As many families find themselves together at home due to remote work, school closures, and social distancing, they will likely see their home’s electricity usage increase during this period. Below are some tips and strategies to help you manage your usage as well as small home improvements ideas that can help you save now and in the future.
Take advantage of the sun’s warmth by opening curtains or blinds on sunny days to help naturally heat your space.
If you heat with a heat pump, employ the “set it and forget it” philosophy. The variable-speed motor will adjust accordingly. If you have a furnace or boiler, remember to set back the temperature when you won’t mind it being a bit colder like when sleeping at night. You can also install a smart or programmable thermostat to automate your temperature settings.
Using a dishwasher instead of handwashing dishes could save you $1,300 worth of energy and nearly 230 hours per year of personal time. While you’re all home, this is a great time to teach your kids how to use the dishwasher and other home appliances.
An easy way to save energy while preparing home-made meals is to limit the number of times you open your oven and refrigerator doors. Allowing heat or cold air to escape will cause your appliances to work harder and use more energy. Check out the ENERGY STAR Flip Your Fridge calculator to see how much energy your fridge uses.
You can also take advantage of pressure cookers, microwaves or toaster ovens to use less energy while cooking compared to a full-size oven.
Water Heating and Usage
According to Energy.gov, turning down your water heater temperature can reduce its energy use by 4-22% each year, and save you money on your energy bill.
You can also take advantage of Thermostatic Shut-off Valves can stop the flow of water once the temperature reaches the desired temperature, so you don’t waste hot water while you wait for it to heat up.
You can also take advantage of low-flow showerheads to lessen the amount of water being used in your kitchen and bathroom sinks.
Wash or Dry full loads only
This applies to your dishwasher, clothes washer, and clothes dryer. These appliances are far more energy-efficient when you run them at their maximum capacity. Take it a step further by choosing appliances that are ENERGY STAR certified – they’re designed to maintain performance and functionality but are highly energy-efficient compared to non-certified models and can help to save energy.
Take advantage of natural lighting if you are working from home. The natural light can also help warm up your house. If you need a little extra light, use task lighting such as a desk lamp instead of turning on lots of overhead lights. Don’t forget to turn the lights off you leave a room. You can also install smart LEDs that allow you to schedule when lights come on and off, dim them, and control them via voice control or through an app on your smartphone.
Double-check all your lights to make sure you are using LEDs, and don’t forget those outdoor!
we work and entertain ourselves remotely, many of us are using our home computers, TVs and gaming consoles more than we typically use. Consider using an advanced power strip to shut down power to products that aren’t being used. These work great with computers and entertainment systems. If you don’t have an advanced power strip, you can also unplug TVs, computers, and gaming consoles when you’re done using them to save energy. A study by the Natural Resources Defense Council found that about a quarter of home energy consumption is used on idling devices.
When your fireplace is not in use, closing the damper can prevent warm air from escaping from your home through your chimney. If you don’t use your fireplace often, it can be a weak spot for air leaks. To help eliminate drafts, consider installing a chimney balloon in your fireplace. You can even receive a $35 rebate through Cape Light Compact!