How to Find the Biggest Energy Wasters in Your Home

We use energy in our homes to keep warm, have light, make food, and much, much more. Unfortunately, we all waste a lot of energy in the process of living our lives. Don't worry; there are ways you can save energy.

Here's how to find the biggest energy wasters in your home:


  • Locate air leaks Air leaks are responsible for a lot of heating loss. Walk around your house checking for drafts. Check for air entering through electrical outlets and switch plates, door and window frames, and baseboards. Think about places you've noticed a draft before and figure out where the draft's coming from. Plug up the air leaks you find with caulk. Outside your house, check for cracks or gaps at the corners and where different surfaces meet. Seal outdoor cracks with the appropriate material.
  • Check your heating and cooling equipment Clean your air-conditioner filters. If these are clogged or dirty, the machine has to work harder. Clean out any air ducts in your walls. Again, blocked air passages waste energy. Consider replacing any heating or cooling equipment that's more than 15 years old with newer, more energy efficient models.
  • Examine your lighting Check the wattage of the light bulbs you use. Consider switching to lower wattage where you don't need so much light. Compact fluorescent lamps use a lot less energy than incandescent ones, and LED lights use even less energy.
  • Check how old your appliances are Old appliances generally use a lot more energy than newer ones do. Check your appliances' Energy Star label to see how efficient they are. Consider replacing your older appliances. Unplug any refrigerators or coolers that are not in use.
  • Find Energy Vampires Many home electronics and appliances use standby power when they seem to be off! Any device that uses a remote control or has an external power supply, rechargeable batteries or a continuous display (e.g. a light or clock) is probably sucking power when you think they're not doing anything. Unplug devices when you're not using them. You can plug a number of items into a power strip and simply turn the strip off when the devices are not in use [sources: Savegreenly, Energysavers, Greentips].