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Selecting one of the best energy-efficient space heaters will keep you warm without spiking your utility bill.

The Best Energy-Efficient Space Heaters: Which You Should Buy & Why

When you buy one of the best energy-efficient space heaters through links in this post, we may earn an affiliate commission. These commissions do not affect our product recommendations. Click here to learn more.

Space heaters—they sound like some futuristic tool astronauts might use to heat up a spaceship. But they’re really not all that modern of an idea. Whether you’ve heard of them or not, space heaters have been around for a very long time.

We mention this for two reasons: first, space heaters can be an effective resource for homes—they are effective little tools that have withstood the test of time, warming rooms around the world for decades! Second, they’re clearly not a space-age contraption, meaning that some use older, very inefficient technology.

While space heaters are definitely must-have powerhouses for homes weathering frigid winters or without central heating, we have to say—the old models leave little to be desired. Why? Because like a lot of appliances and dated technologies, they can be major energy hogs! This means it is critical to identify one of the best energy-efficient space heaters for your home if you’re in the market for a new one.

At WattDoesItUse, we’re all about helping people (like you!) uncover ways to save money and help the planet by living in a more energy-efficient, energy-conscious way. So to help you along your space heater education journey, we’ve composed this post to give you the rundown on how space heaters work, the best way to use them, and most importantly, how to choose one of the best energy-efficient space heaters for your home. That way, you can keep your favorite nook in the house cozy without having to worry about a resulting spike in your electricity bill.

Let’s Talk Space Heaters

If you’ve never heard of a space heater, then it’s likely you either live in a super warm climate where extra heat is never an issue, you have central heat and a well-designed home, or, you’ve somehow managed to live in a cold environment all your life suffering through frigid winters without the knowledge of this glorious invention. But, we digress. The point here is, there are many homes that—even with central heat—have particular rooms that just don’t get the same heat or aren’t able to hold it.

Even if you have a general understanding of what a space heater is, it’s important to understand the different types available before you can identify one of the best energy-efficient space heater models. So let’s dive in!

Space Heaters 101

A space heater is a small, portable heater that is typically used when the main heating system in a home is inefficient, too costly, or simply doesn’t exist. Space heaters are best when used to heat small rooms: you can’t heat the entire house off a space heater.

Space heaters can run on a number of different fuel types, including electricity, natural gas, kerosene, and propane. While most space heaters work by convection, which circulates air within a room, others rely on radiant heating where they emit infrared radiation that directly heats things up within their scope of influence. Let’s dig a little deeper into the most common space heater types to really get acquainted with their pros and cons.

Electric Space Heaters

This type of heater is a typical choice for people because it’s one of the safest types. It’s also great at spreading warmth, and it’s usually very portable. They can have downsides, though. Often, they create dry, stale air. As with all space heaters, they can be a safety hazard if not run properly. And if they aren’t designed with energy efficiency in mind, they can run up your electricity bill.

Fuel-Burning Space Heaters

As the name implies, this type of space heater won’t use electricity. Fuel-burning space heaters, also known as “gas space heaters,” are great for larger spaces. But at the end of the day, they can be more dangerous. Why? Because they’re burning fuel, they’re emitting carbon monoxide, which means you need to take extra measures to ensure they’re not causing serious (or fatal) air quality issues.

Radiant Space Heaters

This type of heater works wonderfully for both indoor and outdoor spaces (like decks, patios, etc.). The great thing about radiant space heaters is that they eliminate the need for insulation, they’re super small, and they’re easy to transport. The downside? They’re definitely emitting radiation, which is what’s responsible for actually heating the area. This can be a health concern for sensitive populations.

When Should You Consider a Space Heater?

While we can’t diagnose every single person’s heating situation and say, yeah, sounds like you need a space heater, we can speak in generalities—which is exactly what we’re about to do. If any of these situations or scenarios ring true for you, it’s possible that you should look into a space heater:

  • My heater just isn’t cutting it—it’s old, it’s inefficient, and I’m consistently piling up under blankets in an effort to stay warm. I can’t afford a new furnace right now, but this winter is going to be a nightmare if I can’t figure this out.
  • My heater works pretty well in the main part of the house, but honestly, my room is freezing—maybe I run a bit hot-blooded, but it seems like my small space just isn’t getting the heat it needs to keep me warm.
  • Where I live rarely gets cold, so I’ve never invested in a heating system for the house. But we’ve been getting some serious cold snaps lately, and honestly, I’m freezing. Even if I could heat just one room in the house, I’d be happier.

If any of these sound like a scenario you’re dealing with, it might be time to invest in a space heater.

That said, we can’t go further without noting that depending on your situation, there are energy efficiency investments that might be best to look at before you even go the space heater route. Specifically, you might be better off investing in sealing and weatherizing your home’s walls, attic and windows or replacing an old furnace with a better, more energy-efficient model. Make sure to check out our Crank Up the Heat blogs (part 1 here and part 2 here) for some insight and advice on choosing an energy-efficient HVAC system and ensuring that your home has the proper insulation to hold that heat.

How to Pick the Perfect Energy-Efficient Space Heater

So, how exactly do you pick out the one of the best energy-efficient space heaters for your home? By doing research, of course! We suggest you take note of these key considerations for each space heater you look at:

  • Safety. Is one type of space heater safer than another? Will one type of heater be more beneficial for your family? Radiant heaters will burn on contact—if you have small children or animals, our suggestion is to steer clear!
  • Energy Efficiency. This is a big one. We suggest you check out energy-efficient models that are ENERGY STAR certified.
  • Purpose. Are you using this heater to warm up several rooms? An outdoor space? A single bedroom? The square footage you want to cover will 100 percent determine the type of space heater you should buy.
  • Installation. Is this an easy machine to install? Does it require you to understand wattage, install additional CO2 detection, etc.? Ease of installation is a huge factor to consider when selecting a space heater.
  • Control. How easy is this space heater to operate? Do you understand how it works? Can you learn quickly?
  • Noise. Is this machine going to be loud? Can you do a test-run in store to get a better idea?
  • Overall Cost. This isn’t everything, but if you have a budget, you know it matters. There are great options that don’t break the bank!  

We can’t move on to our recommendations without coming back to safety a second time. Regardless of type, all space heaters can be dangerous if they’re not used properly.

In fact, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that space heaters spark nearly 22,000 residential fires every single year, leading to about 300 deaths and thousands of burns. We don’t say this to steer you away from your space heater shopping, but we do think it’s vital to mention it before we get down to the nitty-gritty of picking out one of the best energy-efficient space heaters for your home! With that in mind, here are a few more tips to ensure that you use yours properly and responsibly

WDIU Ranking: The Best Energy-Efficient Space Heaters

All studied up on space heater safety? Good—that’s a gold star for you!

Now we can get to the fun part of the blog—a list of the best energy-efficient space heaters that we think could be the perfect addition to keep every corner of your home cozy without breaking the bank on that utility bill!

BEST ALL-AROUND

Dyson AM09 Fan Heater—This heater is exceptionally notable for its energy-efficient design. In fact, we might be so bold to say it might be the most energy-efficient heater on the market right now. It’s patented Air Multiplier technology maintains your desired temperature in a way that wastes no energy, it has no exposed elements so there’s no burning risk, and further, it has a sleep timer function and an extra-wide projection. On top of all this, it has dual functionality for heating in the winter and space cooling in the summer!

BEST CERAMIC

Lasko 6462 Full Circle Ceramic Heater—What we love about this heater is that it can heat an entire room quickly all while sending air in several different directions. It’s super portable, has a remote for easy operation, and isn’t too shabby on the energy conservation. Still, it’s a ceramic heater, which means that it will oscillate heat—this can be a noisy process. Additionally, you’ll need to be extra careful about where you place this heater.

BEST FOR LARGE SPACES

DeLonghi TRD40615E Full Room Radiant Heater—This radiant space heater is packed with 1500W of power to heat medium-to-large rooms but is equipped with an efficient LED light as well as a thermostat, timer, and various heat settings so that you can proactively manage its power use based on your needs. This model is a bit bulkier than other models, but its set of wheels enables easy transfers between rooms, and we love that it’s super quiet.

BEST FOR SMALL SPACES

Honeywell HCE200W UberHeat Ceramic Heater—Small, portable, and exceptionally quiet, this ceramic heater is a great option for incredibly small spaces. We don’t recommend this heater for large rooms, and we always advise to be extra cautious with ceramic heaters, but in the end, this tiny, little heater packs a serious punch in small spaces while being very energy-efficient.  

