Working out at home? Unplug some stuff

            If you’re exercising at home instead of at the gym, baking cookies with the kids every other day, binge-watching your favorite old TV movies; helping kids with online classes or all of the above while you’re spending more time at home with the family, your use of electricity could be skyrocketing.

            That means two things: You could see a slight increase in your energy bill and you might be overloading your home’s electrical circuits.

            There’s no need to stop having your stay-at-home family fun. But if you’re spending more electricity on your new activities, how about cutting back in areas that aren’t as important right now.

            For example, if you’re using your oven to teach the kids how to bake and spending more time cooking homemade family dinners on the stovetop, you could start running the dishwasher and doing the laundry after dark, when demand for electricity is at its lowest.

            If you’re spending all day teleworking on your computer while your children are using their laptops to keep up with their online classes, take special care to shut down the office equipment—computers, laptops, scanners, printers—when you’re finished with them so they don’t waste energy overnight.

            Unplug phone chargers, small appliances, space heaters and other electrical devices when they’re not in use so they don’t guzzle “phantom power.” Once something is plugged into an outlet, it continues to draw a small amount of electricity, even when it’s not in use.

            And beware of plugging too many pieces of equipment into a power strip. If you’re running on the treadmill in the basement while your spouse is working out on an electricity-powered stair stepper, your circuits might not be able to handle both, especially if you’re also watching TV, running a fan and charging your phone at the same time.

            Try staggering workout hours so just one piece of heavy equipment is in use at a time.