Have you noticed your electricity bill increasing in the last several months? You’re not alone. The impact of COVID has been far and wide, and electricity costs have been no exception. According to data from clean energy technology firm Arcadia, one-third of US households saw their electricity bills increase 10% to 15% higher last summer, and with remote learning and working from home a new normal for many, higher electricity bills could remain if you do not take the proper steps to prepare your home for the new normal.
- Unplug devices that are not in use. This is the simplest thing you can start doing right away to save on energy costs, as many devices that stay plugged in without being in use, like phone and laptop chargers, still use energy while they are plugged into the wall, even if the charger is not plugged in to the device itself.
- Set smart blinds, lights and thermostats on a schedule so that you are not only using natural light when possible, but so that you are not wasting excess energy running the heat or AC past a certain temperature. This also helps “teach” your home your preferences, so that everything adjusts in real time to your preferences and behavior. These devices will help you save money over time, so don’t expect to see changes in your bill right away, but the savings do begin to add up.
Bonus: smart home technology also creates a variety of other ways to save money on bills.
- Negotiate energy rates. If you live in a deregulated state like Texas, shop around for the best rates then use that information to either negotiate with your current energy provider, or make the switch to a cheaper provider. If you live in a gas-regulated state like Nevada or Alabama, get in touch with your current energy provider to determine if you qualify for any deals or additional savings.
- Replace your air filter. This simple maintenance update will ensure that your HVAC system is working at its maximum capacity, while also filtering out any dust or debris. If your HVAC system has a dirty filter, it uses more energy because the system has to work harder to circulate clean air throughout the cooling and heating system. Air filters should be replaced every three months.
- Balance your electricity use when doing everyday tasks like washing dishes and laundry. Making small adjustments like drying clothes consecutively instead of waiting in between loads saves on electricity since the dryer remains warmer longer. Another tip if you use a dishwasher is to make sure it is fully loaded instead of partially filled before running it. Depending on your lifestyle, adjustments like these can add up over time.
Bonus tip: Dress up or down based on the temperature in your home, rather than always adjusting the thermostat if you are hot or cold. If you have a smart thermostat, program it at your preferred temperature, then adjust your clothing choices so that there aren’t as many fluctuations in your electric bill season to season.
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