Welcome to spring 2020.
It’s getting sunny out, the heat will pick up (with the few snow storms we’ll still get in Colorado), and we can’t wait to go to the pool and parks…..
Covid-19 “Hold my White Claw and watch this!”
Now we will be home more than ever before, with more screen time and electric consumption than before. With this comes higher utility bills, taxing our HVAC appliances, and expenses we aren’t prepared for especially with so many being laid off or having their positions suspended.
Here are some ways you can immediately and easily do to reduce your electric bill and consumption and can continue after all this to continually lower your bill.
Phantom Use: one of the biggest places of electric consumption is appliances that are plugged in that are turned off but still use energy.
Items like Computers, TV’s, coffee makers, stereos all will continue to pull kilowatts while off. In the US, the total electricity consumed by idle electronics equals the annual output of 12 power plants (EPA).
How to solve: Unplug items that aren’t needed to be used at that moment. Or, if you don’t already have energy-efficient devices (and even if you do), use a power strip and switch it off when not using. This has the same effect as unplugging the items. Although you likely will want things like your modem to be plugged in directly so that you have consistent internet during these times.
Smart Lighting: LED bulbs will not only last close to 25 years, they also consume an average of 75% less energy to light your home. Yes they cost more at the start (although places like Costco have great deals on lights that have already included rebates for a pack or two), this is a long term strategy of course. If you don’t have the money to buy them now, this is something to consider in the future.
Turn unused lights off: Yes this seems simple, and we all hear our parents voices in our heads “Turn those lights off before bed!”
You may notice now how much you may leave lights on, and if you don’t have LED bulbs this does end up adding up a lot. Be cognizant of which lights NEED to be on, including exterior lights. Most of which you’ll notice are not needing to be on.
Smart Refrigerator Use: Sounds very interesting I know, but there are ways to use your fridge even if it is or isn’t an energystar or efficient fridge.
You may think that the lower your refrigerator temp is set, the less energy consumed. However, this is not the case. Lower fridge settings can actually increase your electric bill.
The ideal refrigerator temp setting should be between 37 degrees to 40 degrees for most efficient use.
Also, do NOT put warm food in your fridge. Let it cool off. The condensation and its warm temp will have the fridge work more to regulate the temperature.
Lastly, keep your fridge and freezer full. The items in there will act as insulators. Normally, when opening your fridge it will reduce its efficiency by 7%, but when its full, it loses a fraction of that and will regulate temp much quicker.
Washer and Dryer Habits: These are pretty simple and straightforward.
Use cold water for washes. Hot water needs more electric to generate and heat (in most cases) and cold water will do the job just fine. Although still use hot water for towels and cleaning items wouldn’t be the worst idea, but the cleaning supplies should kill the bacteria without the need of hot water.
Wash full loads only. Don’t worry, the clothes will add up soon. But limiting the number of loads needed will have a big impact.
Regarding drying, if you have the ability, you can line dry clothes. Obviously this won’t apply for everyone, so another tip you can do is to throw a clean dry towel in the dryer with the clothes and it will help reduce the time needed to dry all the items.
Insulating your Home: Speaking of insulation, is your home properly insulated? According to the Department of Energy, “Properly insulating your home not only reduces heating and cooling costs, but also improves comfort.”
Since 50 percent to 70 percent of energy consumption comes from heating and cooling your home, you may want to ensure it is as efficient and cost effective as possible. Proper insulation can do just that.
While replacing your windows is the best solution, the quick solution is to weather strip your door and where your windows close to reduce air leakage. This will also lower your heating needs, even if you are heated with gas.
Smart Programmable Thermostat: Controlling your home’s temperature is an essential way to cut electricity costs. By using a programmable thermostat, you can use less energy when you’re sleeping.
Also, if possible use more blankets instead of turning the heat on, ESPECIALLY when sleeping.
Hot water heater: Even if you have a gas water heater you can do this to help your overall home.
Insulate your hot water heater, and lower the temperature to 140 degrees F
While this isn’t going to save you hundreds of dollars a month, it will add up and will help throughout the rest of the year.
You may decide that you don’t want to continue these practices later, but right now every penny counts and following these habits will ease the burden a little without a whole lot of inconvenience.
GO SOLAR: Of course going solar will replace the need for MOST of these as your panels will cover your electric needs. Unfortunately if you aren’t already installed it won’t be able to help during these times, but should give you an idea of the value you can get from going solar.
If you want to do a virtual meeting about how going solar can benefit you during these times and Conscious Energy‘s COVID cash back rebate we are providing for homeowners during this time, reach out to us at INFO@ConsciousEC.com and we will do a digital proposal with you and see how going solar can help you.