Published September 8, 2020
You’ve heard this a lot already: it’s going to be a unique fall season. These unusual times are also impacting our energy use and patterns of use. With many people spending much more time at home than what is typical, household energy use is going to increase. The tips below will help you manage what you can and stay comfortable as the weather gets cooler.
- Adjust your thermostat. Keep your home as cool as comfortable during days when the heat is on, and as warm as comfortable when you are running air conditioning. When heating your home, the Department of Energy recommends setting the temperature at 68 degrees when you are awake and turning it down by as much as 10 degrees while you are away or asleep. When the AC is on, you might turn the thermostat up to 78 during the day.
- Use a programmable or smart thermostat to control when your furnace or air conditioner turns on and off throughout the day.
- Service your furnace or boiler to make sure it runs efficiently as the weather starts to cool down. Check with your utility about potential rebates to save money on the tune up.
- Take advantage of the sun. On cool days, open your curtains and blinds throughout the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home.
- Check windows and doors for leaks and seal leaks before the cold weather hits.
- Cook and bake efficiently. Use lids on pots and pans to reduce cooking time. Bake multiple things at once. Use crockpots and microwaves to save energy.
- Keep the fridge and freezers full but not crowded. If your fridge or freezer is empty, fill milk jugs with water to fill up space, and throw out old food if your fridge or freezer is too full.
- Inspect and clean your fireplace. Make sure your fireplace is safe before using it. Close fireplace dampers when you are not using the fireplace to prevent heat from escaping.
- Redirect ceiling fans. Switch the rotation of your ceiling fan to clockwise, operate at a slow rate, and push warm air down.
- Turn off electronics that are not in use. Electronics that are not being used should be turned off completely to save energy. Items such as TVs that can be turned on with a remote controller are not fully turned off. A great idea for TVs, DVD’s and game consoles are to plug them into power strips and turn the power strip off. Home office areas are also great candidates for this (computers, printers, chargers, etc.).
For a detailed analysis of opportunities to make your home more energy efficient, contact your local utility about getting an energy audit. With higher than normal energy bills from higher use and the economic impacts of COVID-19, some households are struggling to keep up. CUB is here to help connect you to resources. Call us at 651-300-4701 with any questions or concerns.
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