Saving energy and saving money sound like great ideas. But with all the things we have to think about these busy modern days, it can feel like a huge undertaking to make changes to your family’s routines.surge protector with several cords plugged in

Fortunately, there’s no need to make wholesale changes to the way you and your family operate on a daily basis. There are things you can do — small, simple, easy-to-remember things — that will not only save energy and money but help you and your family embrace a greener lifestyle.

Intrigued? Great! There are changes you can make right now to get on a more energy-efficient path that benefits both you and the planet. All it takes is a little know-how and a commitment to creating and sticking with the new normal.

In other words, you’re closer to creating a sustainable household than you think. And with sustainability comes less energy consumption, lower energy bills and, thus, lower energy costs overall.

Here are some tips you can apply right now to create a greener, more efficient home.

Turn Off Electronics You’re Not Using

It sounds simple. But look around you.

Are there any light bulbs burning unnecessarily? Any electronics plugged in that don’t need to be? Do you leave unused appliances plugged in just so you don’t have to plug them in (toasters, blenders, etc.)?

Even if an electronic item is turned off, it still uses tiny amounts of energy, slowly wasted over time. If you utilize power strips, this can be an easily accessible way to keep unused appliances unplugged and off the grid.

Optimize Natural Light

If you’re lucky enough to have ample windows in your home, make use of that natural light. Swapping out heavy curtains or blinds for a gauzy film is a great way to not just lower your electricity bill but also improve the atmosphere of your home.

Ask a photographer and you’ll be told that nothing compares to natural light. During the dark winter months here in Vancouver, Portland and other parts of the Pacific Northwest, making the most of daylight is vital to not just ambiance but health and well-being.

Hang Dry Clothing and Ditch the Dryer

Your clothes washers and your dryer are excellent labor-saving devices. However, despite the convenience, your dryer can degrade clothes over time if used too frequently. From shrinking to pilling, a dryer sucks up energy and abuses delicate fibers.

Whenever possible, hang dry clothes. The sun actually does a better job of disinfecting materials than any detergent. Plus on rainy, winter days, indoor dryer racks are a great option.

However, keep in mind that, when you hang clothes to dry in your home, moisture evaporates into your space and can potentially cause dampness issues or even mold and mildew. Our team at Prairie Electric is happy to help you install a humidity-sensing fan that can pull moisture out of your home to prevent contamination.

Keep Temperatures Moderate

This goes for the heat and air conditioner in your home as well as your fridge. It takes a lot of energy to keep your home warm, so layering clothing when you’re at home can reduce the need for extreme temperature control.

It might also be a good idea to think about adding insulation to those areas of your home that don’t have it. It’s like layering clothing — but for your home! And it’s a great energy saver.

For summertime, consider installing ceiling fans. They do a great job of moderating the temperature by helping circulate air throughout the room. Fans can make a noticeable difference in your utility bills.

Another great idea is a programmable thermostat. This allows you to adjust temperatures when you’re not home. For example, you can program it to turn off during the day and then turn back on an hour or so before you return home. That way you’ll be comfortable and your system won’t be working for no reason.

It’s also important to check your AC’s air filters regularly. A clogged air filter is a tremendous energy-waster.

Finally, a simple solution that does wonders for energy conservation is weather stripping. As the U.S. Department of Energy writes, “You can use weatherstripping in your home to seal air leaks around movable building components, such as doors or operable windows. For stationary components, caulk is the appropriate material for filling cracks and gaps.”

There are many different types of weather stripping. Prairie Electric can help you decide which is best for you. Give us a call if you have any questions!

Get Regular Maintenance Checks

All of your appliances require annual or bi-annual checks to make sure they’re in tip-top shape. If they’re not, you may be wasting electricity without noticing it. These inspections help prevent fire hazards and help you spot red flags before they get out of control.

It’s also a good idea to make sure your hot water heater is operating at peak efficiency. Generally speaking, hot water heaters last about 10 years. Have a plumber inspect your hot water heater to make sure it’s still working properly.

Saving electricity doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. Your daily habits are the biggest driving force behind how much energy you consume. Lower your consumption in small ways each day and your wallet — and the planet — will thank you.

Prairie Electric: Your Electrician in Vancouver WA

For almost four decades now, Prairie Electric has been the go-to electrical services expert for Vancouver, Washington, residents. We started with just one electrician. Now, we operate a multi-building facility with more than 200 of the region’s top electrical workers wearing the Prairie Electric logo.

We work on residential, commercial, industrial, transportation and utility electrical applications. Our quality work and commitment to excellence are just two of the reasons we were named the 2018 Subcontractor of the Year by The Daily Journal of Commerce.

Get in touch with us today.