BEST FOR PORTABILITY

Dr. Infrared DR968 Original Heater—This space heater features infrared technology as opposed to the more-common convection space heaters. This technology consumes less energy, making the Dr. Infrared not only good for the environment but also less costly to operate. At the same time, this little space heater is powerful enough to warm spaces up to 1,000 square feet, making it incredibly versatile. In addition, it is very quiet, easy to use and clean, provides remote control capabilities, and includes a 12-hour timer so you don’t have to worry about whether you forgot to turn it off before heading out for work or travel!

Looking to learn even more about how you can conserve energy? Subscribe to the WattDoesItUse blog for regular updates on how you can revamp your daily habits to help conserve energy and come up with creative ways to cut your utility bills way down!

Choose one of the best energy-efficient video game consoles to minimize your favorite gamer's impact on your electricity bill.

Game Time: The Best Energy-Efficient Video Game Consoles To Save Electricity & Money

When you buy one of the best energy-efficient video game consoles through links in this post, we may earn an affiliate commission. These commissions do not affect our product recommendations. Click here to learn more.

From classics like Tetris and the Legend of Zelda, to newer best-sellers like World of Warcraft and Call of Duty, and everything in between, video games are more popular than ever. Over 164 million people play video games in the United States, and three-quarters of all Americans have at least one gamer in their household.

When we read that statistic with our “energy consumption” filter, we translate as, “three-quarters of all Americans have a video game console in their home.” Given how energy-intensive these devices can be, that means it is critically important for you to select the best energy-efficient video game consoles for your home in order to minimize the impact of your household gaming on your electricity bill!

Not sure how to identify which console will prioritize energy efficiency and meet or even exceed the performance demands of your favorite games!

Gaming in Numbers

First things first, let’s get a handle on the amount of gaming in the US, because it’s probably more widespread than you think! With the wide selection of genres available, people spanning all ages, genders, and ethnicities are getting in on gaming.

According to the Entertainment Software Association, nearly 80 percent of gamers revealed that games served as a way to relieve stress, relax, and provide mental stimulation. Video games are also increasingly used for educational purposes and family bonding time.

The number of people playing video games in the U.S. is growing rapidly, making energy-efficient video game consoles essential to avoid significant stress on the electricity grid. Source: Grist

There is no doubt that the gaming industry is growing and will continue to do so in the years to come.

How Much Electricity Do Video Games Require?

As the prevalence of video games increases, have you ever considered the amount of energy that’s required to play these games?

Depending on the system you choose to play on, your price of electricity, and the intensity of your gaming, the annual electricity costs for your video game console can range from $5 up to about $400 per year. Globally, PC gamers alone use about 75 billion kilowatt hours of electricity a year. That is equivalent to the output of 25 electric power plants and doesn’t even include video game console energy consumption. And since this post focuses more specifically on video game console energy consumption, you might be equally surprised to learn that game consoles in the US consume as much electricity every year as all the homes in Houston, the fourth-largest city in the country! Consumers are paying more than $1 billion per year to operate these consoles!

Pretty staggering, right?! Wondering where that energy comes from?

Graphics

There are two primary drivers of electricity consumption when it comes to gaming. The first is graphics. Part of what makes gaming so enticing is the graphics. From the array of characters within a game, to its vibrant life-like storyline, a game’s graphics rely on high-quality, high-performance graphics cards. And these cards consume massive amounts of energy to provide that performance.  

A few years ago, a father and son team—Evan and Nathaniel Mills—researched just how much power these cards used. In fact, just one graphics card can draw 500 watts per hour of use! Shocked by their findings, the father-son duo started gaming a bit less and looked further into the energy usage required to run a gaming computer. This research wasn’t merely happenstance. Evan Mills was a scientist, energy expert, and a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He earned a monetary grant and since then has expanded his research to further understand the energy requirements of video games on consoles and computers.

Other Features

The second driver of video game console electricity consumption is all the other features. From wireless controller charging, to voice control, to UBS ports, video game consoles continue to draw electricity even when they are not in use.

In fact, of the $1 billion that consumers pay to operate gaming consoles in the US, $400 million of that is consumed in the middle of the night when the console is in standby mode but still “listening” for voice commands (in the case of Xbox One) or using excess energy to keep USB ports active (in the case of PS4).

The Best Energy-Efficient Video Game Consoles

Let’s face it, video games have come a long way in the past 30 years and the pixelated, slow moving action of retro arcade games simply isn’t acceptable in the gaming world of today. Fluidity and high-resolution graphics are important components for immersing oneself into the game.

And the best energy-efficient video game consoles enable you to save money through minimal power consumption without foregoing performance:

  1. Sony Playstation 4 Pro 1TB Console
  2. Xbox One S 2 TB Console
  3. Xbox One 500GB
  4. Wii U 32GB
Choosing one of the best energy-efficient video game consoles will help you save energy, save money, and help save the planet while enjoying your favorite games. Source: Enervee

How to Minimize Your Game Console’s Energy Use

So you’ve selected one of the best energy-efficient video game consoles for your home. Great first step!

Even with these consoles, new industry options like wireless controllers, voice command, body gestures, internet connectivity, can require excess electricity. That said, there are many easy setting changes that you can change to minimize the energy consumed by your video game console. That way the weekly family game night isn’t costing you an arm and a leg in electricity bills!

Here are four tried and true tips to save electricity and money while still enjoying your favorite video games:

Activate Power Saving

Most video game consoles offer power saving settings that can improve their energy efficiency. For example, Xbox One comes set-up to listen for the “Xbox On” command to turn on. But with its “Energy-saving” Power Mode, you can disable this feature and drop the consoles standby power use by 98 percent! Similarly, the Play Station 4 (PS4) comes set to enter a low power “Rest” mode after one hour of inactivity, but you can reduce that period of time to save additional electricity and money.

Stay On Top Of Software Updates

As game developers and console manufacturers become more conscious of gaming’s environmental impact, they have begun to integrate energy-saving features in new software updates. So staying on top of these updates will help your maximize your console’s energy efficiency and, in turn, minimize your gaming-related electricity costs! For example, thanks to new software updates, PS4 now automatically drops the power consumption of USB ports once controllers are fully charged. This decreases the console’s standby power consumption by over 65 percent!

Stick To Gaming

It can be temptingly convenient to use your gaming console to also stream your favorite show on Netflix. But digital media players like Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire Stick use on average 15 times less energy than video game consoles to perform the same task! Better yet, if you have a Smart TV, that is even less energy intensive than using a separate streaming device to binge your favorite show, allowing to indulge that much more

Turn Off Accessories & Features

In addition to configuring your console’s settings to minimize energy requirements, set your controllers to turn themselves off when not in use. In the case of Xbox, turning off the “Kinect” accessory that recognizes body movements can save considerable energy costs over time. Follow these tips and you’ll quickly be able to reduce the amount of electricity your favorite games consume.

For additional energy saving tips, check out the results of the Mills’ research.

Get Your Game On

If you or your loved one has jumped on the game train, more power to you! We love a good game of Minecraft every now and then ourselves. By selecting one of the best energy-efficient video game consoles for your home and configuring it to optimize its energy-saving offerings, you can get your game on without a fear of an exorbitant electricity bill at the end of the month.

Curious about other major drivers of electricity consumption at home and pro tips to minimize their impact? Check out the power consumption of any device at WattDoesItUse and subscribe to the blog for weekly updates on all-things energy efficiency and energy conservation.

Put a smile on everyone's face with must-have energy-efficient devices this holiday season!

The Must-Have Energy-Efficient Devices of 2019

When you buy 2019’s must-have energy-efficient devices through links in this post, we may earn an affiliate commission.  These commissions do not affect our product recommendations. Click here to learn more.

Most everyone anxiously anticipates the holiday season. It is a time of joy, giving and gathering with those we care about. And as the end of year approaches, if you’re like us, you also adamantly search for the best gifts to share with the loved ones on our lists. This holiday season, why not give a gift that is energy efficient so the rewards of saving money throughout the year can be enjoyed.

Whether you are searching for the perfect gift for the hobby chef, data junkie, survivalist, or the ultimate tightwad, these must-have energy-efficient devices will put a smile on everyone’s faces all year long.

The Benefits of Saving Energy

When we choose to save energy, not only are we reducing expenses, but we’re supporting the pressing fight against global warming. By choosing energy efficient items such as ENERGY STAR certified products, you can lower your cost of living while still having full access to aspects of our life we’ve become accustomed to, from high-performing TVs, to smart household appliances and thermostats, to sleek computers and beautiful lighting. 

Based on reports from the EPA, the standard American household spends approximately $2,000 in utility bills annually. Not only does this hurt the wallet, it effects greenhouse gas emissions. Making the switch can help reduce energy bills by as much as $575 per year. Although these upgrades may be more expensive upfront, the cost-savings are worth it in the long run.

