6 Simple Steps to Save Money on Energy Costs During Quarantine

Ever since quarantines began in March, we’ve all started doing more of our daily activities at home, from cooking to working to the all-important handwashing. Add up all that extra water, gas and electricity use, plus the usual summer spike in cooling costs, and there’s no way around it: your utility bills are going to go up.
With job loss and continuing economic uncertainty making even housing payments more difficult for many, now is not the time to throw money away when the easy, energy-saving tips below can start saving you money right now.
Even if you only try a few, you’ll immediately see a difference in your utility bills. The best part? Most of them won’t cost you a cent.

1. Think small for smaller bills.

If you have smaller cooking appliances, use them. There’s no need to heat a whole oven when you could get the same results from a toaster oven or slow cooker.
And a few small fans may cut down on the need to turn up the AC — by far the biggest electricity user in most homes. Simple steps like arranging furniture so they don’t block vents or keeping shades lowered on hot days can further decrease this wallet-busting expense.

2. An overstuffed fridge is not your friend.

We’re all cooking more and limiting our trips to the grocery store, but while having a fully stocked fridge may be satisfying, overstuffing it is not smart. That’s because an overfilled fridge can block the flow of air and decrease efficiency. (The same is true of an empty fridge, which needs more energy to cool its limited contents.)
While you are checking out your fridge, make sure it’s set between 38 and 42 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal cooling. Freezers can be between 0 and 5 degrees Fahrenheit.

3. Stop energy-sucking vampires.

While you’re in the kitchen, check out the countertops, where appliances like coffee makers and toasters are constantly drawing energy, even when they are not in use. Make it a habit to unplug these appliances when you aren’t using them.
These energy vampires (no, not that kind) can be found throughout the home. It’s worth the minimal effort to unplug desktop computers, hairdryers, and phone chargers, or switch to a power strip that you can switch on and off, rather than spend money on energy you’re not even using.

4. Exhaust fans are great—until they’re not.

Exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathrooms are efficient ways to get rid of heat and humidity, but only if we remember to turn them off. There have long been bathroom fan timer options for those who can’t seem to flip the switch on their own, but some of today’s fans even come with moisture sensors that turn off automatically when the desired level of humidity is reached.

5. A leak is a ticking time bomb.

If you have a leak, just imagine your hard-earned money constantly dripping away. Even something as simple as a running toilet can waste hundreds of gallons of water a day. If you can’t fix the problem yourself, don’t ignore it. A plumber may be an unfortunate short-term expense, but an unchecked leak will certainly cost more in the long run.

6. There are water wasters everywhere.

We all know that running the tap while we’re brushing our teeth or soaping up our hands adds needlessly to our water and energy bills. But we often forget about kitchen water wasters like washing vegetables and dishes. Both can be effectively cleaned by using a large bowl filled with water rather than constantly running the tap. Also, if you have a dishwasher, scrape off leftover food rather than rinsing first. A full dishwasher is much more efficient than handwashing.
Finally, we know you know this, but we’ll say it again: take shorter showers! Every minute you can shave off your time will save about two gallons.
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