2020 has been the year of unexpected surprises. For millions of Americans who had once wished that working from home could be a possibility, it has quickly become a reality. In fact, you might be one of the millions to now call your kitchen table your new work desk. While you might have grown accustomed to the pleasure of avoiding rush hour, spending more time with family, and working from the comforts of home, you’re probably not too happy with the increase of your least favorite bill: electricity. With more screen time, appliance usage, and the need for cool air during summer, you’re bound to have seen a bump in your last couple power bills. Unfortunately, that price hike was likely inevitable, but here at Blue Raven Solar we know there are a variety of small, medium, and big fixes that you can make now that can put more money back into your pocket and create great eco-friendly habits!
Small fixes are quick adjustments that anyone can make to decrease the cost of their overall power bill. Take a look and see what you can change:
- Use a laptop rather than a desktop: Although having a big screened desktop or monitor might be an added perk of working from home, they often use a lot more power than a smaller laptop. By leaving your desktop off and turning your laptop on energy efficient mode in its settings, you can quickly cut a large portion of the electricity that you use on the daily!
- Manage your thermostat: As you’ve adapted to work-from-home life, you’ve probably noticed that there is a specific temperature that you prefer to work at. The quickest way to save money when it comes to heat and AC is by turning up the temperature during the summer and the opposite during the winter. If you can’t sacrifice the difference that a couple degrees make, take a look at the weather and map out cooler days where you can open your windows. By managing your thermostat, you’ll be sure to save money while still feeling productive in your work environment.
- Take advantage of natural light: Sometimes, we take for granted how fortunate we are to have light at the simple flick of a switch. When it comes to energy efficiency and savings in a home office, one of the quickest fixes to make is to avoid reaching for the light switch and rather reach to open the blinds to let in natural light. By leaving your lights off during sunny hours, homeowners can save big over the course of a month!
By combining all these work-from-home “small” fixes, you can easily decrease your home’s overall power usage. While these changes are important, it is also crucial that you make an effort to take screen breaks. Not only will these screen breaks cut down on energy usage, but studies have found that they improve mental health and eyesight! So what small fixes are you going to make?
Medium fixes can be a little more complex than the simple, small fixes, because they may require some time or money. But because of this extra investment, they often make a much bigger impact on the cost of your monthly power bill. So, what medium fixes should you make???
- Buy a smart power strip: With a new home office it is likely that you’ll need more than two outlets to power your desktop and monitors, charge your laptop and phone, and provide light or cool air from a desk lamp or fan. Rather than running a complex system of extension cords or directly plugging your devices into the wall outlet, we recommend that all homeowners use a smart power strip. Instead of constantly running energy through each appliance, smart power strips control when and which appliances get electricity. By making this simple change, your home office will cut out any phantom power and become much more efficient. With a smart power strip in your office, you can expect to save dozens of dollars each month.
- Replace your HVAC system’s air filter: While managing temperatures, opening windows, and utilizing ceiling fans all contribute to a cooler and more efficient work-from-home environment, all those actions are in vain if you don’t regularly switch out your HVAC system’s air filter. The typical air filter needs to be replaced once a month, but oftentimes homeowners leave their systems with the same air filter for over a year. According to the Department of Energy, a clean air filter can reduce your energy consumption by up to 15%. The typical air filter costs anywhere from $20-$30 dollars, so the monthly savings are well worth the monthly investment it takes to replace that dirty air filter.
- Swap out those old bulbs: Many at-home workers are still using old incandescent bulbs to light their office and home. By simply switching your old incandescent bulbs to LED bulbs, homeowners can reduce their energy usage significantly and decrease waste, as LED bulbs last much longer. Some homeowners still haven’t made the switch because of LED’s higher price tag, but if you were to replace 40 old incandescent bulbs with 40 new LED light bulbs, the new lights will pay for themselves within the first year and keep saving the homeowners money over their 15 year lifespan. So, if you’ve already checked or know that you’re still using incandescent bulbs, stop wasting your money and make the switch today!
By choosing one, two or even all of these medium fixes, you could be adding hundreds of dollars to your pocket in your power bill savings every year!
Big fixes are usually less appealing to homeowners because they usually require lots of time and/or money. Although they might appear daunting at first, we like to categorize them as “home improvements” because they can have a big impact on the price of your monthly electricity bill. Here are some of our suggestions:
- Replace old appliances – Unless your home is less than 5 years old, there are probably several appliances that could use an upgrade. When it comes to your new work-from-home office, there are several devices that can be swapped out. For example, you might still be using an old monitor, desktop, or printer. Older appliances are less efficient and thus use more energy. The best way to fix these old energy sucking devices is to simply replace them. When looking for new versions of your old devices, it is best to go with brands that have the Energy Star stamp of approval. This label is only placed on products that truly are the most efficient in their industry. With a simple swap out, your home office will be running on less energy than ever!
- Install New Windows – If you want more control over the temperature in your home office and home, it would be smart to install the latest in glass technology. Modern windows can block heat from getting in and trap air or heat from your AC/heater from escaping. While it might be pricey to replace all the windows in your home, these windows will help save hundreds every year. The government offers a 10% green energy tax credit.
- Invest in a smart thermostat – Now that you’re working from home, it might be tedious or confusing to have to constantly manage and adjust your thermostat. Smart thermostats make a huge impact on your bills and determine the best way to keep your home cool or warm through machine learning. They connect to other smart devices, have voice control, and track your overall energy usage. Because they are rather simple to install and use, they are a great investment that can instantly boost the energy efficiency of any home.
As these big fixes can be pricier, it would be smart to do some planning and see which would make the most sense for your home and current situation. Nonetheless, all of them will bring your monthly power bill down to a more reasonable price!
What About Going Solar??
You might be wondering where solar fits on the work-from-home energy fix scale. Well, in our opinion, it doesn’t belong in any of these categories because it’s so much more than a small, medium, or even big fix. Solar is a home improvement and an investment that can be a huge money saver for homeowners who have seen a higher energy bill since they’ve started working from home. By installing solar, homeowners can produce all of the power that they need to run appliances, AC, the heater, and anything else within the walls of your home. In many states, if your system produces more energy than you use, you’ll be able to receive credits for less sunny months or even get paid for the extra energy you generated. Combine all these facts with the Federal Investment Tax Credit for solar power (that turns 26% of the cost of your solar system into a tax credit) and there is no better time for Americans to choose to go solar!
So, if you’re working from home, start making those small, medium, and big fixes, but also take the time to consider going solar! If you’re interested to get a free quote with Blue Raven Solar, click the link below to get into contact with one of our solar experts today!