Why Prioritize Energy-Efficient Gifts?

With all the convenient gadgets available nowadays, most everyone relies on technology in one form or another in day-to-day life. But that convenience does not come without a price, which is why the go-green campaign is so prevalent. Fortunately, energy savings and protecting the environment go hand in hand. So, when choosing gifts for the people on your list, why not opt for such items?

Regardless of your budget or the financial position of the person whom you’re buying for, everyone likes to save money. There is a wide selection of spectacular items that will bring joy with electricity bill savings and environmental benefits for the months and years to come.

Must-Have Energy-Efficient Devices of 2019

All that said, without further ado, we present to you our 2019 holiday shopping list of must-have energy-efficient devices:

#1 For the Techie

Charging stations and power strips can help save money and energy for that electronic fanatic on your shopping list. The traditional phone charging stations and electrical power strips are more likely to continuously use electricity, even when not being used. However, replacing the older items with newer, more advanced “smart” plugs and power strips can offer energy savings of up to 10%. 

#2 The One of a Kind Gift

LED light bulbs may not seem very exciting, but they are truly the dark horse of must-have energy-efficient devices. The electricity savings and longevity of these under-appreciated items are sure to bring joy. Especially if you splurge on a smart bulb that people can control from their smart phones!

#3 For the Minimalist

Solar technology is not new at this point, but this technology is now showing up in more mobile and affordable packages, which has us pretty excited! Portable solar panels can make the perfect gift for the camper or minimalist in your life, as well as someone who travels and prefers to pack light. In addition to portable solar panels, there are solar powered devices to suit practically any lifestyle or need, like solar-powered cell phone chargers

#4 For the Cleaning Diva

Clothes dryers are among the highest energy-consuming appliances in the home. If your gift list includes someone who does a lot of laundry, consider giving the eco-friendly gift of a collapsible laundry drying rack. Not only does it save on electricity, but air-drying clothes helps protect fabrics so they last longer!

#5 For the Gadget Guru

Hand crank and solar-powered flashlights and radios can be a fun gift for kids as well as the environmentally-conscious person in your life. How often have you grabbed a flashlight only to discover the batteries are dead? Hand crank devices can be entertaining, convenient, and serve as a handy tool for cars, camping gear, and more! Your loved one will never be left in the dark again.

#6 For the Person who has Everything

We all have someone in our life who is just plain hard to shop for. For these people, we say: check out smart thermostats. Homeowners can control their smart thermostats via virtual personal assistants and easy-to-use phone apps. Designed with a built-in GPS and sensors, the smart thermostats can even learn your habits and adjust your home’s temperature based accordingly. Energy savings without any extra thought?! Yes, please! Check out our previous post with the 7 best smart thermostats of 2019 for specific recommendations.

#7 For the Spa-Lover

There is nothing more rejuvenating than a hot, refreshing shower. However, without an energy-efficient shower head, a single session can waste gallons of water. For the individual on your list that enjoys self-care or spa treatments, consider giving them a shower head such as the LightInTheBox Rainfall Shower Head or 3 Way Shower Head by AquaDance. There are several varieties that have features to adjust water pressure, jet stream, angle adjustment and lighting while reducing both water and power usage.

What Are You Waiting For?!

During this holiday season, choose energy-saving gifts that will provide joy year-round! Click right from this post to snag last-minute deals on these must-have energy-efficient devices. Didn’t find quite what you were looking for? We also provide a whole post with the perfect picks for your favorite techie and other useful energy-efficient gadgets.

Getting excited about this concept and want to learn more energy saving strategies for the rest of the year? Subscribe to the WattDoesItUse Blog for weekly updates on the latest and greatest. Even better, share the love and let your friends and family know! Knowledge is power!

Select one of the best energy-efficient heaters to achieve comfort and energy saving goals.

Crank Up the Heat: The Best Energy-Efficient Heaters

If you’re anything like us during the long, frigid winter months, you’re probably constantly toeing the line between cranking up the heater in your home to full blast (if only to pretend you’re on a tropical island) and trying to maintain some semblance of energy efficiency by leaving your thermostat at a respectable (but gosh, not quite warm enough) temp.

But who says you have to choose?

The sad truth is that every heater requires energy. But not all heaters are created equal. Some are far more energy-efficient than other antiquated models. This means that you can run that heater how you want (well, within reason) withoutthe fear of wasting a ton of excess energy (or running up your utility bill, for that matter).

Looking for a warmer, more enjoyable holiday season? a December to remember where you don’thave to wear mittens inside? A cavalier “who cares” attitude when Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow and announces six more weeks of winter? Then this post is for you!

Read on for our list of the best energy-efficient heaters on the market!

Let’s Settle This: Should You Buy a Gas Furnace or a Heat Pump?

Before we dive into that glorious list of the best energy-efficient heaters, which is going to save you from a chilly winter and a crazy high energy bill, we need to settle an important question: which is more energy-efficient, a gas furnace or heat pump system?

Before we take a stab at answering that question, let’s describe each of these systems.

Gas Furnaces and Heat Pumps, A 101

A gas furnace is a heating mechanism that relies on a fuel source and fan to heat your home. In some cases that fuel source is oil. But for a gas furnace, it’s natural gas. The furnace will burn gas in a combustion chamber, then the resulting hot air will force itself through carefully structured ductwork and into your home with the help of a fan. Because a furnace uses actual flames to create heat, it’s often said that a furnace is likely to blow warmer air than a heat pump.

Which brings us to our next definition. A heat pump is a system that doesn’t use fuel to generate heat. Instead, it cleverly pulls heat from the outside air and gradually warms your home. Think about a heat pump as an air conditioning unit working in reverse. Instead of taking air from outside and cooling it, it takes outside air and reverses its refrigeration cycle to fill your home up with heat!

The Pros & Cons of Gas Furnaces and Heat Pumps

So which is more energy-efficient?

Honestly, it depends on where you live, what your winter looks like, and how warm you really need your home to be.

However, while at the end of the day the best choice for you depends on many factors, the general rule of thumb is that heat pumps are the best energy-efficient heaters for your home. Heat pumps are particularly great choices for folks who don’t see intense, long-lasting winters (for that reason, they’re hugely popular for Southeastern United States winters where the winters are mild and short).

That said, though gas furnaces are generally less energy efficient and use older technology, they are great options for people who need to keep their homes at a higher temperature and endure long, intense winters. A furnace is less mechanical, so by default, it’s less likely to break—less maintenance and repairs are a plus from financial and waste material standpoints! In addition, as we mentioned, it’s well-known for spitting out warmer air more quickly, heating up your house in a flash. About 50 percent of homes are still heating up with gas furnaces to this day.

Because each type of heater really does have its own pros and cons, we’ve provided our top three picks of each model!

The Best Energy-Efficient Heaters: Gas Furnaces

If you’ve decided to opt for a reliable, speedy gas furnace, get ready for a warm winter! But the question remains—which of the gas furnaces out there are the most energy-efficient? Here are a few options we think are worth bumping to the top of your list!

Bryant Furnaces

The same parent company as Carrier, Day & Night, and Bryant furnaces. So Bryant furnaces offer the same reliable technology, down to the same internal components. They are average-priced furnaces with great reliability, and they are well-known for their high-efficiency features specifically designed to conserve energy and save you money. Some of their furnace models (Bryant Evolution 987M) can offer you a modulating gas furnace that runs at up to 98.3 percent efficiency as measured by the industry metric: Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) . Best of all, most of their furnaces are ENERGY STAR certified.

Rheem Furnaces

With an impressive AFUE rating of up to 98.7 percent, Rheem’s Prestige Series R98V is all about blowing hot air while keeping energy efficiency at the forefront. This model—along with several other Rheem Furnace models—is ENERGY STAR qualified.

Amana Furnaces

Though Amana furnaces are not always credited as the most energy-efficient furnaces in the room, they do make specific models that ensure energy efficiency is a priority. One of these is the AMVM97 model,  a two-stage furnace that runs at up to 98 percent AFUE. Just make sure that if you shop Amana, you’re opting for an energy-efficient model like this one, as their standard models tend to be less than impressive when it comes to energy conservation.

Have another model in mind but you’re not sure if it’s energy-efficient? Check out ENERGY STAR’s certified furnace guide here to double-check the model you’re considering! With this certification in the northern half of the US, you can guarantee the furnace you’re looking at will be up to 15 percent more energy efficient than other baseline models (which can save you an average of $85 yearly).  In the southern half of the US, you can count on these certified furnaces to be about 11 percent more efficient than standard models (meaning you can save an average of $30 per year in energy costs).

