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Did you know that roughly 50 percent of devices in your home are continuously drawing power day and night? About a quarter of your bill can be attributed to idling devices, what a waste of money! The typical US family spends about $1,500 a year on their electricity bill and today we’re sharing simple swaps that will help save you big bucks whether you own your own home or rent a small apartment.
“The truth is just because you turned a device off, doesn’t mean it stops sucking up electricity” explains Cisco DeVries, energy expert and CEO of OhmConnect. These devices are dubbed ‘energy vampires’ and can run the average household over $400 a year. Cable boxes, game consoles, microwaves, coffee machines and washer dryers are the biggies. Plugging them into a power strip is an option, but you have to remember to bend down to turn it off. A fresh option on the market now are smart plugs!
You can turn them on and off right from your phone or with voice control, from wherever you are.
Use smart plugs strategically. “Think about plugging large appliances you don’t always use like a washer and dryer,” recommends Kathryn Emery, Home Improvement Expert of Be The Best Home. Sync up AC units and heaters too since they are some of your home’s biggest energy hoggers. With the app you can monitor energy consumption at a glance and make changes on the go.
And if you always forget if you unplugged the curling iron, it’s not a bad idea to plug one in your bathroom for hair appliances, too.
Shop it: BN-LINK WiFi Heavy Duty Smart Plug, $28, amazon.com
You may have already switched from incandescent to LED bulbs, and if you’re willing to make another jump for additional savings, look for smart lightbulbs.
These wifi or Bluetooth enabled bulbs sync to your phone and allow you to turn lights on and off without stepping into the room.
You can choose from cool or warm white light and rainbow shades of every color imaginable for custom ambiance. You can set it to simulate a sunrise or sunset on schedule, sync to music, even create a theater mode for movie night.
There’s no need to replace every single bulb in your home overnight – start with the five top light sources you use most frequently and work your way around the house slowly. A 7 watt smart LED bulb can save you up to 80% of energy consumption compared with a 60-watt traditional incandescent bulb.
Shop it: Smart WiFi Light Bulb, $19 (was $27), amazon.com
Task lighting is another great way to save on your energy bill. Instead of flipping on overhead lights, turn on a small lamp when sitting on the computer.
Wireless battery operated lights are great options, too. You can stick them easily to closets, over your sink, and even use as your kid’s nightlight – instead of leaving the closet light on overnight to keep monsters at bay! For even more savings load them with rechargeable batteries.
Shop it: GE Wireless Battery Operated Smart Lights, $10, amazon.com
Speaking of rechargeable batteries, these are a genius swap. Not only will you save cash – these guys can be recharged up to 1,0000 times – you’ll also be looking out for the environment. Use it for remote controls, digital cameras and toys — all the toys. They seem to require more and more batteries these days!
“Rechargeable batteries have an extended life and it doesn’t take much energy to fully recharge the batteries for additional use,” explains Josh McCormick, VP of Operations of Mr. Electric. Look for a charger that can charge AA and AAA batteries and a cut-off function to prevent overcharging to get the most bang for your buck.
It can be expensive to make the full switch, so start slowly. These are a great purchase during big online sale events because the more the merrier when it comes to batteries!
Shop it: Amazon Basics AA Rechargeable Batteries, $33 (was $34), amazon.com
Smart thermostats are just that, they monitor your energy use and behavior to create automatic energy-saving settings based on your preferences. You can save up to 10 percent on your annual heating and cooling costs without compromising your comfort.
The Nest thermostat keeps an eye on the temperature outside so it can adjust settings accordingly to keep your temperature settings in check.
It also has a motion detector that can sense you’re not home and will enable the Away mode to save you money. Turning your home’s energy on and off is super simple, too. A few taps on the app and you can ride off into your vacation sunset without cooling and heating an empty house.
My favorite feature? Not having to run downstairs after I cozied up in bed to turn the air up or down – you can change temp settings right from your phone.
Shop it: Google Nest Thermostat, $130, amazon.com
Portable AC Unit
If you’re parked in front of your computer for 8 hours a day, think about investing in a personal AC unit. This one from Evapolar cools 45 sq. ft. so you don’t need to blast air if you’re just at your desk, hanging on the couch or sleeping. It humidifies, purifies and chills the air using evaporative technology and uses just plain water.
I love using personal ACs overnight or when I’m cooking up a storm and the kitchen gets really warm. It’s a nice option to spot cool since it’s portable and easy to use.
Shop it: Evapolar EvaLIGHT Plus EV-1500 Personal Evaporative Air Cooler, $126 (was $149), amazon.com
You might think that thermal curtains could help save you money during the winter, but in reality, they can slash your energy bill year round.
For drafty homes that might have single pane windows thermal curtains can cut your window’s heat loss by half in the winter and curtains with white-plastic backings can reduce heat gain in the summer by as much as 33%.
There are a few different styles to choose from – draperies with a lining already attached or lining purchased separately mounted as close to the window as possible. Experts agree that to save on air exchange, look for drapery that falls all the way to the floor.
Thermal curtains don’t have to be super pricey or boring, there are a lot of fashionable double and triple insulated curtains on the market for under $30.
Shop it: Nicetown High-End Thermal Curtains, $39, amazon.com
Video produced by Kat Vasquez
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