You probably don’t think that the hours you’re sleeping can possibly cost you that much. After all, everyone’s in bed, everything is off, and no one is out shopping. But the truth is, the overnight hours can be costing you hundreds of dollars per year and you might not even realize it.
The biggest culprit is vampire power drain. All of those electronics and appliances that you think are off are still drawing power whether they’re on or not. To combat this, you can unplug everything or use power strips to make turning things off as easy as a flick of a switch. There are other money suckers at night, as well, including lights that are left on, A/C or heat units that are left running at daytime temperatures, and leaking or running plumbing fixtures. Here’s a quick routine that I go through before bed each night to make certain that my sleep time isn’t costing me any more than it has to.
Check outdoor lights
After I bring the dog in from doing her last business of the day, I quickly check to make sure I’ve turned off all the outside lights. If you like to leave an outside light on for security purposes, look into motion detectors which will only turn the light on if someone is in the yard, or look at solar options. At the very least put your outside lights on timers so they go off in the morning without you having to remember to turn them off. Outdoor lighting left burning all night, particularly floodlights, can add a pretty penny to your power bill.
Check faucets, toilets, and sprinklers (And the ice maker!)
I quickly check each sink and toilet as I pass the rooms to make sure that they are fully off and not leaking. Sometimes people in the house are guilty of not getting things all the way off and a little drip can mean a big water bill later. If I’ve been using the sprinkler outside, I check to make sure it’s off. Also check your ice maker, if you have one. I turn mine off each night. I used to leave it on, but one morning I came into the kitchen to discover that it had malfunctioned overnight, had run all night, and left an enormous puddle of water all over my kitchen floor and inside the freezer. Ever since then, I turn it off at night and when away on vacation.
Turn off lights and electronics and unplug everything
As I go room to room, I turn off all the lights and unplug unnecessary items (or flip off the power strip). I power down and unplug the computers, as well. Yes, it takes a little time to boot in the morning, but they continue to draw power even in the sleep mode. I also unplug any chargers. If the phone is charged, leaving the charger plugged in all night won’t increase the charge, it will only waste power. Once the charging is finished, I unplug the charger. I also look up and turn off any ceiling fans in unused rooms. They cool people not rooms, so using them at night is a waste of money. If you need night lights, there are LED options available that use only a tiny amount of power but give off a good glow.
Adjust the heat or A/C
In the winter, I turn the heat down to about sixty degrees overnight. Everyone is under blankets and in warm sleepwear so it doesn’t need to run full blast. In the summer, I keep the temperature around eighty during the day, but turn it down to about 75 at night. It keeps the house cooler, but since it’s night the AC doesn’t have to work as hard to keep it down. If you want to automate this chore, get a programmable thermostat.
This routine doesn’t take me but all of five minutes and it’s done as I’m heading to bed and passing each room anyway. I’ve estimated that the little bit of time I spend checking things and turning them off saves me about $30- 40 per month, or $360 or more per year. It might not seem like a lot of money, but for many people that’s a car payment, a couple of trips to the grocery store, or something fun that they wanted.