11 Tips for Keeping Your Electric Usage Low During Quarantine
And just like that, everything changed. The Coronavirus pandemic has caused significant upheaval in people’s lives and now that people are home, they are consuming much more energy than normal.
Whether you have a solar system or not, we want to help ease the financial strain that increased energy consumption and higher electric bills can put on your already strained finances.
Here are our top tips for keeping your electricity usage low during quarantine:
Unplug Appliances You Aren't Using
The crock-pot on the counter… the hair dryer… the TV in the guest room… It’s shocking how much plugged-in appliances still draw! You can save $100-$200 a year by unplugging any appliances and devices you don’t use constantly. This also protects them from power surges.
Install a Programmable Thermostat
Your home’s biggest energy use comes from heating and cooling and now that summer’s ramping up in Texas, you may be facing a hefty cooling bill in the coming months. Instead of manually turning the thermostat down, install a programmable thermostat. Set it to a comfortable yet cost-effective temperature, and let the thermostat make the changes automatically.
Add Insulation to Help Maintain a Consistent Indoor Temperature
If you’ve ever been inside a traditional adobe home, you know how deliciously comfortable it is even in 100-degree temperatures. Unfortunately, most “stick-built” modern homes don’t have nearly enough insulation to be truly energy-efficient. Even though it’s a big project, consider adding insulation, particularly on the south and west sides of your home, that heat up the most.
Replace Filters Regularly to Reduce the Strain on Your Heating and Cooling Systems.
Dust, lint, pollen, and pet hair can clog the filter which will cause the system to run longer than it needs to.
Use Shade Effectively
Install sun-blocking drapes, screens, or blinds on the east, south, and west sides of the home to minimize passive solar heat gain.
Lower the Temperature on Your Water Heater
Unless you have an on-demand (tankless) hot water heater, a hot water tank has to run pretty consistently to heat and maintain hot water for your shower, sinks, dishwasher, and washing machine. The ideal temperature for a hot water heater is 120 degrees F; anything hotter than that requires significantly more energy to maintain.
Wash Clothes in Cold Water
...and consider drying clothes outside just like grandma used to do. Your clothes will still be clean, and you’ll put a big dent in your energy consumption.
Use Appliances Strategically
For example, instead of doing one load of laundry every couple of days, do several large loads of laundry in one day; and fully load the dishwasher before turning it on.
Seal Your Windows
Whether you’re trying to keep your house warm in winter or cool in summer, a lot of air moves in and out of windows. Caulk, weatherstrip, and seal windows and doors to maintain a more consistent indoor temperature.
If you have a single-family home and you have the space, consider planting trees on the south side of the home to provide shade and lower your cooling bills (and help the environment at the same time).
Use Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs
LED bulbs use less energy than halogen or incandescent bulbs. If you’re worried about blue light interfering with your sleep since LEDs do give off more blue light, opt for energy-efficient blue-light-free bulbs (available online).
We all hope that life can go back to normal soon; but in the meantime, taking stock of your energy consumption and making a few adjustments can help you save money now, as well as in the future.
Interested in lowering your energy bills even more by going solar? Get started below! Enter your zip code and take our 60 second solar roof survey to receive a free custom solar proposal for your home!