Staying home almost every hour of the day has been a dramatic lifestyle change for most Americans. Now that we’ve been social distancing for more than a month some people are noticing a change in their utility bills as well.
Being at home more inevitably means more energy will be used than normal. How much more is used is the question. There are a number of things you can do to reduce use and possibly even lower your electricity bill during the current pandemic. Here’s how.
Time Your Energy Use Right
More and more electricity providers are offering a time-of-use plan that set different rates for different hours of the day. The goal is to get people to use energy less during peak hours by making the off-peak hours cheaper.
Most time of use plans is broken into 3-4 time blocks. The lowest rates are generally after midnight until 6 am. The most expensive hours are from around 3 pm to 7 pm. The more you can minimize energy use during the middle of the day the lower your electricity bill will be.
Smart devices and appliances can help you time things right. Whenever possible set schedules for electronics like the dishwasher to turn on. A programmable thermostat can also help you reduce the amount of electricity needed to keep your house comfortable.
Another thing you can do to time energy use for maximum efficiency is to avoid using the stove, burners, and toaster oven during the middle of the day when it’s the hottest. These appliances will make it feel hotter inside and tempt you to lower the AC.
Shift Your Sleep/Wake Schedule
Working from home comes with a few benefits. For one, you’ve got more control over your daily schedule. You have the flexibility to shift your sleep schedule so that you’re awake an extra hour or so when it’s sunny outside.
Of course, if you’re on a time of use plan staying awake an hour later in the evening might actually be more cost-effective because rates typically drop after 9 pm. It all depends on your energy use habits and the variable rates. After crunching the numbers you should be able to find a schedule that minimizes electricity costs.
Go Out in Your Yard or Patio More
Needless to say, getting outdoors will lighten the energy load. If you have a yard or patio that allows you to keep at least 6’ from others try to get outside for an hour or two every day.
While you’re outside considering breaking out the grill. It’s the most energy-efficient cooking apparatus that requires zero electricity.
Those who live in an area where trails have opened back up can venture a little further for more energy-free fun and exercise. Just remember to bring a mask, practice social distancing and try not to touch things along the path.
Light Up the Night With Solar Power
You can extend the outdoor entertainment and lower your energy bill even more by using solar lights around the deck or patio. A set of 4+ solar lights should provide enough illumination to use the outdoor space after the sun goes down.
Shorten Your Showers
Let’s be honest. Sitting indoors all day hardly works up a sweat. Shortening your showers even by just a few minutes noticeably reduces water and electricity use. Cut your shower down from 15 to 10 minutes and you could save up to 25 gallons of heated water if you have a non-conserving showerhead.
Clean Your Vents and Air Filters
Free-flowing air feels better now and when you open your electricity bill. Long before the Covid-19 pandemic regularly cleaning air filters was considered best practice. Keeping vents exposed and clean is another step that helps the AC work as efficiently as possible.
The Department of Energy estimates that changing or cleaning air filters once a month can lower electricity use by as much as 15%.
Bonus Benefit: cleaning vents and filters improves air quality. This is particularly important if your access to the outdoors is limited.
Residents of deregulated energy markets have one more way to lower their electricity bills during the pandemic – switch suppliers.
Electricity rates vary from one provider to the next, and the price of energy fluctuates all of the time. You may discover that another supplier is offering a rate that’s more cost-effective than what you pay now. It never hurts to compare your options when you have extra downtime.
When you look for providers online pay attention to customer reviews. Like any other service, you’ll want to know that the supplier handles problems and concerns in a prompt, professional manner. Having reliable electricity is extremely important, which is why you want a supplier you can trust.
Before you switch suppliers to look over your current contract if you have one. There may be an early termination fee.
If you live in Maine, Massachusetts or New Hampshire Provider Power is an electricity company near you! We’re a competitive electricity supply company that delivers unique electric plans and exceptional customer service. Provider Power is here for you – call or go online to make a supplier switch in minutes.