The COVID 19 pandemic has forced California residents to spend much of their time at home during 2020. With California Governor Gavin Newsome announcing a new stay at home order (having gone into effect on December 5th), Californians can expect to be spending even more time at home during December. Although spending more time at home may result in increased energy consumption, there are actions that you can take to minimize your household utility bills. Let's look at how to keep your utility bills down during quarantine without significantly impacting your lifestyle.
When plugged in, a cable television box uses the same amount of energy whether you're watching television or not. The same may be true of computers, phones or appliances devices that are plugged into an outlet. HVAC components such as the condenser unit sitting outside of your home can also consume electricity when they are idle.
Fortunately, you can stop these energy vampires by unplugging them overnight or whenever they aren't in use. Alternatively, you can plug them into a smart outlet that will force them to power down overnight or at other predetermined times.
Ideally, you will keep your home's thermostat somewhere between 65 and 68 degrees throughout the day. Putting on a sweater, consuming a hot beverage or taking a quick walk around the house may provide additional warmth without causing a spike in your electricity bills. At night, you can reduce the temperature to as low as 63 degrees without causing any damage to your home.
As a general rule, dishwashers and washing machines use the same amount of energy whether they are full or not. Therefore, it may be best to run these items once every few days or once a week in an effort to keep your utility bills down during quarantine.
When you do wash your clothes, make sure to do so with cold water as it takes less energy to produce. You can minimize a dishwasher's energy output by drying your plates or silverware by hand after the wash cycle is finished.
It may be possible to reap multiple benefits by cooking food in the microwave instead of in the oven. For example, microwave ovens tend to use significantly less power compared to a conventional stove, which will help to keep your energy bills to a minimum. Additionally, microwaving food can significantly cut down on the amount of time it takes to cook. If you don't like the idea of cooking in a microwave oven, you can still save time and money by heating your food on a stovetop.
Utility companies tend to charge more for electricity during the late afternoon and early evening hours. This is when most people have all the lights on in their homes, are running their dishwashers, and are watching television. It is also a time when households are more likely to have their furnaces or air conditioners running.
Due to recent stay at home orders, peak hours may be extended as individuals consume more energy throughout the day. Therefore, it may be a good idea to look into getting solar power for your home. Solar customers enjoy lower utility bills compared to those on the traditional power grid who have similar energy consumption habits.
During a time of economic uncertainty, it can be comforting to know that there are easy ways to cut back on your utility bills. It may be possible to get more ideas about how to make your home more efficient by requesting an energy audit. This can help you learn more about your household energy consumption habits as well as identify additional steps that can be taken to reduce your property's carbon footprint.