With the whole family or household spending so much more time at home, it’s important to prepare for a larger home energy bill. But don’t panic! Keep in mind that transportation energy use and cost will likely be reduced and help offset extra home energy use.
Move the dial on your thermostat
The biggest cause for an increase in your energy bill is a spike in heating or cooling. Moving your thermostat just a couple of degrees can have a big impact on your bill. Keeping your thermostat at 68 F or below during the winter and 78 F during the summer allows you to stay comfortable while saving money.
Dress for the weather
If you’re working from home, there is no dress code! Dress casually and appropriately for the weather. On a chilly day, wear a sweatshirt and cozy socks instead of turning up the heat. If it's a warm afternoon, put on a t-shirt and shorts and open the window for a breeze instead of turning on your air conditioner. Comfort doesn't have to cost money!
Wash hands for health and energy savings
Washing your hands helps protect against getting sick. Save energy and water by turning off the faucet when soaping up. The CDC recommends:
- Wet your hands with water, TURN OFF the tap, and apply soap.
- Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap.
- Scrub for at least 20 seconds (hum the “Happy Birthday” song twice).
- Rinse your hands under running water.
- Dry your hands.
Look for offline activities
If you have kids, challenge them to a few hours of “unplugged time” each day. Turn off all screens and electronics and find a fun offline activity. They could read, play a board game, ride their bikes outside, do art, or make music. You can use up your kids’ energy while saving on your power bill.
Save money on water heating
Lower the setting on your water heater to 120°F, allowing you to maximize comfort and minimize cost. Another great way to save money is to wash your clothes in cold water, which has the added benefit of decreasing the wear and tear of your clothes!
Use natural light when possible
The next time you reach for a light switch during the day, think about whether you can use natural light instead. Open a curtain or seek out a location that has more light. Studies have shown that natural light increases productivity and comfort, so the benefits go beyond just energy savings!
Cook with small appliances
Use your slow cooker, microwave, air fryer, toaster oven, or other small cooking appliances whenever possible. These devices use less energy and often cook faster than your stove top or conventional oven.
Use task lighting
When working from home or working on a DIY project, use task lighting instead of overhead or general lighting. A lamp or two may be all you need to see what you're working on and save energy.
Set up sleep mode on your computer
Is your computer getting enough sleep? Setting your computer to sleep after 5-15 minutes of inactivity can cut its energy consumption in half. We thought that might be an eye-opener! Simply enable "power management" or "sleep mode" and wake up to the savings.
Use your microwave instead of an oven
When reheating food or cooking smaller dishes, use your microwave whenever possible. You can save up to 50% of your cooking energy usage by using a microwave oven instead of a conventional electric oven. Using a microwave is an easy way to save energy, and it cooks your food much faster than a traditional oven.
Save while streaming
Over two-thirds of U.S. households have a subscription to at least one streaming service. Save while you stream by using ENERGY STAR® certified streaming devices and streaming content on a tablet instead of a TV. Gaming devices can use 15 times more energy to stream the same material, so opt to use another device if possible.
Use a power strip in your home office
Your computers and all the gadgets that go with them use power even when they are off. Standby power accounts for about 5-10% of the energy used by the average U.S. household! The easiest way to cut this waste is to plug all your gadgets into a power strip and turn it off when you're not using those devices.