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Zap Energy-Wasting Habits in the New Year

Some of the most common new year’s resolutions involve how people handle their finances. Each January, many vow to be more conscious of where they are spending their hard-earned money. Aside from obvious culprits (like that daily five-dollar latte), there are other things that people should consider changing about their behaviors.

Our position at UCNSB gives us a unique and helpful perspective. We know how daily habits can leach money right out of peoples’ pockets each month in the form of utility bills. However, some simple adjustments can help our customers save in 2022 and beyond. So here are some common-sense, straightforward rules to set for yourself in the new year to stop wasting energy and money.

Photo of female looking into open fridge
No More Loitering in the Fridge

We’ve all done it; we walk over and pull open the refrigerator door well before deciding what we want to eat. Then, we stand there in front of the open fridge, looking at all of the leftovers, lunchmeat, and ingredients that require effort – trying to decide what we want to do. Meanwhile, all of the cold air is escaping. Each time we do this, it causes the appliance’s compressor to kick on to get the temperature back down. According to Home Efficiency Guide, “As much as 7% of the refrigerator’s total energy use can be attributed to waste in this way.”

Resolve to say “no more!” to this wasteful (and uncomfortably chilly) practice of hanging out inside the fridge for far longer than needed. Take a moment to consider what you know is inside and what you want before opening the door. It is also important to have a talk about this with kids and teenagers in the home because they are often the biggest offenders.

You may even consider affixing a dry erase board to the door and writing down leftovers along with the date as you put them into the fridge. This will help you make a decision without having to see the actual Tupperware container to jog your memory. It may also help you avoid letting things go to waste before being eaten – which brings us to our next point.

Cook Less Food

Before jumping to conclusions, no, we aren’t encouraging you to order take-out more often. That would most certainly defeat the purpose of this article. We are referring to the fact that many recipes produce much more food than is needed for the number of people eating. If your family only has four people, don’t cook a dinner suited to feed eight people because leftovers often end up getting thrown away.

Consider the money spent on that food, the energy and water resources used to cook it, and the refrigeration required to save it for later. It is less expensive to cook just what your family can consume at each meal. Make it a habit to divide recipes in half if needed.

Stop “Overcharging”

Once a phone, tablet, cleaning gadget, or other appliance is fully charged, there is no need for it to stay plugged in. The most common instance of this habit is when people plug in their phones before bed. The phone charges fully within an hour or two once connected to the charger. Then energy continues to be sucked from the outlet for the rest of the night but has nowhere useful to go. A better alternative is to plug your phone in for an hour or two while eating dinner and then unplug it before bed. Since you won’t be using it while asleep, it will still be fully charged and ready to start your day in the morning.

Turn off the TV Before Bed

Clicking the power switch on the remote at night can be a point of contention in some households. Many people swear that it helps them drift off to sleep if they leave the television on as background noise. However, there are ‘sound’ reasons to consider cutting it off before bedtime.

According to Clearly Energy, falling asleep in front of your TV can cost you around $55 per year if it is a nightly ritual. This isn’t a huge amount, but these little habits add up. Furthermore, various health experts such as Healthline.com agree that this can be bad for you. Exposure to the flashing lights and sounds of your favorite TV shows right before and during sleep can adversely affect your body. Disrupted sleep patterns, decreased melatonin, and lesser sleep quality can seriously impact your overall health.

Stop Forgetting Ceiling Fans

It is common knowledge that a great way to conserve energy in our homes is to remember to switch off lights when leaving a room. Many dads have followed their children around from room to room, flipping switches and mumbling to themselves. We propose that we bring this same energy concerning ceiling fans as we move into this new year.

Here’s the thing – fans circulate air, but they don’t cool the room; they can only cool the people in the room. So, if a room is unoccupied, the electricity used to power the fan is wasted. A great way to remember to turn off a fan when you are about to exit a room is to attach a fan pull that hangs at eye level so that you notice it when you stand up from sitting.

We wish everyone a happy 2022! We hope that all of our New Smyrna Beach Utilities Commission customers are off to a great start in the new year! Adding some of these resolutions to your list will undoubtedly help make it a prosperous one.