The Best Energy-Efficient Heaters: Heat Pumps

Heat pumps won you over? Congratulations—you’re about to have a much more comfortable winter while knowing that you are leveraging very energy-efficient technology! But remember, not every heat pump is created equally. Here’s our list of top-performing energy-efficient heat pumps that deserve your attention.

Daikin DZ20VC with ComfortNet Control

This high-efficiency home heat pump is powered by a two-stage scroll compressor that’s guaranteed to consistently warm your home. The controller (that’s right, heat pumps are fancy, new-age technology that comes with a techy controller!) is a digitally programmable thermostat that features options to prioritize energy-efficiency or comfort. Of course, this heat pump is ENERGY STAR certified.

Lennox XC20 Series with iComfort Wi-Fi Control

Don’t be confused by this product’s listing as an air conditioner. Like most heat pumps, this Lennox can pump both warm and cold air into your home. This model can also control efficiency, humidity, and comfort with a fully communicating platform. A reliable option, this energy-efficient model is ENERGY STAR certified.

Fujitsu RLF Series with IntesisHome App

Another ENERGY STAR qualified product, this Fujitsu line features is a pump that you can operate via an app on your smartphone (so fancy, right?) for optimal energy efficiency control. Further, this system includes advanced diagnostics with system monitoring, so you can be sure your heat pump is functioning at optimal levels at all times.

PRO TIP: The ENERGY STAR site has a long, long list of options when it comes to energy-efficient heat pumps. If you’re looking to really dig through the list to choose the best heat pump for your home, click here.

You Don’t Have To Freeze This Winter—Just Heat Smarter!

See, it’s not as black-and-white as freeze without heat or waste bundles of energy in the name of warmth. By investing in one of the best energy-efficient heaters, you can strike a balance of conserving energy and saving money while remaining comfortable.

Think we missed a great energy-efficient heater on our list? Have you found the ultimate in terms of the best energy-efficient heaters? We want to hear about it! Drop a line in our comment section and share your heater suggestions with our readers—the more we all know about energy conservation opportunities, the better.

If you’re looking for more advice on how to cut energy costs, conserve more energy in your daily life, or even are seeking out awesome, energy-efficient gift ideas, our blog is where it’s at! Subscribe here to stay in the loop with our regularly updated blog!

Hot water has become a daily necessity. It's important to select the best water heater for your needs. Source: Dan Watson

Decisions, Decisions! The Best Hot Water Heaters & How to Select Them

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There are many debates that have been ongoing as long as we can remember—crunchy peanut butter or smooth? Morning shower or night? Whether you fall into the AM or PM shower camp, if you’re like most people, your day is not complete without that ritual. Either way, there is one underlying necessity that many of us might take for granted: hot water.

For this reason and many others, your hot water heater is an essential household appliance that may not be in plain sight but is working on overtime every time you take a shower, wash your hands, do the dishes, or run a load of laundry—all important aspects of your day-to-day life.

There won’t be a day that goes by when you haven’t utilized the unique power of a water heater in your home. But did you know how much your hot water heater could be contributing to your utility bill? The answer might surprise you!  In this post, we explain how hot water heaters work, connect that work to your energy use and utility bills, and provide you with a guide to the best hot water heaters for your home and how to select one.

Hot Water Heaters, A Primer

As you may have gathered from our previous posts, we like to start with the basics. Once you understand how hot water heaters work, it will become clear why they require so much energy and why it’s worth keeping power consumption in mind in order to identify the best hot water heater for your home.

How They Work

The science behind the water heater is actually pretty straightforward. A fuel-burning source heats either stored water or a volume of water that flows past that heat source. The heated water then travels through the fixtures in your home to where it is needed. That would be the dishwasher, shower, bathtub, washing machine, sink, you get it!

Types of Water Heaters

As you may have gathered from the above description, there are two ways to categorize hot water heaters: by storage type and by fuel type. Comparing by storage type, we have:

Storage Water Heaters: these hold a considerable volume of water to heat at any given time

Tankless (or Demand) Water Heaters: as the name implies, these have no storage tank but heat water as it passes by the heating source

Heat Pump Water Heaters: these move heat from one place to another instead of generating heat directly and only for hot water.

Comparing by fuel type, we have:

Electricity: these are widely available in the U.S. in either storage or tankless formats

Gas: within this category, there are fuel oil, natural gas, and propane water heaters, also available in both storage and tankless heaters

Solar: these are most abundant in the Southwest U.S. but available throughout the country

Geothermal: these are available throughout the U.S., but you’ll need a geothermal heat pump system already installed to leverage this type of hot water heater.

Storage vs. Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless heaters, also referred to as demand-type or instantaneous water heaters, do not store water. Instead, they only provide hot water as it is needed.

How They Work

Cold water flows into the heater when a hot water tap is opened. The flow of water is detected by a circuit board that activates the heat exchanger that heats the water as it passes through. Once the flow sensor determines that water has stopped flowing, it will quit heating it. In other words, a tankless water heater will heat water as long as the tap is open. Hence the term “demand.”

If you have a large home with fixtures that are pretty far from your hot water heater but want a demand-type heater, consider a model with a recirculation pump. This keeps hot water available in the hot water line and speeds up the delivery of hot water.

If efficiency is your number one concern, we suggest checking out even another variation of the tankless water heater which uses condensing technology. It captures the heat created by the outgoing exhaust gases and uses it to heat incoming cold water. This type of heat exchanger unit is very efficient in that it saves on your energy costs.

Why Tankless?

The initial cost of a tankless water heater is greater than that of a conventional storage one. However, tankless water heaters typically last longer, with a life expectancy of more than 20 years! They also have replaceable parts that can extend their life by many more years. Compare this to the expected 10-15 year lifetime of a storage water heater.

Additionally, tankless heaters boast lower operating and energy costs over those long lifetimes. If your home uses 41 gallons of less of hot water each day, demand water heaters can be 24 – 34 percent more energy-efficient than conventional storage tank water heaters. Now that’s what we’re talking about! If you use a lot of water, that efficiency will go down, but tankless heaters will still be up to 14 percent more energy-efficient.

Storage Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters provide many advantages over storage water heaters. But conventional storage models are still the most popular type of water heating systems for the home.

How They Work

The storage water heater for a single-family home has a reservoir of water that can range from 20-80 gallons. It releases that hot water each time you turn on the hot water tap. And then it replaces that used hot water with cold water, which it heats immediately, to ensure that the tank is always full.

Why Storage?

Storage water heaters typically have a lower up-front price tag and installation-related costs. The operating system of a storage water heater is also relatively simple, meaning that it can require less maintenance.

However, storage heaters typically require more space and bring greater energy costs. Since water is constantly heated in the tank, even when a hot water tap isn’t running, energy is wasted. This is called standby heat loss. If you opt for a storage heater, one thing to look for is a heavily insulated tank that will reduce that heat loss and lower your annual operating cost. The U.S. Department of Energy suggests looking for tanks with a thermal resistance (R-value) of R-12 to R-25.

Heat Pump Heaters

If you feel like you still haven’t found your goldilocks system in storage and tankless options, there are three more types of water heaters that you can choose from: indirect, heat pump and point-of-use. The most common of these in home settings is the heat pump water heater.

Heat pump heaters use electricity to pull heat from the surrounding airspace and use that to increase the temperature of the water that it has stored. Essentially, a heat pump water heater works like a refrigerator, but in reverse!

Because this type of heater is moving heat instead of directly generating it, it can be two or three times more energy-efficient than conventional electric water heaters! However, heat pump heaters do require mild climates to be effective, so they are only appropriate in certain locations.

Water Heaters by Fuel Source

Regardless of whether you select a demand-type, storage, or heat pump water heater, you will also need to select the fuel-type for your heater. To make this decision, definitely reach out to your utility to compare the rates of each type of fuel. You can calculate and compare annual operating costs using the energy factor of a heat pump, and the fuel’s cost.

Gas-Powered Water Heaters

Regardless of fuel type in this category (natural gas, propane, or fuel oil), each of these types of water heaters operates with a thermostat built into the inside of the tank. Once the water temperature drops below a set level, a burner ignites. 

Additional cold water enters the tank from the top and follows the path of a dip tube to the bottom of the heater. That is where the burner is located, and as the water heats, it rises within the tank to exit via the hot water outlet to the fixture.

Combustible gases created from this process are vented through the center of the tank in a flue. The flue also acts as a heat conductor. The gases move slowly due to the baffle design of the tank system.

Electric-Powered Water Heaters

Electric water heaters also use a built-in thermostat but have a 220-volt current that runs through a circuit with two heating elements. When the thermostat determines that the temperature has fallen below a set level, electrical energy is converted to heating energy inside the heating elements. The heat transfers to the stored water, via conduction, heating it.

Believe it or not, your kitchen coffee machine uses the very same heating process! 

