Because of the coronavirus pandemic, many of us have been spending much more time at home than before. While some research shows the calming down of human activity has had huge and positive effects on our environment, we are also likely using more electricity because of the increase in time spent at home. And especially if you’re facing economic-related challenges, any relief that we can get towards paying our bills is greatly appreciated.
That’s why we are counting down the top 10 ways you can save energy (and your wallet) this spring.
1. Invest in a programmable thermostat
As we mentioned previously, the best way to lower heating and cooling costs is to get a programmable thermostat. These devices can track your energy habits and eventually learn to automate the temperature in your house with the need to micromanage the output. Unsurprisingly, touching the thermostat too much or turning it off for several hours to “give it a break” aren’t considered cost-efficient so smart thermostats are growing in popularity because of their proven money-saving capabilities.
2. Cook outside
Indoor oven use can be a huge culprit behind high cooling costs. The more often and longer you have your oven on, the harder your A/C has to work to maintain the temperature in your home. If you can, plan to add a grilled food recipe or two to your family’s menu every week. Cooking outside doesn’t only give your A/C a break but the vitamin D in sunlight can help stave off depression – and since we’re going outside less right now anyway, this is a great opportunity to keep you healthy and feeling well.
3. Set thermostat a little warmer than usual
If you can’t afford to get a programmable thermostat right now, that’s okay. The Department of Energy states that households can save near 1 percent of their total energy bill for each degree of thermostat adjustment per 8 hours. So, if you can tolerate setting your thermostat even just 5 degrees warmer than usual for 8 hours, you can see a potential savings of up to 5 percent on your total annual bill.
4. Choose energy-saving lighting
Ninety percent of the energy produced by older, more traditional light bulbs is given off as heat. These older light bulbs are no longer manufactured and now, there are more choices available now than ever before when it comes to energy-efficient lighting. Whether you choose halogen, CFL or LED lights, opt for ENERGY STAR-qualified fixtures if you can as well. Just by switching your light bulbs, it’s estimated that you can save up to $75 a year in lighting costs per year. Sometimes how often you turn on and off a light matters when it comes to energy use and cost savings. For example, a big part of the effiiciency of CFL lighting comes from how often it’s turned on and off – if you plan to return to a room within 15 minutes or less, leave them on for optimal cost savings.
5. Turn off cooling system at night and open windows
If the air outside is cooler at night, you can open your windows to let out excessive heat from the day and ventilate your home with fresh air while you sleep. In fact, there are several benefits to sleeping at a cooler temperature such as the ability to fall asleep more quickly, increased sleep quality and even reduces stress levels. However, if you have allergies, you may want to hold off on opening the windows. Instead, using cooling sheets or a cooling gel bed topper and drinking water may be better options to help you cool down before bedtime.
6. Use ceiling fans
Ceiling fans help keep a room cool by way of something called evaporative cooling and convective cooling. This means that they only serve their purpose while someone is in the room. Even still, using a ceiling fan can lower the temperature of a room by 4 degrees, according to the US Department of Energy. Ceiling fans come in all shapes and sizes, but if you’re looking for the best fit for you, ENERGY STAR is highly recommended to get the best efficiency for your dollar.
7. Use your bathroom fan after showers
A bathroom fan is designed to remove odors, heat and humidity from the room after use. If your bathroom doesn’t have a fan it likely has a window for the same purpose. You might even prefer to use a small desk fan and leave the door open to allow for proper ventilation so that excess moisture doesn’t fill your home. Either way, keeping the bathrooms in your home well-ventilated can help maintain a more comfortable temperature and save you money.
8. Take short showers instead of baths
Baths require much more water which also requires a higher output from your home’s water heater. By switching to shorter showers more often or completely, you’re not only saving on your water bill but your energy bill, too. Not only that, but dermatologists agree that showering is better for your skin than bathing because your skin isn’t overly exposed to water, stripping it of the natural oils. If you’re interested in taking it to an even more eco-friendly level and conserving even more water, consider installing a water-conserving shower head (if you can afford to right now.)
9. Replace and maintain air filters and vents regularly
This one is more of an all-year round sort of deal, but especially during the spring there are considerably more allergens floating around in our homes. In fact, research suggests that spring time is the most important time of the year to change your home’s air filters if at no other time during the year. By doing so, you’re saving on cooling costs, breathing cleaner air and emitting fewer greenhouse gases and less carbon monoxide into the atmosphere.
10. Use a smart power strip
Did you know that your appliances and devices can still consume energy even when your devices are in sleep mode or “turned off”? This is called a “vampire load”, which means electronics continue to draw power even when they’re not in use. This energy drain can cost families upwards of $200 a year! Conventional power strips do little to fix this problem, but smart power strips can cut power off and save energy when devices are in standby mode. Additionally, some come with features like motion detection and remote control devices.
If you’re unable to commit to all of these tips, even doing just 2 or 3 of the items on this list can only help decrease your household’s energy costs. A lot of them have additional benefits like promoting your personal health and reducing your impact on the environment, which are all things to feel good about!
Kratos Gas & Power Ohio is dedicated to helping all Ohioans be the heroes of their homes, not just by providing clean and affordable natural gas, but by offering practical home solutions so you get the most out of moments that matter. See what we can do for you and get a quote today.