Economy & Business
8:43 am
Tue December 25, 2012

“Energy Zombies” can have a Big Impact on Home Energy Bills

These days it seems nearly everyone is trying to save money where they can. Energy provider Direct Energy says some people may not be aware that some everyday things in their homes are causing their electricity and gas bills to go up.

“An energy zombie is actually anything that mindlessly eats away at your energy bill,” said Direct Energy Spokeswoman Bethany Ruhe, “these are things you may already know about, you may not know about, but if you don’t pay attention to them – boom – you have higher electricity bills.”

These things include electronics left plugged in, even when they are turned off, repeatedly opening the oven door while baking, or repeatedly opening the refrigerator.

“If it’s your cell phone charger, it’s literally leaking energy. The outlet still thinks that it’s working, so there is still some energy coming out of there,” said Ruhe, “other culprits are things that have an LED screen or light, even if they’re off. Say your DVD player, it’s off, you’re not playing a DVD, but the clock is on, so you’re still using energy.”

Some of it comes down to convenience. Some people simply don’t want to be plugging in and unplugging things every time they are used, the thought is that the effort would only amount to a small change. Ruhe said that’s not the case.

“Little things can actually have a really big impact,” she said, “for instance, if you lower your thermostat 2 degrees, you would save 4 percent off your energy bill over the course of a year. Two degrees – you probably wouldn’t even notice that, the little things like that can actually have a pretty big impact over time.”

Other tips include not leaving on the oven longer than it needs to be on for cooking and baking, cooking with a snug-fitting lid on pans, using the microwave instead of the oven when possible, and using the dishwasher rather than hand-washing because it uses less water.

Direct Energy has a series of videos featuring two “energy zombies” which offer energy saving tips.