COVID-19 has created unique challenges. While many states have loosened stay-at-home orders, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still recommend minimizing your time out of the house to slow the spread. It is the right thing to do, but now that we’re home more often this summer, our electric bills are skyrocketing.
There are many ways you can reduce usage by making a few tweaks to your daily habits (even if you aren’t getting the relief of going to work eight hours a day). Here’s how to lower electric bills this summer:
Check your doors and windows
Reducing your electricity bill starts at your front door. Keep south-facing window coverings closed during the day to keep out the sun’s heat. If your home is older and your doors or windows are drafty, inexpensive foam or cloth draft guards can help trap in the AC so you’re not (as our dad’s liked to say) paying to cool the whole neighborhood. Window storm kits can also be installed for an inexpensive, temporary solution.
Control your “vampire energy” charges
“Vampire” appliances are devices that use energy in standby mode—like your phone charger, coffee pot, and idle desktop computer. According to Duke Energy, these vampires can account for as much as 20% of your electric bill.
You can lower your electricity bill by making a habit of unplugging anything not in use. You can also save on your energy bill by using power strips that automatically cut power to devices in standby mode.
Buy a programmable thermostat
Did you know the right thermostat can reduce your utility bill by at least 15%? A basic programmable thermostat can be set to automatically increase the temperature when you wouldn’t notice, such as when you’re sleeping. While more expensive, smart thermostats “learn” your daily schedule and adjust the AC automatically, maximizing your savings.
Air-dry your clothing
If saving energy is your prime concern, know that 4% of the electricity used in the average home goes to drying laundry, according to the Department of Energy. Air-drying with a drying rack is not only affordable, but also kinder to the fabric of your clothes.
Don't place hot appliances close to your thermostat
Some energy saving tips are less obvious- like not placing lamps or TV sets near AC thermostats! The thermostat will sense the heat and run for longer, causing you to spend more on your energy bill.
Plan no-cook dinners for summer nights
No one likes to eat a hot, heavy meal when it's 100 degrees outside! Skip laboring over the stove and opt for quick grilled corn, watermelon salad, cold soups, or anything you can get together quickly and oven-free. Along with saving energy that your kitchen appliances use, you’ll also keep away from heating up the kitchen.
Replace your air conditioning filters
According to the Department of Energy, changing a clogged air filter with a clean one can lower your air conditioner’s energy consumption by 15%! The quality of the air in your home is directly related to how clean your air ducts are, so by taking this precaution you’re not only reducing your energy bill, but also protecting the health of your loved ones.
Switch to LED light bulbs
We all know LED light bulbs help save money on your energy bill, but do you know why? LED light bulbs are mounted on a flat surface and therefore emit light hemi-spherically, reducing wasted energy. Other types of light bulbs emit heat and light in all directions, and thus dissipates energy.
In addition to conserving energy, LED light bulbs are also clearer, brighter, and last longer.
Lower the backlight on your TV
Did you know high-definition television has the option to dim its backlight? Your backlight setting is the largest portion of your TV’s energy consumption. Turning the backlight setting down will reduce the amount of energy your TV uses.