How To Save Money on Your Electric Bill While Working at Home
Working from home might seem like a great alternative to stressful commutes and in-office schedules. However, after a few months of working from home, you may notice that your electric bill is slowly rising. Understanding why your electric bill increases when you stay at home all day will help you fix the problem. Here are some tips for lowering your electricity while working at home.
Light Your Office With Natural Light
When setting up a home office, look for an area with plenty of natural light. Sunny rooms on the southern or western side of your home tend to provide the most visibility during the day. By choosing a place with natural light, you can cut back on your need for electric-powered lights. Though your electric lights do not use that much power, you can still save around $50 to $100 a year by not reaching for a light switch until it gets dark.
Adjust Your Computer’s Settings
Did you know that most computers actually have built-in settings meant to reduce energy consumption? Depending on your device, it might be as easy as switching to an energy-saving or battery saving mode in your settings. You can also adjust things manually. Using a lower brightness on your monitor will help cut energy costs. Another good idea is setting your computer to sleep after more than a minute or two of inactivity. Reducing the brightness and putting your computer in sleep mode ensures that you are not wasting power by leaving the computer running while you grab a snack or play with a pet.
Use Energy Efficient Thermostat Settings
One of the biggest drains on your power is most likely your air conditioner and heater. Instead of cranking on the HVAC, try pulling on a fuzzy sweater or switching to a lightweight tank top when you feel uncomfortable. According to the Department of Energy, most energy-efficient settings are setting your thermostat at 78 degrees during summer and 68 in winter. These temperatures are still comfortable while making your AC and heat run less. Most people find that these temperature settings can save about 8% on their energy bills.
Unplug and Turn Off Electronics Not in Use
Did you know that electronics keep using power as long as they are plugged in? The National Resources Defense Council reports that 10% to 23% of your house’s energy use can actually be from sleeping electronics. Try to unplug things that rarely get used, such as your office printer or fax machine. For computers and other devices, make sure you actually shut them down instead of just putting them to sleep after work.
Of course, going around and unplugging everything after each workday can be a pain, so you might want to look into smart power strips. You can plug all of your office devices into these power strips and then set the strips to turn off at a certain time. A nice perk of shutting off all your office devices each day is that it promotes a better work-life balance. You are not tempted to send one more email or finish up a document when you have to go to all the work of turning everything back on.
Cook All Your Lunches in One Big Batch
Switching to home-cooked meals is one of the big perks of working from home. It helps you save money and improve your health. However, if you have an electric stove, it may be harming your electric bill. The energy required to heat up the stove and cook a meal each day can start to add up. Instead, it is more efficient to get all your cooking out of the way on a single day. This greatly cuts down on time spent running the stove.
Picking meals like pasta salad or chicken wraps that can be eaten chilled save plenty of money. However, reheating food in the microwave is also energy efficient. This appliance has one of the lowest power consumptions out of all kitchen appliances. In addition to saving you money on electricity, doing batch cooking also saves time. You can relax on your lunch break instead of spending it cooking.
Find Alternative Ways to Stay Cool and Warm
If just adjusting the thermostat is not saving you enough on electric bills, you can try some alternative ways of staying cool or warm. In the summer, use light blocking blinds to keep the rays of the sun from warming up your rooms. Run a dehumidifier to keep excess humidity from making everything muggy. Turning on a fan or ceiling fan can also make you feel cooler. Depending on the weather, opening windows to let a cross breeze through the home also cools things down.
There are also plenty of helpful tips for keeping your house cozy without running the heat all day. Here are some ways you can stay warm without needing to turn on the heat:
- Work by a sunny window
- Run just a small space heater
- Leave your oven open after cooking
- Invest in cozy socks and gloves
- Seal window and door cracks that leak cold air in
- Cover floors with rugs
- Reverse ceiling fans
- Work in bed for the day
- Sip a warm beverage
Work During Off-Peak Hours
If you live in an area with time-of-use energy rates, rethink your workday. In many regions, power rates are lower if you use power during the evening or weekend. Utility companies do this because they want to encourage customers to reduce the power load during times when everyone is busy. Whenever possible, do power-hungry things during this time period. Switching to an unconventional work schedule can end up saving you a lot of money. Some people also like to take things a step further and only run their heating and cooling systems during off-peak times.
Shop for Energy-Efficient Devices
The modern office tends to require all sorts of routers, monitors, computers, and other devices. If you are shopping for new items for a home office, take the time to look for energy-efficient devices. Many newer models use special techniques to reduce power drain. Energy Star certified office equipment can cut power costs by up to half. This can result in truly fantastic savings. If possible, select a laptop instead of a desktop computer. Laptops may have less impressive specifications, but most are perfectly capable of surfing the web, running video calls, and processing documents. On average, a laptop uses 53 kWh of power per year, while a desktop uses a whopping 275 kWh.
Interested in saving even more on electric bills? Brennan Electric of Seattle can audit your home and recommend ways to cut back on power usage. Our team also provides a variety of electrical repairs, electrical installations, surge protection, and generator services throughout Seattle and Lynnwood. For all your power needs, we deliver a friendly and reliable service. Schedule your appointment by giving us a call today.