Renewable Energy-Powered Water Heaters

Solar water heaters and geothermal water heaters provide hot water without burning any fuel source. In the case of solar heaters, the sun serves as the “fuel,” and in the case of geothermal heaters, stored heat in the earth provides the “fuel.” While both of these types of systems will require additional planning, they can provide significant operating and energy cost savings over the long run!

The Best Water Heater For Your Home

With so many factors determining the best water heater fit, the right model for you may be different from that of your neighbor! However, we consulted with experts and customers alike to provide recommendations for each of the major types of heaters to support your water heating journey.

Best Overall Electric Storage: Rheem Performance Electric Elements

This tank is plenty large for a family of three or four and has dual heating elements to ensure you have plenty of hot water whenever you and your family need it. If you have a big family and need more water capacity, consider the Westinghouse 52 Gal electric heater.

Best Overall Electric Tankless: EcoSmart ECO 11 Tankless

This water heater works quickly and provides great control over the temperature of your water and consistent heating performance.

Best Overall Gas Storage: Rheem Performance Natural Gas

This heater is big enough for two to four people, and we love that its push button ignition makes the start-up process quick and easy. It also comes with a solid six-year limited warranty. If you have a big family and need more water capacity, our vote goes to one of the largest residential storage heaters on the market: Westinghouse 60 Gallon natural gas heater.

Best Overall Gas Tankless: Rheem Performance Platinum

This water heater has a sleek design that allows it to fit in small spaces that normal tank heaters would not fit. It offers great, consistent results and is definitely a winning option if you’re looking for a gas-powered tankless heater!

Things are Heating Up!

There was a time when the only way you could heat water in your home was in small quantities on the top of a woodstove. Luckily, hot water heaters have evolved with new technology changing and improving the way we do things in our daily lives. Selecting a new hot water heater can be a bit of a project, with all the varieties out there, but hopefully this post will help you whittle down your search and identify the best fit for your home!

To learn more about the electricity that powers your home and energy saving strategies, subscribe for updates and continue to follow along! Have a particular product you want to know more about? Contact us and we’ll be happy to do some power sleuthing!

Buying the best energy-efficient electronics will provide ongoing savings for your loved ones. Source: Jonas Leupe

2019 Cyber Week Shopping Guide: 7 Energy-Efficient Electronics Look To For

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It’s the time of year we’ve all been anxiously awaiting. You know the one—where we cross off days on our calendar in anticipation, where we plan furiously for how we’ll strategically conquer it, where we seek out the best of the best deals and discounts so we can finally snag that to-die-for product we’ve been eying all year.

That’s right, it’s cyber week—and it’s almost here!

With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, you’re running out of time to plan out and purchase the coolest and very best energy-efficient electronics for your loved ones this holiday season (or, you know, for you—you deserve an awesome gift, too).

Our advice?

If you’re truly looking to hunt down some deals, we suggest you take a (brief) pause to read this article.

Why? Because we’ve laid out something pretty sweet.

Sure, we’re guiding you toward some super sweet suggestions—but it’s more than that. We’re offering up our take on the best energy-efficient electronics to look for come black Friday, and throughout all of cyber week.

At WattDoesitUse, we believe in gifts that keep on giving. And to us, that means buying electronics and appliances that can do good while being really great gifts. Why not find great deals on super cool items for your family, friends, and colleagues and facilitate energy savings through your purchase choices?! Win-win!

Okay, enough turkey chit-chat—lets get down to business and with some of the best energy-efficient electronics .

The Best Energy-Efficient Electronics for Black Friday & Cyber Week 2019

Now—we want to be super clear here. We don’t have a crystal ball that tells us that these products will absolutely 100 percent go on sale this cyber shopping week (man, wouldn’t that be something, though).

But, as you know, cyber shopping week tends to hit every genre, which means that it’s more than likely something very similar to these products (and maybe even these products themselves) are bound to see some steep discounts.

Black Friday and Cyber Week mean deep discounts on the best energy-efficient electronics.
We’re chomping at the bit for deep discounts on the best energy-efficient electronics this year! Source: Allie Smith

Keep your eyes peeled for energy-efficient like these this Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Sale Shopping Week!

Eugene Trash Scanner

We love this cool, little product. The Eugene Trash Scanner turns your trash or your recycling container into a high-tech, cutting-edge dispenser. This system allows you to scan every single item before you toss it and it lets you know if that item (or parts of that item) can be recycled. It even adds your trashed item to a shopping list!

How It Helps Conserve Energy

By helping you better understand what to recycle and how to recycle something, you conserve energy by reducing or eliminating the need to make materials from scratch. Not only is this expensive, but it’s labor-intense and uses up natural resources, too.

ENERGY STAR Certified Laptops

We’re throwing you a general topic here, but that’s only because there are so many deals to be had. If you’re on the hunt for a top-notch energy-efficient laptop this cyber week, check out Best Buy’s collection of energy-star certified laptops here. They even have some black Friday pricing up early—be sure to shop fast! Amazon will also have some awesome deals if you, like us, are hooked on Prime shipping!

How It Helps Conserve Energy

Laptops that prioritize energy will run longer and better off of their battery source, meaning you’ll be able to get by plugging them in and drawing power from your home a lot less than with a desktop or a laptop that doesn’t prioritize energy.

Whirlpool Zera Food Recycler

Whirlpool’s WLabs Zera Food Recycler helps you make composting way easier (and less messy) right in your kitchen. This neat gadget turns your compostable food scraps into fertilizer right in front of you—it even includes a carbon filter to ensure that your kitchen doesn’t smell from all those composted scraps. You can even hook up this smart gadget to an app on your phone to run it remotely!

How It Helps Conserve Energy

Composting helps by reducing the amount of energy pumping needed to treat water and wastewater when it comes to sewage and trash. Further, by composting, you’re reducing a large amount of garbage that’s sent to landfills, which use machinery (which requires energy) to sort, process, and eliminate that waste.  

ENERGY STAR Certified Tablets

If a tablet is on your shopping to-do list, you’re going to love this selection of Black Friday pricing that’s already available on these ENERGY STAR certified tablets at Best Buy and Amazon.

How It Helps Conserve Energy

These work similarly to the laptops. They’ll better prioritize their own battery life to ensure the tablet lasts longer, meaning you’ll need to draw less power while using it than with other, less efficient tablets.

ENERGY STAR Certified Monitors

We’ll keep it brief since you can probably tell this is sort of a trend—check out Best Buy’s collection of Energy Star Certified Monitors this cyber shopping week!

How It Helps Conserve Energy

An energy-efficient monitor has to meet stringent requirements to verify that it actually conserves energy. That means it’ll have limited power modes when the monitor is on and off, as well as a set maximum of power consumption. Monitors that have the Energy Star rating are 15 percent more energy-efficient than standard options.

SolPad Mobile Panels

Keep an eye out for these neat gadgets this cyber shopping week! SolPad Mobile Panels are small, diverse, and totally affordable (and even more affordable if there’s a deal!). They don’t require installation and are easy to use, making converting solar energy for power easier than ever.

How It Helps Conserve Energy

Solar panels harvest the sun’s energy to do work, meaning, you can use these panels to charge electronics, power your devices, and more!

Lifx LED Lightbulb

This Wi-Fi-enabled Lifx LED Smart bulb lasts up to 40,000 hours before it needs replaced. The best part? It’s totally controlled by an app on your phone, so you’ll never forget to turn the light off again.

How It Helps Conserve Energy

With a built-in guarantee that you can turn the light off in your home from anywhere, you’ll never accidentally waste energy by leaving a bulb on at home!

Pro Tips: Is It Truly Energy Efficient?

Energy-efficient gadgets are all the rage right now, and honestly, we’re totally here for it. (In fact, we’re so here for it, we even wrote up a list of the 7 best energy-efficient gadgets out there for your home).

But because energy efficiency is such a huge trend, it can sometimes be hard to tell if a product you’re investing in will actually make a difference or if it’s just claiming to conserve energy. How can you be sure that you’re not investing your hard-earned money into the real deal?

Here are a few ways you can tell if your energy-efficient product is legit or if it’s simply pretending to be something it’s not.

  • A lot of appliances and gadgets out there that are big-name brands and claim to be energy efficient will feature an ENERGY STAR certification. This means they’re verified to actually do the job that they claim they’ll do.
  • Talk to the brand directly. If you’re unsure if a product is actually energy efficient (aka it’s missing a certification), don’t be afraid to reach out directly to the brand’s customer service. Ask them (politely, of course) if they can provide studies, proof, testimonials, or research to confirm that the product you’re planning to buy actually makes an energy efficiency difference.
  • Speak with your electric or energy company. More than likely, they’ll be able to not only let you know if a specific product or brand can walk the walk, but they’ll also be able to recommend other products or brands that can help you cut down your energy consumption.

