Solar power systems are becoming increasingly popular for homes. But what many people don’t realize is that, before switching to solar, most experts recommend developing more energy-conscious habits. Reducing your energy consumption before adding solar to your home can help you to reduce your system costs while still minimizing your reliance on the city’s power grid. So how can you cut down on your electricity usage? Here are five tips that can help.
Manage Your Thermostat
Your home’s thermostat is one of the largest consumers of power in your home. Raising the temperature on your air conditioner by just 2 degrees can save you 5% on your AC’s energy consumption. If you can increase it by 5 degrees, you can reduce its consumption by 10%. The same goes for your heater if you have electric heat.
Change Up Your Lighting
You probably already know that you shouldn’t leave on unnecessary lights. (How many times did your dad yell at you about that as a kid?) While it’s still a good idea to make sure you’re turning off lights when you leave a room, that’s just the beginning of how you can change your lighting habits.
Use natural light whenever you can, but try to avoid direct sunlight. Switch your lightbulbs out for LED bulbs instead. Use task lighting instead of overhead lighting; for example, turn on a desk lamp instead of the ceiling light in the office when you’re working. There are many options out there for reducing how much power you’re using for your lights.
Take Shorter Showers
You might think of this as a water-saving tip (and it is), but it can save on power too. Hot water is expensive! If your family of 4 could reduce their shower time by 1 minute every time they shower, you can reduce your power bill by $60 a year. Consider turning off the shower while you’re washing your hair and body, then turning it back on to rinse; if you do this, you can cut the amount of hot water you use in half—saving on both power and water.
Unplug Unused Electronics
Standby power can account for up to 10% of your home’s electricity use every year. These “energy vampires” are everywhere—unused lamps, charging cords for devices, computers and TVs that have been turned off, and so on. While it may not be feasible to unplug all of these devices every time you’re done using them, make an effort to at least unplug some of them. If you’re already unplugging your phone every morning, is it really that much harder to unplug the other end of the cord too?
Once you’ve reduced your power consumption, you can design a smaller solar project, leaving more budget for higher-quality equipment, such as the Generac PWRcell.