Tips for Conserving Water and Saving Electricity at Home
If you’re attempting to save money and help safeguard the environment, you can do both by making some fairly minor changes to reduce your household water and electricity consumption. Try these tips1 and you’ll see the positive changes you and your family can make with very little sacrifice.
Here’s how you might significantly conserve water:
- Upgrade to a dual-flush toilet – This design involves two flush buttons. The first uses about half as much water to flush liquid waste, while the second button flushes solid waste. Using a dual-flush toilet, you might use 20 percent less water and save as much as $20 a year off of your water bill.
- Take low-flow showers instead of baths – It might surprise you to know that a 5-minute shower can actually use 5 to 15 fewer gallons of water than a full bath. Maximize the water savings with a low-flow showerhead that uses about 2.5 gallons per minute.
- Water your plants early in the day – There will be less evaporation than if you wait till midday.
- Use rain barrels – Position them to capture rain runoff which you can then use for watering your gardens and indoor plants.
- Lay mulch – Positioned around your outdoor landscaping, mulch will help retain moisture.
- Xeriscape your lawn – Xeriscaping is a matter of replacing your water-thirsty grass lawn with native, drought-tolerant vegetation that requires less water.
- Consider a green roof – Also called a living roof, it’s pretty much what it sounds like: vegetation grown on top of house roofs. The purpose is to reduce rainwater runoff and keep it circulating in the atmosphere rather than all of it disappearing down storm drains. You’ll want to make sure your roof will support the extra weight.
Here are ways to reduce your electricity consumption:
- Use your washer’s cold setting whenever possible – A full 90 percent of the electricity used for clothes washing is for heating the water.
- Switch to LED lighting – These newer bulbs use as much as 75 percent less electricity and last up to 25 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.
- Upgrade to a smart thermostat – This tech-savvy device can “learn” your family’s occupancy habits to know when the temperature should be raised or lowered. You can program the device from your smartphone for achieving optimal comfort level before you arrive home.
- Take advantage of off-peak hour electric rates – Generally, rates go down in the evening, perhaps after 8pm. So that’s when you should consider running large power-consuming appliances such as washers, dryers and dishwashers--and only full loads whenever possible.
- Shop for Energy Star® appliances – Major appliances that have earned Energy Star certification from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy are the most energy-efficient. Refrigerators, dishwashers and other Energy Star appliances will help save you money on utility bills and have less negative impact on the environment.
- Make smart use of your stove and oven in the summer – Don’t make your kitchen range compete with your air conditioner. Defrost your food first and match pans to burner size so you can run your range as little and as efficiently as possible.
- Run fans rather than AC whenever possible – Ceiling fans and energy-efficient standing fans usually use less electricity than your AC unit or central air. Also, open your windows for fresh and “free” air when you can.
These simple steps shouldn’t impact your lifestyle in the least. However, they might help you save money on water and electricity while doing your part to help protect the environment. We invite you to link to more information on this subject, which you’ll find at the FirstEnergy Home Learning Library.
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