Time to Get Shopping!

If you’re feelin’ totally ready to tackle this cyber shopping week with an energy-efficient mission in mind after reading this article, then we’ve done our job! Let us know in the comments where you’re finding the best energy-efficient electronics, tools, and appliances this year—you know your fellow readers will appreciate it. May Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Cyber Shopping Week all be good to you and gift you with the savings you love to love this time of year.

If you’re looking for more pro tips for conserving energy, other energy-efficient gift suggestions for the holidays, or simply are seeking out helpful information about energy and electricity, you’re in the right place. Keep up with our regularly updated blog on WattDoesitUse by subscribing and get ready to receive tips, tricks, and insight into the world of energy efficiency.

Investing in one of the best energy-efficient TVs can save you money. Source: Source: Jens Kreuter

The 3 Best Energy-Efficient TVs To Watch Your Holiday Favorites

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The holidays are approaching, and you know what that means. Oh, sure, lots of great food, time with family, and plenty of festivities. But also, let’s get real, whose Thanksgiving is complete without the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade? Or the big football game (obviously not as big as your family’s pick-up game, but you know what we mean!)? We’re obviously not encouraging you to spend your holidays plopped down in front of the TV while the rest of the world celebrates. But outside of the Academy Awards and Super Bowl Sunday, it truly is the most wonderful TV time of the year. But the electricity bill associated with these past times can dull the mood if you don’t have one of the best energy-efficient TVs!

So, since you plan to schedule a little TV-family-programming this holiday season, we absolutely have to ask: is the TV you’re watching energy-efficient? If not, you could be missing out on some major savings (and who doesn’t’ want a little more cash to spend on cyber week holiday shopping?)!

Television Viewing in the U.S.

At WattDoesitUse we’re all about living your best life (especially during the holiday season), which is why we so firmly believe that the type of TV you’re watching totally matters. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, TVs are responsible for about 4 percent of residential electricity alone in the United States. You might think, just a measly 4 percent? Doesn’t sound like a whole lot! But if you think about it in the grand scheme of things that’s a pretty big proportion for one screen, particularly since it can be much less if you’re invested in one of the best energy-efficient TVs!

Consider this next part one of our holiday gifts to you—a complete guide to the best energy-efficient TVs so you can have the same great viewing experience while whittling down your electricity consumption (and costs) this holiday season.

Why Does Energy Efficiency Matter?

We promise we’ll jump into the list you’re looking for in a flash—but first, let’s answer this seemingly simple (but infinitely important) question.

Why does energy efficiency matter in my home this holiday (and beyond)?

We could honestly talk about this for hours, but we’ll be brief and just say this: by embracing energy efficiency, you use less power to complete the same tasks required for memorable holiday entertaining (and, of course, day-to-day tasks throughout the year). Less power consumption is important because:

  • The less power you use, the less energy your electric company needs to generate at power plants.
  • The less energy the electric company generates, the less fuel it needs to burn and the fewer greenhouse gases are emitted into the atmosphere.
  • The lower the greenhouse gas emissions, the better your air quality will be.
  • In short, the less energy you use, you more money you save and the more you help to save the planet!

The Top Features to Consider In An Energy-Efficient TV   

The number of features offered by today’s TV’s can be overwhelming. And if you’re like many people, you might worry that prioritizing energy efficiency means you’ll have to de-prioritize performance. Fortunately, that couldn’t be further from the case!

Follow our pro tips below to ensure you select the best energy-efficient TVs for your needs, meaning that it provides superb performance when you want it the most without spiking the energy bill and unnecessarily drawing electricity when not in use.

Picture Quality

Whether you know it or not, TV brightness and picture quality are linearly related to the amount of power that your TV consumes. The new, brighter OLED technology is “technically” more efficient than LCD technology, but it often ends up actually being more energy-intensive because of its brightness. The brighter the TV settings, the more energy an OLED screen will consume—which is why, when an OLED screen is at max brightness, it consumes twice as much power as LED LCD TVs at their brightest. With all that in mind, we suggest opting for an LED LCD model, which can still provide superb performance with fewer electricity requirements.

A couple other specs to look for include: a refresh Rate of at least 120 times per second and ultra-high definition (UHD) screens (i.e., “4k” resolution).

Size

We all know the whole bigger is better argument when it comes to TVs (don’t act like your neighbor has never brought you over just show off their huge flat-screen TV). But when it comes to energy efficiency, that’s not always the case. There’s a definite link between power consumption and size. Our recommendation? Stick to 55” and under if you’re opting to conserve energy. More generally, we like the ENERGY STAR sizing guidance:

  • Viewing distance: Measure your viewing distance and divide by 2 to determine your TV’s ideal diagonal length.
  • Line of sight: Aim to position your TV parallel with your eyes and no higher or lower than 15 degrees. Your space and willingness to mount your TV may impact the TV size that fits at an optimal angle.
Specific Energy Efficiency Features

Of course, if energy efficiency is your game, you’ll want to double-check that the TVs you’re looking at have features like:

  • ENERGY STAR Certification: As with other home appliances and electronic devices, if your TV is certified by ENERGY STAR, you can be confident you will be saving on operational costs versus other models. In fact, ENERGY STAR TVs consume on average 25 percent less electricity than conventional models.
  • Automatic Brightness Control (ABC): As we mentioned earlier, brightness and electricity consumption are linearly related. But depending on the lighting in the room, you might prefer a different brightness. ABC setting enable a TV to adjust brightness based ambient lighting in order to provide the best viewing experience possible for you, keeping energy efficiency in mind.
  • Local Dimming Settings: These settings allow you to turn off or dim sections of the LED backlighting which can save energy, and provide better contrast (when we say we want a black background, we want a black background!).
  • ENERGY STAR Picture Settings: okay we have to admit we love these! Are you watching a movie? Or perhaps a football game?
Compatibility

This one is more about taking the extra step before you buy to make sure your new TV is going to be compatible with your other accessories, gadgets, and even your energy-efficient lifestyle, too. Our best advice? Think about a new TV in a general sense. Ask questions, like, what other equipment will I need? What kind of connectors are required (HDMI)? How many of them? Answering these questions first is always for the best—that way you don’t have to worry about them right when Frosty the Snowman is about to start playing.

The Best Energy-Efficient TVs

Now, without further ado, here are 3 of the best energy-efficient TVs to be merry about your utility bill this holiday season without giving up your family’s favorite shows (because we’d never ask you to opt-out of How the Grinch Stole Christmas or Elf or to compromise your football viewing experience )!

Best For The Essentials: Vizio E60-C3 60” 1080p Full HD LED TV
Average annual power consumption: 80.2 kWh | Average annual power cost: $10.43

If you’re a family who’s into the TV every so often and is just looking for a good, solid performer that won’t break the bank or suck up all the energy on the planet, we suggest the Vizio E60-C3. It has local dimming features that really pack a punch when it comes to picture quality even with the energy-efficient 1080p resolution (less than the more common high-definition 4K resolution in many models). This Vizio is affordable, easy to use, and will save you on your utility bill to boot!

Best For A Budget: TCL 49S405 49” 4k Ultra HD Roku Smart LED TV
Average annual power consumption: 115 kWh | Average annual power cost: $14.95

We’re all about TVs that minimize both the upfront price tag and the long-term power costs. The TCL is exactly that. This TV is a premium product at an affordable price tag—it provides Ultra HD picture quality, thousand of channels, and access to all apps you’d expect through Roku. No, it won’t provide you with a $4,000 TV experience, but as a basic option, it’s got great response time, wonderful color accuracy, and can help you save money on your utility bill like you wouldn’t believe.

Best For Action Seekers: Vizio PQ65-F1 65” 4k HDR TV
Average annual power consumption: 268 kWh | Average annual power cost: $34.87

If you love to love your TV and don’t plan to settle for anything less than the best but still want to be energy conscious, the Vizio PQ65 is the perfect choice for you! If you love fast-paced gaming and sports events, wide viewing angles, high refresh rates for smoother motion and clarity in those action and adventure movies, you’re going to love this TV. The best part? Because of its LED technology, it can do everything you want it to all while consuming half the electricity of the OLED models. You’ll get crisp motion, responsive viewing experiences, and more, all while minding your energy consumption. Sound like a win-win? We think so!

We hope this guide provided you with actionable advice to picking out your new energy-efficient TV.

BONUS HOLIDAY TIP: these bad boys make shockingly great gifts (if you’re looking for even more gifts suggestions, we may or may not have a list of those right here). Follow us by subscribing to our weekly update for downright solid information (if we do say so ourselves!) on how electricity works in our daily lives and pro tips to conserve energy and cut your utility bill.

