Homemade Savings: A DIY home energy audit can help your family minimize energy use

As more people have moved to working (and schooling) at home, those households will likely see additional electric consumption. Fortunately, there are a few steps that you can take to help minimize your household’s electric bills during the coronavirus pandemic. Here’s what we suggest:

Upgrade to LED light bulbs. LEDs can last 20-30 times longer than incandescent bulbs and save more than 75 percent on energy use. Many people also find LEDs to be brighter than incandescent bulbs, which can even lower the number of lights needed in large rooms. And fortunately, these light bulbs have become common enough that many are available at local grocery stores, so you can pick some up while stocking up on food. 

Update your thermostat schedule. You may have your thermostat scheduled to run in the morning and evenings when your family returns home from work or school. Now that more people may be home during the day you should update your thermostat’s schedule accordingly. Set it to a temperature that feels comfortable. Don’t forget to make sure to keep doors open throughout your home to make sure that air can properly circulate; this will prevent your system from working harder than needed, which also costs you more money.

Replace your HVAC filter. You should replace your furnace’s air filter regularly; most filters need to be replaced every one to three months. If the furnace is running more often with people home during the day, it might need to be changed more often than you typically would.  A dirty filter can cause your furnace to work harder than needed to circulate air to your house.

Get the kids involved! This can be something they can do for a moment in fresh air: have them read the utility meter each day and track your home’s daily energy use. If you want to sneak some math or science curriculum into the activity, have kids chart each day’s usage and the outdoor temperature on an X-Y graph. You can compare each day and see how that correlates with your home’s energy use for heating and cooling. Your local electric co-op may even use a mobile app such as SmartHub that may have some of this data available!

If you and your family are spending more time at home, you should expect that your energy bills will be higher. Your furnace or heat pump will be running more during cold days, and you will likely be using your kitchen appliances as a replacement to your children’s school cafeteria. By taking a few steps, you can help ensure that your electric costs remain as low as possible.  

For more energy saving tips, as well as available rebates for energy efficiency upgrades to your home, visit www.PowerMoves.com.