This summer people across the country were hopeful we’d get a reprieve from the stay home orders and closures that came with the COVID19 pandemic. Unfortunately, the virus hasn’t relented as the weather warmed up.
In some areas, outbreaks have prompted states to reinstate lockdown protocols. As of July 7th, the Harvard Global Health Institute recommended that stay-at-home orders were necessary in 20 states. They even developed an interactive map with color-coding to show where outbreaks are currently the worst.
While we may enjoy the downtime at home with family, seeing the electricity bill go up isn’t a welcome sight. That’s why our team has put together a list of low-cost tips for lowering your electricity bill this summer while you stay home.
Put Your Entertainment Center on a Smart Power Strip
During stay home orders many people are using the TV as their escape when they can’t venture out to find entertainment. It’s been great for streaming companies, but you’ve probably noticed increased energy use on your electricity bill. LED and LCD televisions may be more energy-efficient than ever, but the rest of the devices in your entertainment center aren’t so easy on the kWhs.
The best way to keep enjoying your favorite shows without increasing the cost is to hook the devices up to a smart power strip. It’s the easiest way to prevent vampire loads (energy that is used even when a device is in sleep or standby mode). Unlike a traditional power strip, smart power strips allow you to completely cut off power to devices so that vampire loads are no longer an issue.
All you have to do is plug your entertainment center devices into a smart power strip and start saving energy. This terrific infograph from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory can help you choose the best type of smart power strip based on how you use your entertainment center.
Grill Out More
There are three good reasons why you want to sharpen your grilling skills during the COVID19 stay home orders:
- Cooking with appliances indoors (especially using the stovetop and oven) can increase the temperature inside, which might tempt you to lower the air condition settings.
- The grill won’t increase your electricity bill.
- You can cook a delicious feast that puts you in a summertime mood.
The grill is a staple of summer get-togethers. You may not be able to throw your normal summer soirees, but you can at least treat the family to some bar-be-cue goodness. Not to mention, grilling is a relaxing outdoor activity that gives you a reason to soak up some sun.
Give Your Refrigerator Some Attention
The refrigerator is one of the most expensive appliances to power because it needs electricity 24/7. Exactly how much energy does your refrigerator use? The Energy Information Agency has come up with this handy formula for calculating the cost:
Wattage × Hours Used Per Day ÷ 1000 = Daily Kilowatt-Hour Consumption
On average, the refrigerator accounts for 7% of residential energy consumption. That makes the refrigerator the fifth biggest energy hog in the house. You may have to keep it running all day, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make the refrigerator more energy-efficient by:
- Letting food cool down before putting it in the fridge.
- Cleaning the vents.
- Keeping the refrigerator at least a few inches from the wall.
- Changing the air filter if your fridge has one.
- Keeping the fridge at least half full.
Following the tips above will help your refrigerator run more efficiently so there’s no energy waste or overuse.
3 Quick Ways to Air Condition Your Home More Efficiently
If you are like the average American, air conditioning accounts for roughly 17% of your annual electricity costs. It’s the single biggest energy consumer in a house.
Change the air filter – It’s a very cheap, very quick fix that can improve the efficiency of an air condition system by as much as 15% according to the EPA’s estimates.
Turn on ceiling fans – This one is a definite must-do. Even though a ceiling fan will consume energy, the benefits outweigh the costs. The wind chill effect from a fan can make it feel up to four degrees cooler when you’re in the room. That means you can set the air conditioner at a higher temperature and not notice the difference.
Keep the outdoor condenser unit clean – If the outdoor condenser is covered in grime and surrounded by debris it won’t be able to run efficiently. Simply clear out the debris and wash the unit down with a hose to get better energy efficiency.
Check out our guide to using an air conditioner efficiently for more advice on how to lower electricity consumption.
Use High Spin Cycles and Line Dry Clothes
The washing machine and dryer aren’t in constant use like a refrigerator or the AC, but they use a lot of energy to get your clothes clean. Luckily, there are some ways to make this common chore less of a drag on your utility bill.
First and foremost, always wash and dry full loads of laundry. Then, adjust the settings so that it’s on the highest spin cycle. This will get as much moisture out of the clothes as possible so they dry quicker. Speaking of drying clothes, a $5 clothesline will quickly pay for itself. And always dry towels, jeans and other heavy materials together. If they are dried with thinner materials it will keep the dryer going longer.
If you found these tips helpful, then check out our competitively priced energy plans. We provide customers in nine states with natural gas and electricity services that offer price stability along with superior support. See the latest rates in your area!