Devices with energy-saving technology can save money and the planet. Source: Simon Abrams

7 Must-Have Energy-Saving Gadgets for Your Favorite Techie

The 7 Energy-Saving Gadgets That the Techie in Your Life Needs

When you buy through links on this post, we may earn an affiliate commission.  These commissions do not affect our product recommendations. Click here to learn more.

It’s probably no secret to you that the go-green effort is in full effect. This movement is now touching almost every aspect of our lives—from the way we eat to the way we deal with waste to the way we drive our cars.

Because sustainability efforts have a hand in every part of our lives, the idea of helping the environment (and saving money) through energy savings plays a role in how many of us shop, too! Manufacturers of all kinds of products that touch our everyday lives are offering more energy-saving gadgets than ever before. Of course, being folks who are hugely invested in conserving energy and saving you money (because who doesn’t love saving money?), we’re all about this trend.

Still, it’s vital to point out that not every energy saving gadget is as useful as it sounds. So we’ve compiled a list of some of the most effective, must-have energy-saving gadgets on the market. They won’t just say they save energy. They’ll actually do it.

The best part? If you use them correctly and really embrace them, they’ll save you some serious bucks while saving the planet.

Even small savings add up when it comes to power consumption. Source: Aniek Wessel
Even small savings add up when it comes to power consumption. Source: Aniek Wessel

Why Does Energy Saving Matter?

If you’re reading through this blog post thinking, “sure, energy conservation is important, I guess. But what’s the big deal? Can I reallymake that big of a difference by switching a few things at home?”

The short answer: Of course you can!

The longer answer? That one’s coming at you right now:

Even small changes accumulate over time to have a significant impact. So the tiny stuff totally matters. Why? Because when you switch out your normal gadgets—i.e., old-school thermostats or lightbulbs—you’re doing just a little bit to change the way you use energy. But a little bit goes a long way here. Those small changes, well, they add up—and the more you conserve energy, the better off our planet—and everyone living on it—will be.

Sure, we know you might think the energy-saving gadgets are just part of the go-green hype, but there are tons of reasons (beyond the fact that it’s trendy) for you to consider shopping for energy-saving gadgets.

Save Money

Energy savings = financial savings on your electric bill! When you cut back on the amount of energy you’re using by investing in energy-saving technology, you can expect to see a steep decrease in your energy bill (potentially hundreds of dollars every year if you’re doing it right!). Less money spent in one area, means more can be spent in another! And with the holiday gift-giving season coming up, who doesn’t want little more cash to spend?!

SAVE THE PLANET

Because energy and electricity are produced (mostly) through fossil fuels in the US, the less energy we’re using means fewer emissions from fossil fuels. To put it into perspective, in 2018, about 64 percent of electricity generation came from fossil fuels like coal and petroleum. Reducing the amount of energy you use (even small things in your everyday routine) decrease energy demand and production, which in turn reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality.

The Must-Have Energy-Saving Gadgets for the Techie in Your Life

Now that we’re all on the same page about why energy-saving gadgets are super important, we can move on to the good stuff.

 Whether you’re trying to find the perfect gift for the energy-conscious techie in your life or you’ve realized it’s finally time to hop aboard the energy conservation train (hey, welcome to the club, there’s plenty of room for everyone here!), you’ll definitely want to check out the items below.

Smart Thermostats

Thermostats have long been a nuisance to homeowners, renters, landlords, and more. Why? Because they’re typically date and require manual adjustments. You know what we mean—that hassle of remembering to change the temperature setting with the change in season or time of day.

If you invest in one energy-saving gadget this year, make it a smart thermostat.
Smart thermostats are powerful tools to reduce electricity consumption. Source: Dan Lefebvre

On top of that, as you may already be aware, the HVAC system which the thermostat controls is a huge energy suck—in fact, heating and cooling are the leading drivers of energy use (and bills!) in the home. Because of that, if you only install one new gadget this year, make it a smart thermostat. With smart thermostats, you can automatically change temperatures through the use of apps, pre-schedule temperatures for day and night schedules, and get a serious handle on your energy-savings in your household.

Looking for recommendations on which to choose or to get for your favorite techie this holiday season? You’re in luck—we devoted a whole blog post diving into the 7 best smart thermostats for energy savings and how to truly take advantage of them.

Smart Home Hubs & Energy Management Systems

We know what you’re thinking, and yes, these systems truly exist! There has been a major expansion of smart home devices and appliances available from various manufacturers. So streamlining the communication of these devices is more important than ever in order to leverage their energy-saving capabilities.

A smart home hub (or smart speaker) can serve as an energy management system that allows you to control your entire home (yes, you read that correctly) remotely with any smart device like your smartphone or tablet. We’re talking about lights, electric kettles, stereos, air conditioning—the works. It can all be controlled from one, single place. No longer will you have to suffer the energy consumption consequences of forgetting to turn the lights off when you leave the house—with an smart home hub, all it takes is the press of a button on your smart phone for all to be right with the world.

Amazon Echo is a family-favorite, voice-activated speaker that enables you to manage your home’s smart devices. But for full smart home management capabilities, we recommend Samsung’s SmartThings Hub.

LED Lighting

If you’re still using old-school regular fixtures and bulbs, you’re really driving energy bills and should switch to LED lighting ASAP! People used to hesitate about LED lights, complaining that they emitted harsh light. But they now provide much softer quality light. And in addition to running much more efficiently than incandescent bulbs, they have much longer lifespans and  can be dimmed, which gives you even more control over the lighting in your household.

LED light bulbs are becoming smart! Hence our categorization of them as must-have energy-saving gadgets.

Your techie will get particularly jazzed about Sengled LED bulbs, which are essentially high-tech appliances disguised as LED light bulbs. You can buy LED bulbs with a built-in Wi-Fi repeater, stereo system, or security camera, to name a few! And you can control Sengled bulbs from a smartphone app, which also measures your energy savings and allows you to track them.

Smart Windows

Most of us have heard about smartphones and smartwatches, but what about smart windows?! This is a super cool gadget that’s all the rage with energy conservationists, and something your favorite techie will love. Smart windows can help keep your home as energy efficient as possible year-round by using special filters. These filters activate when the exterior glass reaches certain transition points and tint the window to block unwanted solar heat and minimize glare. Smart windows therefore create cool space on the hottest days, saving you from cranking up the AC as much as before. And during cooler periods, they remain clear so your room takes in all the warming rays of light. The result? Less power required for temperature maintenance and a lower energy bill.

Smart windows are must-have energy-saving gadgets that help you manage the temperature of your home. Source: Adeolu Eletu
Smart windows apply filters to help you manage the temperature of your home. Source: Adeolu Eletu

Solar Power

If you’re trying to dramatically reduce your electricity and energy costs, consider solar chargers that can be stuck outside or in the window of your home to absorb the sun’s power. Then, use those solar rays to power your smart devices, charge your phones, and more!

We think your favorite techie will particularly love the Lumos unPlug Backpack to enable device charging throughout the day, even on the go! The Solio Solar Battery Pack and Charger is also super handy whether you’re at home, school or work.

Charging Stations & Smart Plugs

Have you ever heard of phantom load? It’s definitely spooky like it sounds, but not in the way you’re thinking. Phantom load is power drawn from the grid by electronics that aren’t technically “on” but are still plugged in (that’s right, the resulting energy use and increased cost are what makes this so scary). Phantom power pretty much sucks the power from your home for no reason whatsoever. But, there are some easy fixes.

First, charging stations help to automatically turn off and stop phantom power in its tracks when devices are fully charged. They can also be programmed to turn off automatically after a specific length of time, too! Similarly, smart plugs like the Belkin Wemo work with your wi-fi router and allow you to turn any appliance on and off from afar, with any Internet-enabled device. It will eliminate phantom load from any device or appliance plugged into it. For more tips on how to eliminate phantom loads in your home, check out our previous post with recommendations!

Certified Appliances

Okay, we admit these aren’t necessarily “gadgets.” But no energy-saving product review would be complete without mentioning the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ENERGY STAR Program. If you’re looking to replace any appliance throughout your home, be sure to hunt down a product that sports the ENERGY STAR logo.You can find ENERGY STAR certified refrigerators, ceiling fans, toasters, coffee makers, and so much more (the list truly goes on and on). When you purchase these types of appliances, you know you’re getting up-to-date technology that puts energy conservation at the forefront—meaning energy-saving is a priority.

The result? You’ll cut your costs and do your part to conserve more energy without having to lift a finger.

