So, you’ve found yourself working from home full time. If you’re like most of us, you’re probably reading this blog post in your pj’s sitting at your kitchen table or on the living room couch trying to adapt to what passes for our new normal. If you’re a seasoned work-from-homer, you’re behind the desk in your sweet home office, but for most of us, we arrived in this situation unexpectedly, and it’s getting pretty weird.
- Kids want to pop in and say “hi!” during an important conference call
- You’re in the bathroom to focus on an assignment to hide from your kids and pets
- You’re scheduling “around the water cooler” chats via Zoom.
Not to mention you probably wore a blazer over some sweats during that video conference…
Bottom line: Our routines have changed, and so has our energy usage. You’re home all day with the air conditioner going. Multiple TVs are on. The kids are streaming videos while pretending to do schoolwork. You’re cooking lunch for family members. Making coffee. Printing documents.
The list literally could go on, which means all of those little additional energy-consuming devices eventually add up to a larger electricity bill.
While we aren’t workplace experts here at Chariot Energy, we are experts in energy and how you can minimize your usage. When you put these 7 energy-saving tips into practice, you can use less electricity, which can keep your energy costs down while working from home.
7 Working from Home Tips to Save You Money on Your Energy Bill
1. Turn the Air Conditioner Up
Here in Texas, it starts to get hot around April. Even the most energy-savvy people are tempted to turn the thermostat down to a cool and comfortable 70 °F. No matter how tempted you might be, you mustn’t give in! Your HVAC is actually the single most energy-consuming appliance in your home. Thus, we recommend the following thermostat optimizations:
- 75 °F when you’re home. For some people, this is burning hot. If you need to set it lower, do so. But remember the more you press the down arrow, the more it’s going to cost you. If you’re used to 70, try 71. Then 72. Slowly increase the temperature one degree at a time, and eventually, your body will get used to the warmer temperatures. You won’t even notice it.
- 78 °F when you’re not home. During our current “Stay at Home” situation, you’re pretty much home all the time. But whenever you’re outside or walk to the park (following social distancing practices, of course), set your thermostat to 78 or higher if you’re gone for at least an hour. The closer your home’s temperature is to the outside, the less energy you’ll use to cool your home.
2. Turn on Your Ceiling Fans and Desk Fans
This is the ace up your sleeve. Ceiling fans are the KEY to making your home feel cooler than it actually is. They also consume a measly 2% of your energy bill, compared to the 17% your air conditioner eats.
If you try 75 degrees, and it still feels too warm for you, then place a desk fan at your work-from-home area or turn on your ceiling fan. It’ll make a world of difference, as it will consistently blow cooling air across your skin, and it will save you actual money just by flipping a switch. Just be sure the ceiling fan is blowing air down into the center of the room instead of drawing air up to the ceiling.
3. Turn Off the Lights During the Day
Unless you’re in a room with no natural light, turn off the lights during the day. It’s a painfully obvious tip, but many people keep the lights on all day. Not only is it a wasteful practice, but it isn’t necessary. It’s one of the easiest ways you can save money, and one of the more environmentally friendly ways, too.
This practice of using the sun to light our home is part of an energy-saving strategy called passive solar. As we discussed in another article, you’re using the sun to heat, cool and light your home without using electricity.
4. Replace Incandescent Bulbs with LEDs
Incandescent bulbs are 90% inefficient. Only 10% of the energy they use goes toward light production. The rest is heat energy, which raises both the temperature in your house and your electric bill.
LED light bulbs use 75% less energy than inefficient incandescent bulbs, and they last up to 25 times longer. When you practice social distancing and order online, they’ll be delivered to your doorstep in just a few days. This is one purchase that will pay for itself in savings quickly.
5. Unplug Your Work Electronics When Not in Use
Your computer, TV, monitor and smartphone charger all use electricity when they’re not in use and still plugged into the wall. Even your laptop charger uses electricity when your computer isn’t attached. These devices are called vampire electronics because of their energy-sucking capabilities, and they comprise about 10% of your electric bill. That’s five times more than the fans’.
You can solve this problem by unplugging your electronics after the workday is over. Or you can …
6. Order Some Powerstrips Online
… add power strips to your shopping cart, along with those LED bulbs. Power strips and surge protectors allow you to keep everything plugged in, but you can stop your electronics from sucking power with a flick of a switch.
7. Lower Your TV’s Brightness
This tip is uber-useful, whether you’re working from home or not. But since kids are home and need to be entertained pretty much all day (What’s homework?!), the TV is an instrumental device for doing so — but it uses a lot of juice.
Set your TV to the “home” or “standard” setting to reduce its brightness, which can reduce your television’s energy usage by 18-30%. Some newer models even come with an “energy saver” setting that optimizes everything for you based upon the shows you watch and the lighting the TV receives.
If you’re hungry for more energy savings tips, we’ve got plenty to share with you. Check out our Chariot University page for a whole section on saving energy in your home. This includes tips like reducing vampire appliance energy, how often you should change your air filter, and even how to read your electric meter. It’s all there for you, free of charge.
Now, get off that couch, order those bulbs and power strips so you can start saving some money. It’s hard enough to be displaced from your normal routine. Let us help you so you’ve got one less bill to worry about.
We can make it through together.