Sense Blog

5 Ways to Save Energy in the New Year

Learn how you can save more energy in your home in 2019.

It’s a New Year, time to reassess your home’s energy profile and look for ways to improve it. This year, Sense can keep you on track toward your goal of shrinking your home’s energy footprint, saving money and helping the planet. Here are five ways to save more energy around your home.

Start with a home energy audit

Sense may already have identified many devices in your home, while others are included in the Other or Always On category. Use Sense to assess the energy costs of any device. With the Sense app in hand, walk around your home turning things on and off so you can see how much energy each uses as the total in the Now screen changes. See if you can find an energy hog that can be turned off when not in use. One area for immediate savings is light bulbs. LED bulbs have become more affordable and they are very efficient. Also, as you walk around your home, this is a good time to name any devices that Sense has detected but you haven’t identified yet.

Shrink your Always On load

In the average home, devices that are always on use 23% of the electricity. That’s nearly a quarter of your total electricity bill. According to government data, the average U.S. utility bill in 2017 was $111.67. Cutting Always On in half, a goal that we believe is achievable for most homes, would save the average home $154 annually.

Some devices, like radon fans and Internet routers, need to stay on continuously, but many others, like home electronics, are wasting energy. Sense calculates your average Always On amount over the course of 24 hours, and displays it in a bubble on the Now screen, and in the Device List so you can track changes to your daily Always On load over time. Keep that in mind as you start unplugging devices that might be idle loads; the Always On amount displayed in the bubble won’t go down immediately, but you will notice changes in the Power Meter on the Now screen in the Sense app.

To assess your idle load (another term for Always On), check the Sense app right before bedtime when most things in your home are turned off. If your Always On load is more than 23% of your total energy usage or more than 100W, figure out which of your Always On devices is consuming the most energy. Home entertainment and audio systems with multiple components can consume 50 watts continuously. Hot tubs that cycle on and off all winter may cost you $500 annually in electricity alone. Put Always On devices on smart plugs to schedule them or just unplug them altogether when they are not in use. (Try these tips from the King of Always On.)

Check out the power meters for your major appliances

The power signature of appliances like refrigerators, air conditioners, heaters and pumps can tell you if something is going wrong. For instance, if your refrigerator is cycling on and off more frequently than it did in the past, it’s likely due for a repair. Take a stroll through your devices to see how they are doing and catch any problems before they waste a lot of energy or the appliance breaks down.

Consider replacing an old appliance with a new, more efficient one. With new appliance models rolling out in January, you can get a great deal on last year’s model. Use Sense to figure out your current energy usage and compare it to energy ratings of new models. Do the math to figure out if it makes sense to upgrade.

See what’s trending

Use the Trends feature in the Sense app to see your weekly, monthly and annual usage. Look at the device summaries to understand how much electricity each device is using and how it contributes to your whole energy footprint. Now look for ways to cut back. For instance, is a dehumidifier or pool pump running all the time? Maybe it could be turned down or off, especially in the off season.

Also, if you haven’t entered your utility rate into Sense, take the time to do it now so you can plan more carefully. Some utilities and municipalities charge different rates depending on the time of year. Check your latest electric bill to make sure it matches the amount in the “Settings” screen of your Sense app.

Set monthly goals

Setting goals for your energy usage will make your monthly bills more predictable and affordable. So make a New Year’s resolution to set goals in Sense. Look back at your energy usage and utility costs in 2018 and set an achievable monthly goal for 2019. For instance, you can aim to reduce your energy by 10%. Sense will notify you if you are trending to exceed your goal, so you can adjust your habits — there are always more ways to save energy, whether it’s remembering to turn things off, updating lighting, setting low power modes or using smart plugs and power strips.

Let Sense help you keep your New Year’s resolutions for the rest of the year!