Ever wonder why we change our clocks? Many think it is to give farmers an extra hour of sunlight in the evenings during warmer months – however, Daylight Saving Time was seen as a means to help reduce electricity use in buildings.
But how much energy does Daylight Saving Time really save? In 2008, Energy Department experts studied the impact of the extended Daylight Saving Time on energy consumption in the U.S. They found that the extra four weeks of Daylight Saving Time saved 0.5 percent in total electricity per day.
While this might not sound like a lot, it adds up to electricity savings of 1.3 billion kilowatt-hours (the amount of electricity used by more than 100,000 households for an entire year). These electricity savings generally occur during a three- to five-hour period in the evening.
As colder, darker days progress in winter, take these steps to keep energy costs low in your home.
1. Complete an Energy Audit
A professional home energy audit will provide a thorough assessment of your home’s energy use. In addition to a room-by-room examination of the home, an auditor may employ equipment such as blower doors and infrared cameras.
While a professional energy audit provides the most complete picture of your home’s energy use, a diligent self-assessment can help you pinpoint problem areas and prioritize your energy efficiency upgrades.
Weatherizing your home helps you save money by saving energy consumed by heating. Areas to focus on include air sealing, or caulking, air leaks in trouble areas such as ducts, windows, and doors. Improved insulation is another easy way to save money on heating energy costs. Lastly, don’t overlook moisture control and ventilation to keep homes energy-efficient and comfortable.
3. Switch to LED
As the days get darker, we find ourselves flipping on the light switch earlier and earlier each evening. Porchlights and spotlights use tends to increase, too. But energy-efficient LED (light emitting diodes) bulbs can help you save $45 each year. If you’re a long-time homeowner, that certainly adds up! To see the best type of bulb for your home, see this Energy.gov lightbulb guide.
Contact your friendly Mister Sparky electrician for tips on indoor lighting, LED conversion, landscape lighting, and low voltage lighting options to help light your home efficiently.
4. Invest in Energy-Efficient Appliances
As cold weather creeps in, many people opt to stay indoors for entertainment. That could be in the form of movie marathons, holiday cooking, and other activities requiring the use of some type of appliance. Even laundry can consume more electricity, as people opt to run the dryer rather than air-dry apparel on a clothesline.
Indoor activities don’t have to send your energy bill through the roof. By investing in Energy Star products such as cooking appliances, washers, and dryers, you can slash your electric use by (and subsequently, your electric costs). A typical household can save about $575 on their energy bills by choosing ENERGY STAR.
If you’re looking for improved lighting, upgraded appliances, or just energy tips in general, look no further than your neighborhood Mister Sparky. For weatherization 101, our friendly affiliates at Richmond One Hour Heating & Air can help you keep cold air out to keep costs down!