Flatten Your Summer Energy Bill
Almost overnight, Americans found themselves trying to work from home and still be productive. While a welcome change of pace for some, many jobs have been lost or are in jeopardy. Add increasing energy costs due to more time at home and warmer months arriving; household budgets are taking a big hit. An in-depth study during stay-at-home orders of 113 homes in Texas revealed that residents were using about 40% more electricity compared historically. States all over the country are showing similar results as the residential energy curve is rising higher and higher. Did you know that by focusing on simple energy-efficient solutions you can stay comfortable and still flatten your energy bill while sheltering in place?
How do I flatten my energy usage?
When considering how to manage your energy usage during these unusual circumstances, there are many things you can do to save energy and protect your wallet. Here are ten smart energy-saving tips:
1. Benefits of a Smart Home Monitor
The first step in flattening your energy usage while home all day starts with being aware of your energy habits. You can manually manage what time you run major appliances. Trying to stay in one room while working from home and turning off the lights to consolidate energy is another great tip. But here is where a smart home monitoring system can make all the difference and pay for itself. Use a smart home monitoring system, like CURB, to collect data and help you understand in “real-time” what energy your appliances are using. Keeping your home comfortable while also staggering the use of other major appliances when they are not in use can significantly decrease your electric bill.
2. Find the Right Time-of-Use Rate Plan
Time-of-use (TOU) rate plans refer to how energy rates change according to time of day, season, weekday, or weekend/holiday. Each energy supplier varies, but prices are typically higher during warmer summer months and busy afternoon/evening hours. Find the right TOU plan for you and utilize off-peak hours to run costly appliances.
3. Pre–Cool Your Home
Leave blinds closed and lights off in unused rooms to keep the house cooler, energy usage down, and allow for a more comfortable work-from-home environment. If you are on a time of use rate plan, you can pre-cool your home during off-peak hours, making it cooler than you usually would and then cycle or turn off the a/c during peak times. Let the home that is already cooled stay comfortable until the time is up. Cycling your air conditioning units will also help prolong their life as they are allowed to not work overtime during the hottest parts of the day, along with all the other appliances that get put to work during the late afternoon and evening hours.
4. Install a Ceiling Fan
When compared to an A/C unit, ceiling fans use significantly less power. After pre-cooling your home, utilize a ceiling fan to keep air circulating while you are resting your A/C unit during peak hours. Ceiling fans can make a slightly warm room, feel cooler. However, be aware that fans only circulate air. They do not reduce the actual temperature in your home. Leaving fans on in unused areas or your house is just wasting energy.
5. Take Charge of Tech
Charge laptops and tablets during off-peak hours so you can utilize their battery during zooming, streaming, schooling, and gaming hours. You will lengthen the life of your device and save money during peak energy fee times. Pick a charging station for all electronics with a smart power strip. It makes it even easier to power off your charging station without having to go around and unplug every device in your home.
6. Pull the Plug on “Phantom Loads”
Did you know that according to the Department of Energy, 75% of the energy used from appliances comes from when they are in the off position? This seemingly small issue can cost upwards of $200 a year in “phantom” energy fees. Quickly shut off devices by using advanced power strips or plugs synced to smart home automation.
7. Increase Laundry Efficiency
When in the market for a new washer and dryer, look for high-efficiency appliances. Plan to run your washer and dryer during off-peak hours. Run a few loads first thing in the morning or late at night before bed when other appliances are resting. High-efficiency washers can adequately clean with colder water to minimize additional energy used to heat water. Air-drying clothes whenever possible will cut out that usage entirely and save your clothing from extensive wear and tear.
8. Is Your Refrigerator Running Overtime?
Beware of fridge overuse. Staying home all day leads to standing in front of the fridge, trying to decide what to eat. Decide on a meal or snack plan for the week to help make quick decisions. Keep your fridge set between 37 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit to keep foods safely cool and your fridge more efficient. Let leftover food cool down completely before placing it in your refrigerator to avoid making it work harder than it needs to.
9. Avoid Costly HVAC Repairs
Maintaining a healthy HVAC system will improve efficiency and filtration. Warmer summer months put more wear and tear on your HVAC. You may find during shelter-in-place mandates that it is necessary to change, and clean filters more than you previously have. Remember, a yearly service appointment can go a long way in avoiding costly repairs to ignored systems.
10. Create Renewable Energy
The fastest way to flatten your energy bill is to find a source of renewable energy. Roof angle, local incentives, and laws are all factors to consider with choosing solar. A virtual consultation with an energy professional can help you asses your home’s current energy efficiency, ways you can save money now, and the possibility of how much you could save with solar long term. There has never been a better time to invest in solar with federal tax incentives decreasing significantly in 2021 and eventually disappearing in 2022. Solar takes time, do not wait until the hot months and high bills are more than you can handle. Find out how you can create solar energy now.
Are you interested in other ways to flatten your energy bill?
It all starts with a Certified Home Energy Audit - learning where the energy dollars go and how you can reduce your energy usage while improving comfort at the same time. By enhancing a home’s building shell and ductwork system, it will provide many cost-effective benefits for years to come.