Are you aware of just how much energy you use at home? For the past 3 years I have worked from home. This means I’ve spent more time watching TV, more time using computers, and more time cooking, doing laundry, and generally using electricity. When I worked outside the home we were away from the house for several hours a day so we automatically used less energy. Now when I get those monthly statements from my energy company that basically say that my home is using more resources than other homes in my neighborhood I just say, “Hmph.” But something has to be done. Energy costs are on the rise, but we are not willing to completely give up all of our modern conveniences.

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Since my home was built in 2006 you would think that it would be pretty energy efficient. For the most part I think that it is. Although my kid’s rooms can get a bit drafty in the winter. Still I am always looking for ways to save money and #LiveBrighter around the house. Here are a few things that I am looking to do over the next few months to reduce energy usage in my home. You can use the following tips to direct your energy, and save some money in the process.

1. Get Rid of Old Appliances: Since my home is only 9 years old, all of my appliances are 9 years old or newer and marked as energy efficient. However I had an “ah ha” moment a few days ago. In 1996 my mother-in-law gave me a deep freezer. At that time she had already had it like 20 years. I still have it… and it still works. It sits in my garage. And while I love having it there to store extra frozen goods I bet that it is doing a real job on my electric bill. Can you imagine that energy suck?? I’m quite impressed that a 35+ year old freezer still works! However, it was built at a time when there was no such thing as Energy Star appliances. It probably uses more electricity than everything else in my house. Its days are numbered.

2. Reduce the Number of Gadgets/Appliances Left On or Plugged in: Did you know that your small appliances and gadgets use energy even when turned off? In the past I’ve been horrible about leaving computers on to go to sleep, leaving printers turned on, and leaving various other things like the toaster and coffee maker plugged in all the time. From now on I am going to try shutting down computers when not in use. I am also going to unplug small appliances that I am not using. Some make think that this is inconvenient, but it only takes a few seconds to plug in an appliance. You should definitely do this when going on vacation, not only for energy reasons, but for safety reasons.

3. Swap Out All Old Bulbs for LED Bulbs: I have a lot of fixtures in my home. A LOT. I was curious just how many so I counted. There are a total of 55 fixtures in my home. 55!!! That is a lot! I am glad to have so many options for lighting, but that means a LOT of light bulbs. Only about of dozen of them are lamps that we added. The rest were installed by the builder. And guess how many bulbs that is in all? Wait for it… 108!!! Now of course we never have on all of these lights at once. But just that potential is scary. I admit that in some areas of my home the number of bulbs may make for too much light. For example 6 lights above my bathroom vanity is a lot. So sometimes I install only 3. Or if a couple burn out It’s not big deal. I’m slowly swamping out all of my “old fashioned” bulbs for Cree LED bulbs. LED bulbs are much more energy efficient and can saves you hundreds of dollars a year on your energy bill.

4. Utilize Your Natural Light: This is actually a tough one for me to get the kids (and hubby) to follow. My home is blessed with tons of windows and a skylight that gets a lot of natural light. During the day I like to open up the blinds and curtains and take advantage of all the natural light that I can. But of course they still walk around and turn on lights. Grrr… The same goes for air. If there is a breeze outside I give the central air a break and open up all of the windows and let the breeze flow.

5. Turn Off Lights That are Not in Use: Of course this is another big one with kids. Getting them to turn off lights in rooms that they leave can be a full-time job, but I try anyway. And when I’m home alone I may sit in a completely dark house except for the light in the room that I’m using. Usually if my kids are not home I spend all my time between my office and my bedroom, so all other lights in the house are off. Well of course there is the run to the kitchen for snacks. 🙂

6. Sign Up For an Alternative Energy Provider: There are a few reputable energy providers like Direct Energy. Be weary of those that come door to door or call you on the phone. Do your own research first. Some energy providers can save you money over what you may currently pay. Or you may have a chance to earn points in a rewards program. Direct Energy is the only energy provider to be a part of Plenti. I just recently learned about Plenti. Plenti is a rewards program that lets you earn points at one place and use them at another. This is all within a single rewards program so keeping track is easy. If you sign up now new customers will earn 1,000 Plenti points at enrollment when they sign up for Plenti and link their Plenti card number to their Direct Energy account. Are you an existing Direct Energy customer? You will also earn 1,000 Plenti points when you sign up for Plenti and link your account. Visit the Direct Energy website to learn more about Direct Energy’s Plenti points program.

 

How do you save energy around your home? Please share your tips!

 

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Direct Energy. All opinions are my own.