Big Energy-Wasters to Avoid with Your Appliances
When you think about saving energy at home, your first thoughts may include switching lights off or keeping the thermostat set to a reasonable level. These are a good place to start, but if you really want to save energy and stretch your dollar to the max, you’ll need to look beyond the obvious.
Are You Being Haunted by Phantom Power?
It lurks in the shadows, and often in plain sight, too, draining you of power at all hours, day and night. No need to call up the Ghostbusters though, you can handle this beast with just a few simple fixes. Often referred to as either phantom energy, vampire power, idle current, or standby power, these slow but steady power-sappers may account for as much as 10 percent of your total household energy usage.
How is phantom power defined? Energystar.gov says it’s the energy used by appliances and electronics when they are turned off but still plugged in to a power outlet.
What Uses Phantom Power?
The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory suggests that an average home has at least 40 devices constantly drawing power at any given time. Think of your home now – how many items are plugged in? Of course, some are non-negotiable, such as your refrigerator or alarm clock, and others, like your pre-programmed coffee pot, just don’t help as much if they’re not ready-to-go at all times.
The largest and most common energy-drainers are devices that are run by a remote control (TV, garage door opener, DVD player, etc.), or are set with “always on” features. So, if you are using these items on a regular basis, it’s probably well worth it to keep them on standby. However, if you’re heading out of town or are using them infrequently, you may want to consider unplugging them in between uses.
Who Is the Real Culprit When It Comes to Wasting Energy?
While it may save you a few dollars to unplug certain items, the better, more efficient way to cut costs has to do with your larger appliances. According to Green Logic Energy, the biggest energy-users in your home are your HVAC system, water heater, and appliances, such as your refrigerator, washer and dryer, and dishwasher.
Is your AC unit running inefficiently? Here are some signs to look for:
High Utility Bills
Your monthly costs should be similar to what you’ve paid in previous years. Small increases are normal, due to inflation and also your system’s expected wear and tear, but huge fluctuations are a red flag.
If the charges have drastically increased, that’s a sure sign that your HVAC system is wasting energy; it’s likely had to run longer cycles to make up for its aging parts, thus costing you more money.
Poor Indoor Air Quality
With a properly functioning AC system, you shouldn’t feel clammy indoors. That uncomfortable, sticky feeling is caused by the extra humidity in the room. If an AC unit hasn’t been properly maintained, its evaporator coils don’t get cold enough. As a result, it won’t remove the right amount of moisture from the air, thus leaving you in a swamp-like state.
To combat this, homeowners will typically lower the thermostat even more, which forces the unit to consume more energy and work even harder.
If your ductwork and air-handling units are not properly maintained, dirt build-up will cause hot and cold spots within the system, resulting in uneven room temperatures room to room.
There could also be an issue with your unit’s compressor.
If you’re hearing rattling, grinding, clanking, clicking, or other strange, unsettling noises, chances are, something is wrong.
If running optimally, your AC unit should hum quietly.
It’s best not to wait until you’re melting in the heat of the summer with a broken AC system, but in case you do, Abbey Appliance in Lee’s Summit can help you out with their famous “Same-Day Service”!
How do you know if it’s time for some TLC on your water heater – or maybe time to get a new one?
Water Puddles Around Unit
Your water heater is not a castle – it shouldn’t have a moat around it.
Water leaks around the unit are a sign of bigger issues and must be dealt with immediately, or you’re likely to experience a tank burst. It will be a blast, but not in a good way.
Rumbling or Banging Noises
Over time, the bottom of your tank collects sediment.
When the unit is heated, the sediments harden and make banging noises from inside the heater.
Water and metal are a recipe for corrosion, which will lead to rust at some point.
Once your tank starts rusting, it’s usually more cost-effective to just replace the whole system.
Hot Water Doesn’t Last Long
Over time, your water heater’s ability to heat up weakens, leaving you shivering with a mound of shampoo in your hair.
Most water heaters last about 10 years. If you’re not sure how old yours is, check the serial number and run it through the manufacturer’s website.
You might be able to get a few extra years out of it, but if you’re experiencing any of the issues listed above, it may be time to throw in the towel (especially if that towel is needed for water heater puddles). Let Abbey Appliance help you make an informed decision!
Tips for Your Other Appliances
- Keep it moderately full, but not overly full. Having cold items inside your fridge will help keep things insulated, but if it’s too full, the air will not be able to properly circulate.
- Maintain the ideal temperature: 35°F to 40°F. Temperatures lower than that are unnecessarily low, and therefore will cause your appliance to waste energy.
- Beware of leaks, as it might mean you have a blocked defrost drain.
- Make sure there is adequate room behind the fridge for it to properly ventilate.
Washer and Dryer
- Use cold water instead of hot; this saves energy and money!
- Avoid overfilling your appliances.
- Always clear out lint after each use of your dryer.
- Make repairs as needed to prolong your appliance’s lifespan.
- Don’t pit your AC unit and dishwasher against each other – run the dishwasher during the cooler hours of the day, perhaps at night before you go to bed.
- Wash full loads to maximize your dollar.
- Turn off “heated dry” mode.
- Scrub down your heavily soiled dishes to prevent needing a second wash.
- Take note of issues such as leaks or improper drainage; these are a sign that repairs are needed.
Schedule a Consultation
It’s frustrating to deal with inefficient or broken appliances. It’s even worse when you have to wait for repairs. Fortunately, Abbey Appliance in Lee’s Summit offers Same-Day Service; most repairs can be completed with just one visit. Connect with Abbey Appliance to explore your options today!