Currently, millions of us are being told to self-isolate and work remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic to help flatten the curve and keep their families safe and healthy. Naturally, the Coronavirus has resulted in an unforeseen financial burden on families across the nation. However, there are several no and low-cost ways to help save on energy and the costs of staying at home.
Let the Sun Work for You
The easiest way to save energy during the daylight hours is to turn off the lights and open the blinds. Find spaces in your home to work from that get the most natural light through. Take advantage of passive solar energy and close your blinds after the day’s work is done to keep the collected warmth in at night.
Another helpful tip: placing lights in corners will provide more light since the adjoining walls will magnify the light across the room, ultimately requiring fewer bulbs. For the lights that you do use, consider switching traditional bulbs out for more energy-efficient ones. The next time you are out on an essential trip, see if the store has LEDs, not only will they save energy but they are proven to last 25 times longer. If you need additional light, opt for a desk lamp instead of an overhead fixture.
Keep Your Heating in Check
The standard recommended indoor temperature is 68 degrees, however, the lower you can comfortably creep down your thermostat, the more energy you can save. While there is no reason to freeze yourself in your own home, even just one or two degrees can save you three percent or more on your heating bill. If you want to shave a little more off the bill, turn down your water heater a degree or two as well. Grabbing an extra layer or opening the windows to let the sun and warm air help heat the house are great ways to get used to a slightly cooler norm.
This is not to say you should be washing your hands for any less than 20 seconds, now more than ever, but there are other ways you can cut water costs around the house. Reducing shower times is a good start, especially if everyone is fighting for the hot water. Turning down your Use your dishwasher, handwashing wastes a lot more water than you may think, so putting your dishwasher to good use will likely save you thousands of gallons at the end of the year.
The heated dry setting on the dishwasher can be a serious energy drain. Instead, turn it off and let dishes air-dry overnight. The same goes for the dryer, the less energy spent heating things, the less you pay at the end of the month. If you have room, air dry as much as possible. Especially thick heavy items like towels that take longer to dry.
If it’s not already, make a habit out of unplugging and turning off unused appliances and lights when you leave the room. Unplugging things may seem unnecessary, but many devices are phantom power drainers and waste quite a bit of energy even when they aren’t in use. Using a few power strips for your home office or entertainment systems makes this a bit easier since you only need to remember one switch for several electronics. Don’t forget to check that children’s electrical devices and chargers aren’t left on overnight. The US Department of Energy even has an online energy calculator to show you how much you can save by turning off certain appliances.
Wait to Run Appliances
Being home all the time, it can be tempting to busy yourself with chores. However, putting small loads in the laundry or running the dishwasher every night, is one of the quickest ways to waste both water and energy. Instead, keep to a designated laundry day, and wait until the dishwasher is full to be as energy-efficient as possible.
These are just a few things you can do to help conserve energy while spending so much time at home. As we all adjust to a new normal routine, work some of these energy-saving initiatives into your day.