Every homeowner wishes to conserve energy within their home, and living a more eco-friendly lifestyle has moved to the conscious of families everywhere. Modernize knows that developing a plan to implement this into your life can be a head-scratcher. Some of your home’s big energy suckers are obvious, but some are more hidden. It can be hard to recognize what appliances consume the most energy with no way to track each device. Ideally you would replace your appliances with new energy-saving models, but that may not be financially possible. By following these few suggestions, you can lower your energy consumption and watch your utility bill plummet in the process.

The first step to conserving energy in your home is to identify utilities that may be using up “phantom energy”. Unbeknownst to us, many appliances continue to pull energy from outlets while plugged in, even when they appear powered off and not in use. This wasted energy has been appropriately labeled “phantom energy”. You can reduce this energy waste by placing your devices on standby mode. Reducing this phantom power could greatly reduce CO2 emissions, another important element to sustainability.

There are a few shocking energy vampires that may be lurking around your home. Did you know that 99% of your microwave’s energy is used to power up its digital clock, rather than warming food? Any device that appears to be off but still has a light is using phantom power. Chargers that remain plugged into the wall while not charging a device continue to suck out energy. Video game systems are exceptionally large energy suckers. Disconnect the systems when not in use to conserve. One easy way to turn off multiple devices while not in use is by installing a power strip and plugging your electronics into it. Just turn off your power strip when you leave your home, along with your lightswitch. It will take some time to make it a habit, but you’ll be shocked at the difference it makes in your utility bill every year.

About ¼ of all energy bills are used to heat water. Finding ways to make your water heater more efficient and less energy using is an important factor in making your home more eco-friendly. Lowering the temperature on your water heater makes a big difference. You can also limit the amount of hot water you use by taking shorter showers. It’s so easy to get lost in thought in the shower, and many homeowners view their shower as an oasis, a place to escape the responsibilities waiting outside the door. But this moment of reprieve may be taking a big toll on your wallet and your energy footprint. Try placing a timer next to the shower and limit yourself to 10 minutes. This should be enough time to take your shower with a few minutes to spare. You can also conserve water heat by doing your laundry in cold water when possible.

Turning your lights out when you leave the house seems like a no-brainer, but are you utilizing the right type of lights while you’re home? Use compact florescent bulbs to save energy. These may cost a bit more on the shelf, but they last 4 times longer than traditional bulbs and produce 75% less heat. If you want to invest in a fun feature that will make your feel especially energy savvy, install vacancy sensors. These lights will detect motion and stay lit only when someone is present.

Creating a more sustainable home can be a challenge, but by incorporating a few simple steps, you will have a conservation plan that is feasible. You’ll be shocked and pleased at the money you save by making a few small changes.

--article written by Modernize.com