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With the spread of COVID-19, many Americans are staying inside and working from home.
While energy usage is likely the last thing on your mind at the moment, you may start to wonder what effect this is having on your energy bills.
- Heating and A/C use will likely have the largest impact on your energy bills when you work from home.
- Water heating and other household appliance use won't change much.
- Lighting will add very little to your energy bill if you're using LED bulbs.
- Electronics will add very little to your energy bill. Use them to relax.
What Will Have The Biggest Impact On Your Bill
Taking a quick look at this graphic from ElectricityRates.com's "How to Lower Your Electricity Bill" resource page, we can estimate which energy consumers will have the largest impact on your energy bill when you decide to stay home.
We are going to go through a few of these categories in this post. We'll teach you what will likely have the largest impact on your energy bill and what you can do to decrease it. We'll also let you know what you don't need to worry about as much.
Heating And Cooling
Heating and cooling already use the most energy in the average American household. Combine this with the fact that your heating/cooling usage will likely increase if you work from home, and you can see why these systems will have the largest impact on your energy bill.
Keeping your home a comfortable temperature is not something you have to worry about if nobody is in it. If you usually turn down/off your heating/cooling systems when you leave, this likely saves you a good amount of money on your energy bill.
But if you are home, you have to use that system another 8-10 hours a day, which can add up.
So follow these tips to lower your heating and cooling costs.
- Keep the temperature as low as comfortably possible (Don't go below 55F). Layer clothing instead of turning up that thermostat.
- Draw back curtains when sunlight hits your windows to help warm your home.
- Use a space heater if you occupy only a small portion of your home for most of the day.
- Keep the temperature as high as comfortably possible.
- Open windows when there is mild weather.
- Use fans to cool yourself down.
Lowering your heat and cooling usage will go the farthest to help you curb overall energy consumption, helping you save the most on your energy bill at the end of the month.
Water Heating and Appliances
Your water heating and appliance usage will not change much when you stay at home.
Of course, you can always take a look at the "How to Lower Your Electricity Bill" resource page if you want to learn how to lower your usage on these appliances anyway.
Lighting takes up 12% of your average household's energy. When you are home all day, you may use lights more. However, if you're not wasteful and you're using the right equipment, you shouldn't have to worry about it too much.
First, you need to use LED light bulbs. These light bulbs not only last longer than traditional light bulbs, but they also use very little energy.
Second, always use window light when you can and don't keep lights on in rooms when you are not using them. It's obvious, but it needs to be said.
Don't Worry About Your Electronic Usage (As Much)
With the kids home from school watching TV or you on your computer all day, you may feel that these electronics can substantially increase your bill. However, these types of devices don't take up as much energy as you may think.
Now there's no need to be wasteful. You shouldn't let electronics run when you're not using them. But if you are trying to cut energy use, you're better off going after something like your heat. Plus, this can be a stressful time. You shouldn't sacrifice the things that can help you and/or your family relax.
It's worth the extra few bucks.