Not a bad list, right? We thought so, too. Now comes the tough part for you: Figuring out how to convince your whole household you need every last one of these energy-saving gadgets on the list (we suggest showing them our blog post about how important energy conservation truly is! It also never hurts to mention you can cut your energy costs, just sayin’.)

If you’ve got any energy-saving gadgets that you think would be a perfect addition to this list, let us know in the comments! If you’re interested in other tips about how to conserve energy, insights on electricity and energy, or recommendations on ways to cut back your energy costs, keep up with our blog. The WattDoesItUse blog is regularly updated and overflowing with the need-to-know details about energy, electricity, conservation, and so much more! Don’t miss out!

Smart thermostats are powerful tools to reduce electricity consumption.

7 Best Smart Thermostats For Energy Savings

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Whether in the depths of winter, the heat of summer, or the change of seasons, managing the thermostat can be a nuisance for homeowners, renters, and landlords/ladies alike! Is it better to keep it at one conservative temperature? Manually change the temperatures as you head out the door or come home from work? Attempt to pre-schedule temperatures for dav and night temperatures?  If you have been struggling to control your energy costs without adding to your already-long daily to-do list, you may have considered a smart thermostat. But which are the best smart thermostats for energy savings in your household?

With new products coming to market every day, the question is getting increasingly difficult to answer. But never fear!

Our goal is to support you in that decision-making process. In this post, we lay out the seven best smart thermostats for energy savings heading into 2020. As a bonus, there are many unexpected ways to leverage your smart thermostat once you have it. We dive into those opportunities in the second half of this post so you can make the most of your investment.

7 Best Smart Thermostats For Energy Savings

Ecobee Smart Thermostat With Voice Control

Loaded with features, the Ecobee Smart Thermostat with Voice Control features Alexa support, a remote room sensor, and a touch display. You can can connect it to work with many other smart home devices—we love the connectivity! It is also very easy to install and operate.

Ecobee4 

In addition to having built-in Alexa voice technology, the Ecobee4 will connect to other smart home devices. Plus, like its compatriot with built-in voice control, it is easy to install and operate. It comes complete with a room sensor and offers many different wiring options.

Nest Learning Thermostat (3rd Generation)

When you hear the term ‘x generation’ it usually means a new and improved design. the latest Nest Learning Thermostat certainly meets this expectation. It features all the functionality of previous generations, and then some. On top of that, it comes with Alexa, Google Home, and IFTTT support so you can easily connect many other smart home devices. It has a sleek design and installs easily. It doesn’t come with a room sensor, but it does have that functionality and sensors can be purchased separately.

Honeywell Home T9 Smart Thermostat With Sensor

This is a dual-band WiFi thermostat that employs long-range sensors to control the temperature in your home. It works with Alexa, Cortana and Google voice commands and is easy to install. Some downsides: there is no HomeKit support. It also surprisingly doesn’t work directly with other Honeywell product. And lastly, the IFTTT functionality is limited.

Lux GEO-WH Wi-Fi Thermostat

This smart thermostat made our “best of the best” ranking because of its versatility. The Lux GEO-WH Wi-Fi Thermostat provides many different scheduling options and is easy to install. It has a stylish look and supports geofencing. However, it doesn’t support IFTTT and doesn’t have remote room sensors.

Lux Kono Smart Thermostat

This is a sharp-looking unit. The Lux Kono Smart Thermostat is HomeKit-enabled and provides a great deal of flexibility. It is easy to install and supports geofencing. However, as with the GEO-WH Wi-Fi Thermostat, it has no room sensors and lacks IFTTT support. It also can’t integrate with other smart devices (as other products on this list, like those of Next and Ecobee).

Nest Thermostat E

If you have a complex multi-stage HVAC system, steer clear of this one. Otherwise, the Nest Thermostat E can handle most any home set up. In fact, it contains features you would expect on a much more expensive model. As with the other models on this list, it is easy to install, boasts a stylish design, and works with other Nest and third-party smart home devices. It also supports Alexa, Google Home, and IFTTT.

Get Smart with your Smart Thermostat

So what exactly can you do with your smart thermostat other than control when your furnace or air conditioner goes on or off?

Well, they are called “smart” thermostats for a reason! The best smart thermostats empower you in many other ways to boost your energy efficiency and lower your utility bill through energy savings. In fact, Nest found a 10-12% savings on heating and 15% savings on cooling—about $131-$145—per year. Ecobee claims average savings of 23%.

But as with many types of technology, you have to understand its full potential and take advantage of that in order to truly realize savings. Here are some of the important features you should be aware of:

Smart Scheduling

We all know you can manually program your HVAC system with your smart thermostat. But did you know that it can also learn your habits? If you choose to allow your smart thermostat to do this, it will optimize temperature settings around your preferences and schedule. And you will barely have to touch it! However, if you prefer to personally control this process in order to maintain a rigid schedule around when you use and don’t use energy, you can choose to do so as well.

Home/Away Automation

Visiting family for the holidays? Fleeing the winter weather for a trip to the tropics? Remember when you had to remember to adjust your thermostat before you rushed out the door to the airport? Those days are gone! You can set your smart thermostat to automatically turn down your heat while you are away from home without having to worry about manually setting it. By using the Home/Away Assist or Auto-Away features, your smart thermostat will know when to adjust to “away” temperatures simply by monitoring a GPS signal from your smartphone.

HVAC Override Option

Your smart thermostat has a “Fan” option that permits you to override when your HVAC system’s fan kicks on or off. As an example, you can program the fan to run even if the heat or air conditioning isn’t. Because the fan can be an energy saving option versus air conditioning, we love that your smart thermostat can make this dissociation easy!

Access Permissions

Are the in-law’s in town? Considering AirBNB but worried about associated utility costs? If you have someone in your household who likes to fiddle with the thermostat settings, you can lock others out with a PIN. You can set this manually or via the app where you manage the thermostat on your smartphone.

Air Filter Reminders

Heating and cooling can represent up to 50% of your utility bill. As we mentioned in a previous post, tending to your HVAC system’s maintenance can therefore provide valuable savings. You can set your smart thermostat to tell you when an air filter is dirty—aka compromised—and you need to replace it.

On top of all this functionality, you can pair your smart thermostat with your smart home hub, which will allow you to control not only your smart thermostat, but also all of your other smart appliances and devices. From one place—your smart phone!

With that in mind, if you are sifting through bills and thinking, “there must be a straight-forward, low-maintenance investment to make a dent in our energy consumption and monthly bills!” — there sure is! Smart thermostats could be the perfect option to jumpstart that process, so long as you’ve done your homework to identify the best one for you.

If you are looking at additional smart technology to improve your energy efficiency and reduce power consumption, stay tuned! There are more reviews of the best smart devices and smart appliances coming your way.

Picking the Best Energy Efficient Projector For You

So you’ve decided to finally get that projector you’ve been thinking about for months. Or maybe you’ve already had one and want to upgrade. If you have been searching, I’m sure you’ve discovered that there are A LOT of options. Choosing the projector that’s right for you and you environment can sometimes be a complicated process if you really care about what you’re buying and also trying to factor in power consumption.

Just Some Thoughts to Get You Started

There are a few types of projectors out there that you can get your hands on. The differences in these usually depend on the source of light, the bulbs. There are LCD, LED, and DLP lamps and all have different characteristics that make them their own. What are the differences in these 3 letter acronyms, you may ask. Well that part is fairly simple.

The LCD (liquid crystal display) is the more of the traditional way of displaying content on the projectors. These types of projectors use what is commonly referred to as a lamp. But, over the last few years, the advancement of projecting and bulb technology has skyrocketed and deserves a mention. These advancements have produced bulbs such as the LED (light-emitting diode) and the DLP (digital light processing). These are definitely the more energy efficient ways to go!

LEDs tend to have a much longer lifespan. On average, they last up to 20,000 hours longer than LCD lamps. This makes the LED more reliable because it fails less often and doesn’t burn out like LCDs. Another factor is, LCDs have very hazardous mercury inside them, which is not a factor with the LEDs. LED seems to already be the best option if lower power consumption is your number one goal. Also, The LED lighting systems provide a larger number of colors and also more saturated colors, making the picture appear brighter.

One disadvantage that the LED system has however, is the inability to be as bright as the lamp based systems. This would present a problem if you are in a room that you just can’t get dark enough.

DLPs

Digital light processing is a solid state technology and only uses a single device to produce images. This helps in the production by allowing manufacturers to make smaller, thinner projectors than the competitor systems, which require three devices to function. One big advantage that DLPs have over LEDs is that dust does not affect them. The biggest enemy with LEDs is the dust. The filter in an LED system needs to be cleaned very regularly, which is not the case with the DLP systems.

 

Conclusion

Regardless which projector technology you choose, make sure you look up the power consumption of your existing or future projector.

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