Lower Your Power Bills While Self-Quarantining
Not that I’m anxious to receive my next couple of electricity bills, mind you. But it will be interesting to see how they compare to previous ones.
Like many Americans, I’m spending significantly more time in my home than normal these days. I’m guessing you are too.
Staying home more can help keep us safe from the global pandemic. But it also means we’re probably using more electricity.
Lights are on more often in various rooms. We’re cooking more rather than dining out. Some of us are using our computers more frequently. And watching more TV.
32 ways to save on energy costs
All this means our power bills over the next couple months will be higher than normal for this time of year.
We could say this goes with the territory during such a challenging time. And that’s correct up to a certain point.
But there’s no reason we can’t try to keep our power bills down in order to even things out.
Today I’d like to provide you with different ways to lower your power usage. Even while spending more time at home.
Use natural lighting as often as possible. By keeping shades, curtains and window treatments above windows open during the day. Get out of the habit of automatically turning on a light when entering a room.
Turn lights off when they’re not needed, even if it’s for a short time. It’s an old wives’ tale that turning lights on and off uses more energy than leaving them on.
Adjust light levels to what is needed. Lights frequently don’t need to be as bright as they are in a room. A light for watching TV should not be as bright as one used for reading.
Phase out your incandescent light bulbs, replacing them with LED lights. LED’s use 10 times less energy and last 50 times longer than incandescent lights.
Install aerating, low-flow faucets and shower heads. The shower is the biggest user of hot water in a household. Heating water is the second largest residential energy drainer.
Shorten shower times to cut hot water usage. Shorter showers use less energy from your hot water heater.
If your washing machine allows for controlling water levels, adjust it for load size. Using less water for smaller loads saves energy and water.
Wash your clothes in cold water, which allows the hot water heater to take a break. Cold water washes eliminate about 1,600 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per year occurring with hot water washes.
Conduct a room-by-room vent inventory. Make sure each one is clean and uncovered. Furniture, drapes, clothing, toys and other objects can block air flow. Close vents in rooms that aren’t used much.
You need maximum efficiency from your heating and air conditioning system. Have it serviced regularly. Properly sealed ductwork will help it circulate clean, fresh air.
Replace air filters regularly. Including ones for furnaces, exhaust hoods, humidifiers, clothes dryers and vacuums. Less expensive filters often allow for better airflow than thicker, expensive ones.
Ceiling fans use no more electricity than a standard light bulb. But they can sometimes be used instead of an air conditioner. They should turn in a counter-clockwise direction during warmer months. And clockwise in cooler months.
Set the refrigerator temperature to between 36 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Higher temperatures will cause food to spoil quicker. Lower temps can result in partial freezing.
Place meats and fish lower in your fridge, and fruits and vegetables higher. The freezer needs to be cold enough to stop bacteria growth. It should be set between minues-10 and 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
Clean refrigerator and freezer units once or twice a year. Including removing dust from condenser coils, fins, evaporator pans and motors. Keep food areas clean as well. Such as crispers, ice maker bins, doors, shelves and walls.
If you have a basement refrigerator used only for beverages, unplug it. Place smaller quantities of those beverages in your kitchen refrigerator. Refrigerators use a considerable amount of energy.
Insulate around windows and doors by weather stripping and caulking areas where air leaks exist. Weather stripping should be used around movable parts of doors and windows. Caulk is best for filling cracks and gaps in stationery components.
Insulate walls with spray foam to keep outside hot air from seeping through porous walls. Spray the foam into holes in the sheathing. Gloves and safety glasses are a must.
Insulate your attic, which will allow for less energy usage to keep the house warm. Because heat rises, your attic is the last line of defense against escaping heat.
When installing new windows, select double-paned, thermal windows. They allow less heat to escape in the winter and less cool air to escape in the summer.
Install solar panels. These connected assemblies of photovoltaic cells use energy from the sun to produce electricity. Over time they will save you money.
Install a solar water heater. Direct or open-loop systems circulate water through collectors. With an indirect or closed system, a heat exchanger separates the water from the fluid that circulates through the collector.
Install a solar cooker outside your home. This devise uses energy from sunlight to heat, cook or pasteurize food and beverages. It works by concentrating sunlight, converting light to heat and trapping the heat.
Install a wind turbine, which converts kinetic energy from wind into mechanical energy. A wind turbine can rotate around either a horizontal or vertical axis.
Set your thermostat to 68 to 70 degrees during cold days and 65 to 68 at night. In the summer, set it to 78 degrees. Lower the thermostat when you leave your home in the winter and raise it when you leave in the summer.
Hardwood floors can be beautiful, but they don’t retain heat. Cover bare floors with carpeting or throw rugs. They will add to your comfort and aid with heat retention.
In the winter, leave drapes, blinds and window shades open during the day to enable the sun to heat the home. During the summer, close them to keep the heat out.
As much as possible, use small appliances. Including toaster ovens, slow cookers and electric skillets. Rather than large ones such as ranges. Small appliances use less energy.
More miscellaneous savings
Use portable space heaters when the entire house does not need to be heated. These heaters should be electrical. Natural gas heating can be dangerous in enclosed areas.
Use cold water when operating the garbage disposal. Grease can be solidified much easier in cold water than in hot. That moves it efficiently through the disposal and pipes.
Limit the use of fireplaces, which can let more heat out of a house than they produce. Fireplaces should not be used as a primary heat source. Flying embers and smoke can present a health risk.
Unplug battery chargers when your devices are fully charged. Chargers continue to draw power when they’re plugged in, even if they’re not connected to a device.President Trump has asked Americans to stay home as much as possible for at least the next month. Making some of the changes suggested above could help you save on your April energy bill.