With the kids studying at home and parents teleworking over the past couple of months, you may have seen an increase in your energy bills.
Like any period of higher-than-usual indoor activity—like around the holidays, and certainly during a period of sheltering at home—it’s normal for electricity use to spike.
And if students wind up making up lost time with stay-at-home summer school, your family might continue to increase its use of computers, lights, TVs, game consoles and other electrical devices that can run up electricity use.
The antidote: Follow smart, common-sense conservation practices to keep energy use in check. A few examples:
- As the weather warms up, delay turning on the air conditioning as long as your home is comfortable with open windows and running ceiling fans.
- When you do switch on the a/c, keep it at the highest comfortable temperature. For every degree higher you set the thermostat, you can cut your energy use by up to 4%.
- Insist that everyone turn off the overhead lights when leaving a room; power down the TV when nobody’s watching; disconnect the computer and printer at the end of the day; and switch off exhaust fans once the steam clears from the bathroom after a shower.
- Unplug cell phone chargers once the phones are charged. Whenever you leave a charger or another unused device plugged into the wall, it continues to draw electricity, even if there’s no longer a phone attached to it.
- Hold off on running the clothes dryer and dishwasher until after dark. With so many people staying home during the day, we’re all using more electricity at the same time. It places less of a burden on the overall electrical system when we spread out our energy use.
- Clean the a/c filter every month. With more-than-usual activity in the house, filters can clog sooner. A clean filter lets air flow easily, placing less of a burden on the air conditioning system as it keeps everyone comfortable indoors.