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Working from Home? Here’s How to Save Energy.

Across the country, many Americans are social distancing and are working at home to avoid contracting and/or spreading the coronavirus in their communities. At the same time, many schools are closed, and students are attending online classes from home.
Here are 5 tips to help you save energy and money on your electric bill if you are working or learning at home.

Consider ordering light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs to replace regular incandescent light bulbs. LED bulbs use about 7 to 10 watts to create the same amount of light as a traditional 60-watt incandescent light bulb (or current 42-43 watt halogen incandescent light bulb). They also are about 33-50 percent more efficient than 13-15 watt compact fluorescent lights (CFLs).

Use fans instead of air conditioners. Running two ceiling fans rather than a central whole-house air conditioner for a few hours a day can save hundreds of dollars in energy costs each year. Remember to turn fans off when you are not in the room.

Eliminate “phantom loads.” Turn off devices you aren’t using if they consume standby power, such as some cell phone chargers and laptops and desktop computer monitors. Consider replacing standard power strips with an advanced or “smart” power strip to further reduce phantom loads automatically.

Limit how often you open appliances such as refrigerators and ovens. If you limit opening the oven to check on food as you cook, you can save electricity, protect the appliance, protect your food, and speed up cooking times.  

Make some adjustments to your dishwasher habits. Only run your dishwasher when you have a full load, because dishwashers use about the same energy and water regardless of the number of dishes inside. Before running the dishwasher, be sure to scrape off food, rather than using extra water to rinse dishes. Set an air-dry option for your dishwasher instead of heat-dry. Check the manual that came with your dishwasher for the manufacturer recommendation on water temperature - it may have an internal heating element that allows you to set the water heater in your home to a lower temperature.

Use microwave ovens to cook when you can. Microwave ovens have no “warm up” time and cook more efficiently than full-size ovens. Also microwave ovens work more efficiently when the inside surfaces are clean.

For more energy-saving tips, check out EEI’s booklet, More Than 100 Ways to Improve Your Electric Bill, updated in February 2020.


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