5 Ways to Save on Electricity Bill in Times of COVID-19
The Coronavirus outbreak has suddenly and completely altered the way we live. Over 90% of Americans are currently under some form of lockdown, which means spending the majority of our time at home. As more and more people switch to working from home (or just binge watch Netflix shows) and use their electronic devices, experts expect residential electricity bills to increase across the country for the duration of these shelter-in-place orders.
At the same time, 17 million Americans have lost their jobs over the past month, leaving many worrying about how they’ll afford to pay for their rent and utilities. Particularly for tenants, the added economic pressure of dealing with rising electricity charges could put a strain on already-tight budgets. So in this article, we’ll share 5 tips on how you can keep your electricity bills low, now that you’re probably spending twice as much time at home and watching a LOT more television than usual.
- Switch to LED light bulbs
According to the Consumer Federation of America, an American family has, on average, at least 20 light bulbs in their home. Although the cost of a LED light bulb is around twice as much as the traditional incandescent bulb, the LED ones last longer and are more economical, helping you save over time on your monthly electricity bill.
According to Energy Saver, a resource from the Department of Energy, LED light bulbs use nearly 75% less energy than incandescent light bulbs, which could bring savings of up to $75 per month to consumers who make the switch.
- Unplug unused devices
Even if you are not actively using a device, as long as it is plugged in, it is still using electricity. This so-called “vampire” electricity could account for up to 5% of your total electricity bill, so make sure you always unplug devices (like televisions) when you’re not using them.
- Use the dishwasher
Contrary to popular belief, washing the dishes using a dishwasher, instead of washing them yourself in the sink, will help you save on electricity. According to Consumer Reports, you could save up to 20 gallons of heated water per day by switching to your dishwasher, which equates to a savings of roughly $11 per month (depending on your electricity rates).
When using the dishwasher, make sure you run a full load and forget about pre-rinsing the dishes to get the most out of these savings.
- Clean your refrigerator coils
Although probably the least pleasant tip on this list, cleaning your home’s refrigerator coils at least once a year could help you save up to $10 a month on your electricity bill. Dirty coils reduce your refrigerator’s efficiency and reduce its lifespan.
It can sometimes be a little bit tricky to locate the coils, but you can always refer to the refrigerator’s manual or Google it (if you’re like me and have no idea where your manual is anymore). Using a vacuum is usually the easiest way to clean dirty refrigerator coils.
- Avoid the oven
The oven is one of the largest energy-consumers of all your home appliances. Gas ovens use less energy than electric ovens do, but currently only 36% of US households have a gas range. So before using your electric oven, ask yourself if you really need to. If you can achieve the same results with a microwave or toaster oven, then go for one of these lower-energy appliances instead.
If you still need to use the oven, try to cook for more than one meal at a time. Cooking in bulk will reduce the amount of time you spend preheating and running your oven each day. Also, as much as possible, avoid opening the oven door – every time you do, 20% of the heat is lost.
By following these tips, you could save over $100 each month on your electricity bill – without sacrificing on screen time for work or entertainment during the lockdown.
Image courtesy of NeONBRAND