Shelter-in-place orders keeping you home more? Save money on your electric bill with these energy reducing home-improvements.
At this unprecedented time in our world’s history, many of us are being asked to stay at home while we fight a common enemy, the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
When we’re home, we’re using electricity. Our children are being expected to complete schoolwork and activities from home. Adults are working at home as well, Zoom or Microsoft Teams meetings daily. Temporary workstations are set up. Docking stations. Phones. More power. More lights. More appliances. More electricity.
We’re binge-watching more TV than ever. Multiple streaming services are offering specials and bonus content – we’re home. We’re watching. Streaming. Data. Internet. Energy.
It’s starting to get warmer – depending on where you are in the world. In the Sacramento Valley, we’re already reaching temperatures in the 90s – and it’s only April. Do we need the AC already to keep us comfortable during our work-from-home days?
We’re spending more time in the kitchen. With restaurant dining rooms closed, we’re eating every meal at home. And the dishwasher is full – AGAIN.
While so much of our future is uncertain, the COVID-19 virus has impacted our lives in ways we never would have imagined. We each face the challenge of stay-at-home orders in our own unique ways, but one thing we all have in common – being home more means using more electricity. But does it have to mean having a higher electrical bill? Continue reading to discover easy ways to reduce your monthly energy bill.
Get Smart about Lights to Reduce your Electric Bill
I can hear my dad now. Clear as day. Storming through my childhood home, knocking on doors, bellowing as he went for us to turn off the lights. Disgusted by the energy-sucking vampires he believed us to be. I’d often be sitting in my room, working on a project much like this, and he’d walk by and turn my light off. My dad wasn’t a monster – the energy bill made him do it.
Flashing forward to now, everyone is home. All day. We’re asked to stay in our homes, and the lights are on. I no longer live with my dad – but as I walk through my own home, turning off lights in a huff, I can relate to his light monster, it grows in me too.
To reduce the amount of energy used on lights – and therefore lowering your energy bills, there are a few surprisingly simple solutions to this:
- Swap out your lightbulbs to a lower wattage to save on energy.
- CFL and LED light bulbs can reduce energy usage by up to 80% according to Energy Sage(1).
- HomeSelfe(2) recommends Installing Dimmer switches – a long term fix and big benefit solution to using less energy.
- Swap out outdoor light fixtures with solar fixtures. Save money, and take advantage of natures built in energy source – free of charge.
- Turn off lights when you’re not in the room (or even if you are).
Reduce Phantom Energy to Lower Your Monthly Electrical Costs
Phantom energy – the silent killer of your energy budget. And a big offender with the new homeschool and at-home work stations being set up. We’ve all heard of it, the energy used by our appliances that are plugged in, but not in use. Shockingly – this can account for up to 10% of your monthly bill, according to Green Living Ideas(3). The way to reduce Phantom Energy? Unplug appliances when not in use.
Simple? Yes. Convenient and easy to remember? No.
Technology has evolved to help with this. Using power strips, or even better – smart power strips and outlets, allow you to turn off energy to appliances that are not in use. That simple act can add up to big savings at the end of a year.
And if you’re like me and forget to turn off the power strip or unplug them, a smart power strip can help do it for you, and often even send a reminder to your phone.
Common Phantom Energy Appliances:
- Electric Toothbrush
- Phone Charger
- Video Game Console
- Night Light
- Music/Audio System
Kitchen “Quick-Tip” to Reduce your Energy Bill
The dishwasher is working overtime – and that’s ok. According to CNET(4), running your dishwasher instead of washing dishes by hand, even for a small load, can reduce your monthly water use by 40%? Save water and energy by skipping the handwashing and run your dishwasher daily.
Save even more energy by turning off the dry cycle on the dishwasher, and let the dishes air-dry – just crack open the door once washing is done and let nature take its course.
Older appliances are also the biggest culprits of energy waste. When you’re ready to upgrade, Energy Star appliances will save you the most money in the long run. Handyman Network is available to install your new appliance today. Give us a call when you’re ready, we’ll be happy to help.
Cool Down with Energy Bill Savings
Ceiling fans. Do they use energy to run? Yes. Do they use as much energy as your Air Conditioner? Not even close.
It feels wrong to run your AC in April, but with everyone stuck at home – temperatures are rising. The pressures of trying to work, manage a household, school our children, develop new passions and hobbies, and just keep our sanity – a hot house will not cut it.
Open your windows, and turn on the ceiling fan. Get the air moving and create your own cooling breeze. Nothing fuels productivity, or an afternoon nap, like a cool breeze refreshing your skin. Don’t have a ceiling fan? Handyman Network has got you covered.
Some days are just too hot. On days like this AC is our only rescue. Make sure your AC doesn’t have to work extra hard by following these four tips:
- AC on means the house should be shut down. Close your blinds and drapes so the AC is not competing with the sun.
- Install a smart thermostat – make sure the AC is running at the ideal temperature for your home to keep costs down, and NOT running when you don’t need it to be.
- Install a storm door. Storm doors are multi-functional – one function being they create a strong seal around your door, so cool air from the AC won’t escape through the cracks.
- Insulate your electrical outlets. HomeSelfe(2) reminds us that the openings in outlets are an easy way for air to leave a room. Insulated outlets keep the cool AC air from escaping – keeping your home cooler, longer.
Handyman Network Can Help
For now, there’s not much we can do about the extra man-hours at home. But we can make sure we’re reducing our energy use and being smart about the energy trades we’re making. With a few modifications to our home and our behavior, we can reduce the impact on our energy bill – and keep our own energy monsters at bay.
Keep up the vigilance, and let Handyman Network help keep your costs down, and your home energy efficient. Tell us about your energy saving projects today. We’re here to help.
Handyman Network – You’re Go to Resource for all Electrical Needs
- Installing dimmer switches
- Insulating electrical outlets
- Install or relocate ceiling fans
- Installing new appliances
- Solar light-fixture installation
- LED light-fixture installation
- Recessed lighting
- And more…
(2)Home Selfe: https://www.homeselfe.com/50-tips-to-cut-your-electric-bill-in-half/
(3)Green Living Ideas: https://greenlivingideas.com/2014/07/31/how-to-install-and-use-your-smart-strip/