised against demonstrating wasteful habits to young children. Instead they advocate always being mindful of what you may be exposing your kids to. By engaging in wise energy habits and then by repeating them in front of your children, you help to make them habitual for your youngsters.


7. Buy Energy Star Devices

Energy Star devices were designed to be energy-efficient products that both save consumers money over time and mitigate the damage done to the environment by harmful energy alternatives. They range from appliances like refrigerators and dishwashers to computers and televisions.

Savings vary from device to device but over the course of their lifetimes, most Energy Star devices have been estimated to save users a few hundred dollars, a nice bonus to the positive environmental footprint they maintain.

In the event, you decide to purchase your children some electronics, make sure they have the big Energy Star logo on the side and explain to your kids what that label means. There are no guarantees as to the total amount of energy you’ll save, but you will save significantly more than you would have if you had purchased similar devices without the label.


8. Don’t Leave The Door Open

Propping the door open for short periods of time is one of the easiest habits to get into. Whether it’s in the process of getting groceries out of the car or stepping out back to let the dog out for a moment, many families fall into the trap of the open door. And for children who aren’t as mindful about it, the door may remain open for extended periods of time.

An open door allows for a gradual temperature shift as the warm or cold air generated by your HVAC system begins to escape your home. To counteract this, make sure your children know that doors must be shut immediately after they have been used. Also, lead by example. The more you display to them that is not how the door is to be used, the more likely they’ll be to follow behind you.


9. Use Fans

Fans are a great alternative to the constant adjustment of a thermostat, as instead of decreasing the temperature within spaces they circulate the cool air around them. This difference requires less energy and can help to lower your electricity bill by as much as 40 percent. The only drawback is that many people (especially kids) fail to understand this and will leave fan running while they are not in the room.

In order to reduce this waste, make sure you explain to your children that fans only have a benefit when someone is in the room with it.


10. Have Disconnected time

Limiting your child’s screen time is no easy feat, especially in this day and age, as younger and younger children have access to technology and a greater need for it in their everyday lives. But while they’re playing on their tablets, using their consoles and charging their other devices, they’re using up precious energy.

To counteract this, there are a few things you can think about doing. You can prohibit certain devices from being in your child’s room so they are not using them for extended periods of time unsupervised. You can also set times for devices to be used, which can help you keep your kids off longer and reduce their overall energy consumption.  


11. Take Shorter Showers

The amount of water used in a single shower can be a bit surprising as showerheads can run through as much as five gallons of water per minute. Not only does this waste a fair bit of water, the energy needed to heat the water and maintain the temperature can also be quite substantial and add up.  

To counteract this, one of the easiest things you can do is reduce the amount of time you spend in the shower. When trying to get your kids in the habit of minimizing their shower time, consider making a game of it. You can set a timer and tell them that the clock is ticking. Just make sure they don’t sacrifice cleanliness for speed!


12. Use Alexa

With the integration of artificial intelligence into everyday life, more and more families are beginning to invest in personal assistants like the Google Home and Alexa from Amazon. These gadgets have plenty of neat tricks including the ability to turn devices on and off. All you need is a smart bulb, smart plug, or smart thermostat and your house can be controlled with your voice alone.

This could be just what the doctor ordered as the folks at the Organic Daily Post found. “Kids love to talk to voice assistants, possibly TOO much. If they can just say “Alexa, turn off the lights” it will get done much more frequently.


13. Take Family Walks

This tip is a great way to get out of the house and spend some time with the family. It doesn’t have to be multiple times a week or long in duration, (a quick walk around the neighborhood is fine), but taking a family walk will give you and your loved ones a relaxing break while also briefly reducing the energy used within your home.

As you get more comfortable with it, you can challenge yourselves to walk further or longer. You can even spin it out to be a walk followed by board games on the front porch or back deck.  


14. Clean Out The Fridge

The refrigerator is one of a small number of appliances within your home that is on all day, every day. With that comes constant energy consumption that is increased when your fridge is unable to optimize circulation within itself, most frequently caused by food clutter.  

Take the steps towards less energy consumption by cleaning out your refrigerator. Figure out what’s good, what’s bad, and what you know you just won’t eat. Also pull your fridge a few feet away from the wall and just give the coils a quick dusting. These tiny modifications should help your refrigerator guzzle a bit less electricity.


15. Open A Window

In the warmer months when your home begins to heat up, its natural to switch on the A/C and allow it to cool back down. The only problem with this is that it often means running it for long periods of time to achieve a reasonable temperature. This requires a lot of energy and along with the cost it incurs, may not be the most efficient way to cool off your home.

Opening up windows can allow cool gusts of wind to naturally reduce the temperature in your home. Parenting blogger Anubhuti from criesnlaughter.com says in his home “we try to avoid AC and sleep with our doors and windows open with all the fresh air cooling our rooms.” To really lock in the lessons, Anubhuti rewards his kids with smiley stickers when they display energy saving behavior and go above and beyond to turn off unnecessary energy consumers.


When it comes to energy consumption, there are so many ways to save and even more ways to pass on the value of making easy lifestyle changes to your children. Though these methods may vary from parent to parent, at the end of the day we’re all working towards the same goal: saving energy. Whether it’s putting things in a manner your kids can understand or relying on the lessons your parents taught you, you can begin taking the necessary steps towards helping your kids understand and reduce their energy use today.


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