Wednesday 1 April 2020

Simple Ways to Save Money on Energy Expenses While You're Social Distancing

With the recent coronavirus outbreak, chances are your energy bills may become higher as you social distance by working from home and remote schooling your children. Finding ways to save money during this financially challenging time is crucial. Energy use is already doubling every 20 years and the pandemic is making things worse as people are forced to stay at home. Here are simple ways you can save money on energy expenses while you’re social distancing.

Turn Off Lights

Turning off lights when not in use can significantly decrease your energy costs. Take advantage of natural light as much as possible during the day by putting workstations near windows. Invest in LED light bulbs to help reduce the energy consumption in your household. These light bulbs can last 25 times longer and use 75% less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs.

Energy Efficient Decorating

Decorate your home in a way that reduces the amount of energy you use. Make sure that drapes, furniture, and curtains aren’t blocking air vents. Cover your bare floors by laying down carpeting or rugs. Help insulate your walls by placing dense furniture such as bookcases and overstuffed sofas to act as a thermal barrier.

Seal Window And Door Cracks

About 30% of home energy for heating and cooling escapes through the cracks of your windows and doors. Sealing the cracks will prevent air from escaping and racking up your energy bill. It can also help keep you from catching a cold that infects one billion people each year, which can weaken your immune system leaving you more vulnerable to the coronavirus. Hang thick curtains to reduce any potential air loss. Make sure they are closed at night to protect against drafts and open them up during the day to let in the warming sunlight.

Saving Energy While Doing Laundry

Most of the energy you use when you do laundry is to heat the water when you’re washing clothes. However, cold water can be just as effective to clean your clothes in high-efficiency washing machines using cold water formulated detergents. If you are treating someone who is being treated for COVID-19, you will need to make an exception. According to the Centers For Disease Control, their clothes and bedding should be washed in the warmest setting possible.
You can also cut down on energy costs by cutting down on the number of loads you do each week. Air dry your clothes as much as possible. Make sure you clean your dryer’s lint trap after each use. Avoid drying thicker items with lighter ones as this can slow down drying times.

Take Shorter Showers

Showers require a large amount of heated water. Taking a cold shower may be out of the question. However, you can save a significant amount of money just by shortening the amount of time you spend there. Cutting your shower from 12 minutes down to four minutes can save anywhere from $10 to $130 per person, depending on your showerhead flow.

Turn Down The Thermostat

More than half of the houses on the market today are over 40 years old. As a result, they may lack sufficient insulation which can lead you to want to crank up the heat when it gets cold. If you turn down the thermostat by one degree, you can save about $60 a year. You can drop the temperature in your home by at least two degrees to see a dramatic decrease in your monthly energy costs.

Refrigerate Efficiently

If you want your refrigerator to operate at peak efficiency and minimize your energy costs, maintain the temperature at around 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Your freezer should be set at five degrees Fahrenheit and a deep freezer should be at zero degrees Fahrenheit. Keep both your refrigerator and freezer fully stocked as much as possible. The food acts as an insulator and lowers the amount of time it has to run in order to stay cool. Be careful to not overfill as it could interfere with air circulation.

Unplug Unused Appliances

You may be working from home during this pandemic. When you’re finished with your remote work for the day, turn off your computer instead of shutting your laptop. Leaving a computer running all day can cost you about $75 per year. The same goes for any appliances that you have plugged in but don’t use. Unplugging these can save you an additional $165 a year.
For those appliances that you can’t unplug, use an advanced power strip to avoid overloading electrical outlets. It can save you about $100 a year. Instead of using your stove, consider using a microwave, toaster oven, or slow cooker to save on energy use.
By following these tips, you’ll be able to save a significant amount of money on your energy expenses while staying at home. By reducing your costs, you can feel more secure with extra cash by giving you some control during this time of emergency and uncertainty. You’ll be able to ride out this period of social distancing until things go back to normal and you can go outdoors once again.

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