A year into the pandemic and many still find themselves working from home—either completely or some of the time. While you’ve probably gotten into a groove, have set up a dedicated workspace and likely invested in technology (such as an additional monitor for your laptop), you may have also noticed another change with more time spent at home—a higher electricity bill! Home electricity usage has increased by an estimated 10% since the onset of the pandemic.
While some costs like fuel for your vehicle have decreased by working from home, if seeing your monthly electricity bill gives you a shock each month, follow these tips to learn how to reduce energy costs in your home.
Make an energy list for each room
Take time to go into each room of your house—notebook or your note-taking device of preference in hand—and make a detailed list of each item in the room that uses electricity. Create a table to list what the item is, how often it is used, and what ways you could reduce your energy usage for that item. For example, in the kitchen you might write that your refrigerator needs electricity all the time with a note to check the temperature settings to make sure its optimized for energy efficiency. Or, maybe you have one room that has many devices plugged in at all times—consider plugging them all into a surge-protected power strip with built-in energy savings features. After you’ve noted each item in each room, start taking action, one room at a time to reduce home energy costs.
Do the laundry while you sleep
No, we’re not suggesting sleepwalking, but rather loading the laundry into the washer before you slip off to dream land. Fill the washer at night before you go to bed and switch it to the dryer when you wake up in the morning. You’ll have fresh clothes ready before you start working AND it may cost you less. Ask your utilities provider if you qualify for reduced utility rates for doing laundry overnight.
Give your home office a sustainability boost
It’s easy to point fingers at the biggest difference in your home between pre-pandemic and now, and for many, that’s the amount of time spent in your home office or dedicated work-from-home space (multiplied by the number of people working or learning from home). While other factors—like heating and cooling—play a role in your home’s energy consumption, it’s no secret that being connected to your computer 40+ hours a week also adds up quickly on your electricity bill. Dig into the built-in energy saving features to make sure your smart devices work as efficiently as possible. Power down and unplug technology—such as a printer or monitor—when it’s not in use.
Turn down the lights
While being well-lit during what may seem like never-ending video calls is important, consider lighting your space with an energy-efficient lamp and natural light from windows. Turning off overhead or whole-room lights may not only reduce your home’s electricity consumption, but it may also help with headaches and give a much-needed shot of mood-boosting Vitamin D from natural light, too.
Take a different approach to temperature control
Adjusting the temperature on your thermostat by one degree—lower in the winter and higher in the summer—can save 1% on your bill per 8 hours, so consider lowering the temp and layering up during the day, or better yet, lower the temp at night and add extra blankets.
Wrap old or leaky windows in plastic to keep the heat in (and the cold out), insulate your outlets and put a new filter in your furnace to maximize efficiency.
Looking for more home tips? Check out our blog for more home improvement and finance tips.