Several months into the COVID pandemic, we’re all settling into a new normal and all that goes with it. There’ve been some unexpected benefits, like more time with family. And there’ve been some surprising downsides, like expanding waistlines, high anxiety, and even higher energy bills. We can’t help with jitters or snug blue jeans, but when it comes to saving energy, our decades of experience have made the team at Ace Plumbing Heating and Air Conditioning experts!
Clean Your Filters
HVAC filters help to keep the air clean in your home. If you’re working from home, not only are you contributing to air that’s going to have more contaminants than usual, you’re also breathing in those contaminants if the filters aren’t up to snuff. Keep ‘em clean, and don’t forget to call us for an HVAC tune-up to keep everything running its (efficient) best.
Turn the Heat Down
You don’t need to be on a Zoom call with your teeth chattering, but your home office doesn’t need to feel like an African savannah, either. You can save up to ten percent by lowering your thermostat about seven to ten degrees. Throw on a sweatshirt or bathrobe, or keep a throw handy if you want to warm up a bit. Better still, get up and move periodically. It’ll keep you from feeling stiff and get your blood and endorphins flowing.
Open The Blinds
Window treatments are great for shutting out the light so you can get a few more minutes of shuteye, or keeping the sunlight from turning your home into a convection oven in the summertime. But now that the weather’s getting cooler, use that sunlight to your advantage. Shades, curtains, blinds — whatever’s covering your windows, throw it open. The sunlight means using less electric light during the day, warms your home so you can turn the thermostat down, and will work wonders for your well-being.
Use Power Management Settings
Thankfully, many of the things we’re using daily — our desktops and laptops, televisions, and even cable boxes among them — have power management settings that help to save energy. Even something as small as putting your laptop into sleep mode when you step away for lunch helps.
Shut Things Off When They’re Not In Use
And when we say “shut them off,” we mean shut them all the way off. Many electrical appliances are in one form or another of standby mode. In some cases — like the clock on your microwave or the phone charger you’ve never bothered to unplug — the power drain is negligible, at least on an item-by-item basis. But all those small items add up; the Department of Energy estimates that all that stuff on standby is raising your energy bill by as much as ten percent. Invest in a power strip (or several), since the strip — and everything connected to it — can be shut off in one fell swoop.
Read a (Real) Book
We like a Netflix binge as much as anyone. But let’s be honest, how much more screen time do we really need? Step away from the TV, put the tablet down, and get a good old-fashioned printed book. You’ll feed your brain and give the charger a break for a change. You’ll also sleep better since you won’t be exposing yourself to blue light that disrupts your internal clock and keeps you from dozing off.
Use Lighting Efficiently
LED light bulbs are far more energy-efficient than incandescents and CFLs, which can further cut down your energy spending. So too can shutting lights off when they’re not in use. If you need supplemental lighting, consider task lighting like a desk lamp that keeps your work surface illuminated without wasting electricity lighting a whole room.
Upgrade Your Equipment
If possible, upgrade your home office equipment to gear that’s newer, smarter, and more efficient. The old CRT monitor you’re using can be traded for an LCD screen. The fax, phone, scanner, and printer that have the area behind your desk looking like mutant spaghetti can be traded for a sleek and efficient all-in-one. If you’re using a desktop, consider switching it for a laptop; not only will you save electricity, you can also unplug and slip it in a messenger bag when you need a change of scenery.
There are many ways to save money on energy, and not all of them rely on installing a new furnace or getting a new hot water heater. But if you decide those things would also help (hint: if your appliances are older, odds are better than even that it will), call Ace Plumbing Heating and Air Conditioning today!