The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has forced millions of people to forego the traditional work environment. They have given up their commute and instead have their workstations set up at home. On the one hand, work attire all of a sudden got more casual. But after a few months, you may have noticed the power bill rising.
Which makes sense. At the office during the day meant very little energy was being used at home. Heating and cooling equipment was paused during the day, no lights were on, and computer, laptop monitors weren’t being used. But with working from home – and the kids learning from home – the house no longer gets a rest.
Instead of the 40 or 50 hour rest period during the week, the home is working harder than usual. Air conditioners during the summer, heat pumps during the fall and maybe winter months, and devices needing to be charged 24-7 will certainly give a jolt to the home energy bills.
Big and Small Ideas To Save Energy
If you’re looking for ways to cut your electric bill while you work from home, here are some helpful tips. Even if you aren’t working from home, consider switching to Energy Star Certified energy-efficient appliances in the home. Water heaters, refrigerators, and other appliances that are on all the time are energy hogs.
Other steps, such as installing smart thermostats or using smart power strips to power your office hardware will also help when it comes to saving energy. Every little bit helps after all. And when/if the “new normal” goes back to the regular normal, you’ll still be able to use many of these ideas to continue saving energy and money.
#1: Use natural sunlight to your advantage
Summer and autumn in the Pacific Northwest are stunning. Beautifully sunny days and crisp nights are good for the mind, body, and soul. And the sunlight is something you should be soaking up as much as you can. There are even solar-powered charging stations for the family devices.
Take advantage of the natural light when you are working by setting up your workspace near or in front of windows. If you are able, move your laptop outdoors to the patio or porch. Using less unnatural light in the form of desk lamps or overhead lights will cut energy usage.
#2: Turn off what you are not using
Need to step away from your computer for a bit? Program your computer to automatically turn off, rather than switch to the screensaver mode. Screensavers waste energy, which translates to higher electric bills over time. These breaks during the day will not only help energy usage but may also help your focus during the day.
Also, if there are other appliances or electronics that you are not using like televisions, toasters, phone chargers, or gaming systems, unplug them. Plug in only what you need, when you need it. Frankly, this should be done whether there is a pandemic or not.
#3: Keep your thermostat set
It might be tempting to turn the thermostat up or down depending on how you are feeling that day or even that hour. However, it’s important to keep the thermostat set at one temperature, without fluctuating. Keeping room temperatures between 74 and 78 degrees on hot days and around 70 to 72 on cooler days helps reduce excess energy usage. Find what is most comfortable for your space and stick to it.
Our experienced team of electricians at Prairie Electric can help with other energy savings tips or help get your wiring safe and secure in your home or office. The pandemic has hit us all in different ways – working from home, learning from home, or just being asked to stay home.
If you are interested in learning more about how energy-efficient appliances or even an updated electrical panel can save you money, contact us today for more information! Realizing how outdated your current wiring is? We offer free estimates on rewiring your home – or any other service – as well.