Most people associate refrigerators, washing machines and clothes dryers as being appliances that consume large amounts of energy. But even small appliances can waste a lot of energy. These "energy hogs" are collectively consuming more energy than ever before.
- Digital Picture Frames
- Mobile Phone Chargers
- Laptop Power Cords
- Plasma TVs
- Videogame Consoles
- Battery Chargers
Full list of "energy hogs"
Five Easy and Inexpensive Energy Savers:
In case you are not in the market to purchase a new appliance, or you still want to help reduce your energy bills while reducing your carbon footprint, these five energy savers listed below will cost you $15 or less.
- Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFL) – $3 to $15+, depending on wattage and quantity
CFLs use considerably less energy than standard incandescent light bulbs, which are actually banned in Europe and soon to be phased out in the United States, thanks to the landmark Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.
An ENERGY STAR-qualified CFL will save about $30 over its lifetime and pay for itself in about 6 months, while using 75 percent less energy and lasts about 10 times longer than an incandescent bulb.
- Air Filters – $1 - $10 each
The trick with air filters is to clean or change them frequently so your air conditioning unit doesn't have to work as hard to pump air through your home. A clean air filter lets your air conditioning breathe, improves air quality and reduces the amount of energy consumed to distribute cool air.
While cheap, 30-day filters can be purchased just about anywhere for a couple of dollars and change, a three-month pleated filter will cost you just a few dollars more. A filter's Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating tells you about the product's efficiency: the higher the MERV number, the more efficient the filter.
Unplugging unused appliances is a great way to cut back on what's known as vampire or stand-by power, which accounts for about five percent of all residential electricity use.
A power strip helps you unplug your items in one fell swoop – which is an energy and time saver. Power strips range in price but you can find one for under $15 at your local hardware store.
- Foam Gaskets – about 10 cents each
You can buy a pack of 10 for under $5, and they will help insulate your building envelope in the areas around light switches and plug outlets on exterior walls. Plus, they take less than a minute to install.
- Splurge: Low-flow Showerhead - $15 and up
Step up your energy-saving game with a low-flow showerhead and save water and energy. ENERGY STAR estimates that a 2.5 gallon-per-minute (low-flow) showerhead uses about 25 gallons of water during a 10-minute shower, saving you about five gallons of water over a typical bath, not to mention about $145 each year on electricity. There are a range of showerheads on the market, so you shouldn't have a problem finding one that fits your budget – and your bathroom décor.
All of these items are readily available at local hardware stores and can even be found in convenience, drug, and grocery stores.