With social distancing in action and shelter in place orders taking place across the country, homeowners are finding themselves spending more and more time in their homes. Having the whole household quarantined under one roof for an extended period of time leaves many families left to wonder how to keep their home’s energy costs from going through the roof. To reduce your home’s monthly energy costs during the COVID-19 quarantine, consider implementing these energy saving tips and efficiency strategies.
Unplug to reduce phantom energy
Household appliances may be increasing your monthly utility bills. While it’s no surprise that electronics use energy when turned on, it may come as a surprise that many still use phantom energy when powered off. Phantom energy refers to the standby energy that many appliances continue to draw in when they are plugged into an outlet despite not being tuned on. The most common phantom appliances include coffee makers, computers, televisions, DVD players, video game consoles and even phone chargers.
Search through your home for phantom appliances. Unplug these devices when they are not in use and plug them back in as you need. Consider using a power strip with an on/off switch to turn off multiple devices at once, or invest in a smart power strip. Smart power strips will automatically cut power to devices that are not in use or will turn them off at an assigned time of inactivity.
Change to LED bulbs
More time spent at home means lights will be turned on throughout the day. If you haven’t already switched the incandescent light bulbs in your home to LED light bulbs, now is the time. ENERGY STAR qualified LED bulbs are your best bet for ultimate energy efficiency. Compared to standard incandescent bulbs, LED bulbs use 90% less energy and last up to 15 times longer. While LED bulbs tend to be a bit pricier, switching to them is the best investment long term. When switching out, don’t forget to replace the LED bulbs in appliances like fridges and ovens, as well as outdoor lights. Homeowners can also take advantage of natural light throughout the day to extend the lifespan of your LED bulbs and save on monthly utilities.
Free your air filters
Cleaning and changing your home’s air filters are standard home maintenance tasks that help save on utilities and protect the home’s HVAC system. A home’s HVAC system is responsible for nearly half of a household’s utility bill. Dirty air filters can cause HVAC to work harder to heat or cool the home and therefore use more energy than needed. To maintain free flow and proper HVAC functioning, clean and change air filters on a monthly basis. Be sure to check and make sure that no curtains, rugs or large pieces of furniture are blocking air vents. Doing so will not only reduce monthly energy costs but will also decrease the likelihood of costly HVAC repairs or replacements.
Set thermostats for the season
Many homeowners change their home’s thermostats with the season to ensure comfort but are left with the consequence of higher utility bills. In order to change the temperature of a home without paying for it, homeowners should aim to create a smaller difference between the temperature outside and the temperature outside.
It’s typically recommended to set the thermostat to 78 degrees Fahrenheit in the warmer months and 68 degrees Fahrenheit in the colder months. Feel free to use fans to help the home feel cooler and more comfortable with the higher thermostat setting. With each degree higher you set your thermostat, you can see between 3 to 4% decrease in energy use and increase in energy savings.
How do you plan to reduce your home’s energy costs? Let us know in the comments what your favorite energy saving tips are. To read up on COVID-19 on Atlanta Real Estate forum, click here.