(BPT) - Do you feel like you’re spending more money on utilities? Social distancing and quarantining at home throughout spring and early summer may mean higher electricity needs and cooling demands.
According to research reported in Renewable Energy World, energy bills showed an increase of roughly 20% in the month of March 2020 as opposed to March 2019, the first month of quarantine for many areas across the United States. Considering these numbers are from a time when weather is more temperate nationwide, it's safe to assume hotter months will accelerate home energy use.
Heat waves can also make it difficult to stay comfortable at home. You can help lower these expenses by adopting a few simple lifestyle changes and switching to energy-efficient products. Remember, saving energy at home is a win-win — not only does it mean less money spent each month on power bills, but also shrinking your energy footprint, as well as decreasing environmental impact.
Step 1: Adjust indoor temperatures
During warm weather, set your air conditioner at the highest temperature possible for your family to feel comfortable. What's more, when you're gone, turn the temperature up. You can save as much as 10% a year by making seasonal adjustments to your thermostat of 7 to 10 degrees for 8 or more hours, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Step 2: Smart home controls
Control all your smart home products within one central hub with the Brilliant Smart Home Control which supports LED, CFL, halogen, incandescent bulbs, dimmable and multi-way lighting. The device offers an array of high-tech functionalities including a built-in Amazon Alexa, (also works with Google Assistant and Apple HomeKit), an all-in-one mobile app that can be controlled from anywhere and a built-in camera with privacy shutter, motion sensor and intercom system.
Step 3: Block natural heat sources
Radiant heat from the sun outside can come through windows and heat up your home quickly, making air conditioning units run harder and longer to maintain a comfortable environment. The Home Decorators Collection Blackout Cordless Cellular Shades energy-efficient fabric insulates and shields a room from the outside heat, helping to lower energy bills while providing room darkening and privacy capabilities
Step 4: Use fans strategically
The breeze from a ceiling fan or a portable fan helps you feel cooler, so use them as you move from room to room, particularly when sleeping at night. Additionally, ventilation fans play an important role in regulating temperatures as well as eliminating mold and mildew.
Step 5: Turn off lights
Switching to LED and other environmentally-friendly lighting options not only saves energy, but also produces light with less heat output so your home stays cooler. For example, EcoSmart light bulbs use 75% less energy than 60-watt incandescent bulbs and meet federal minimum efficiency standards. Make the swap to enjoy lower energy bills without traditional phantom heat output.
Step 6: Keep up with maintenance
Being proactive with home maintenance can help you control energy costs all year long. Start by changing your furnace filter regularly to keep air flowing freely so your HVAC system doesn't work harder than necessary. The minimum requirement is once a season, but you may want to do it more often when in higher use as filters will get dirty faster. Additionally, seal leaks, repair roofing and monitor insulation and you'll position your home for energy efficiency and streamline costs.