Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are spending a lot more time at home than usual. More people are working from home, postponing or canceling vacations, summer camps, etc. Not to mention we are in the full swing of the hot summer months. It may therefore come as no surprise that many people are seeing a significant increase in their utility bills and that may definitely come with some sticker shock. Realtor.com reached out to energy experts to ask for tips on helping to keep your rising utility costs in check during the pandemic.
- Keep Windows Locked and Covered: Keeping windows closed is not enough to ensure your AC is staying inside your home. By locking your windows as well, you create an airflow seal that will limit the amount of cool air that leaks out. Additionally, having the hot sun beat on your windows all day can reduce the energy effectiveness as well. To combat this, you can purchase UV-rated window films or even window awnings to help keep the cool air in.
- Pay Attention to Draft Drain: A potential way to have huge losses in cool air is by ignoring draft drain, or letting the cool air leak through gaps in your home’s construction. Surprisingly, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, drafts can waste upwards of 30% of a home’s energy. Wow! To combat this, you can apply caulking and weatherstripping to windows and doors with small gaps. If you have larger gaps around baseboards and door frames, for instance, you can apply a foam sealant.
- Replace Your AC Filters: AC filters remove debris from the air before entering your system. Not changing your filter regularly will cause it to clog with debris, causing it not to cool as well, will make the unit work harder, and cause an increase in your energy bill. Another thing to mention is that dirt can damage the your AC unit and potentially the motor.
- Maintain Your Pipes: Check your pipes – inside and outside – for leaks. Even small leaks can cause a huge amount of water to be wasted, a big jump in your water bill. In addition, leaks can cause water damage which can also result in a huge expense.
- Unplug Your Devices: You might not know that just because you’re not using a device, if it is plugged in, it may still be using electricity. It’s easy and convenient to leave things plugged in, especially things you use everyday like phone chargers, microwaves and coffee makers. A great solution to help save on your energy bill and keep the convenience factor is to get smart power strips, which turn off the power supply when you’re not using your device.
- Install a Smart Thermostat: You can save 10-20% a year on your cooling bills simply by installing a smart thermostat. Another plus – they can be easily controlled using a smart phone!