How to reduce home energy use during the lockdown
Due to COVID-19, a lot is changing in our day-to-day lives. One thing’s for sure though – higher home energy bills and COVID-19 can go hand in hand.
According to BBC, energy bills are going up for households across the globe – more specifically, home energy use has increased by up to 30 percent during the middle of the day. When you think about it, it’s not that surprising – since the start of the coronavirus stay-at-home order, many people have been working from home via their computers.
In the United States, people have also seen increases in households consuming power. According to the New York Times, this is a result of people being at home at day, which also means more cooking, more screen time and keeping the lights on all day, all of which results in higher energy costs. Plus, with hot summer weather just around the corner, domestic electricity usage will only increase as people begin using air conditioning units.
In Canada, the situation isn’t so different – for example, in Ontario, residential peak demand has increased by 2 percent.
Even though the increases in electricity usage are largely related to residential energy consumption, companies should keep an eye on their energy bills – empty buildings can still consume large amounts of energy. Even though no one is occupying these buildings, air conditioning, heating and ventilation systems still run, as well as any servers and office equipment left plugged in during the lockdown.
If you’ve noticed your energy bill is up lately, don’t worry. We’ve gathered some great energy conservation tips for your home during the lockdown to help you keep your energy bill down during lockdown.
Read on to see our list of power-saving tips and to find out what the best way to save energy at home during the lockdown is for you.
Tips for saving energy during the lockdown
- Only run full loads of dishes and clothes – frequently running half loads is one way to quickly rack up a large number on your energy bill.
- Air-dry dishes and clothes whenever possible – washing your clothes and dishes ahead of when you need them and setting them out to air-dry is a great way to save on your energy bills.
- Wash clothes in cold water. Did you know that many clothes are fine being washed in cold water (especially if they’ve only been worn a few times and aren’t visibly soiled)? In fact, washing your clothes in hot water all the time can cause colours to fade as well as shrinkage.
- Turn off electrical appliances and devices when they’re not in use. Better yet, unplug them or use a smart power bar to prevent them from using energy in standby mode.
- Only fill the kettle by the amount of water you need. Did you know that according to an article from The Guardian that on average, people boil twice as much water as they actually need? You’ll save both time and energy when you only boil as much water as you need.
- Use daylight to reduce both your heating and lighting costs. If you’re feeling a little cold, open your curtains and let some sunshine in to help warm your home. Plus, you won’t have to switch on any lights until evening.
- Replace old incandescent light bulbs for LED ones. This tip may be an old one, but it still rings true – according to the United States Department of Energy Energy, LED lights can be up to 80% more efficient than incandescent light bulbs and last 3 – 25 times as long.
- Don’t open your fridge all the time. We’ve all been guilty of opening our fridge repeatedly and hoping something good will magically appear – but by doing that, you’re making your fridge use more energy to keep its contents cold.
- Check for financial assistance in your area. There are measures in place for Canadians who are having difficulty paying their utility bills, such as the COVID-19 Relief Fund from BC Hydro or the 90-day utility bill payment deferral in Alberta. In Ontario, time-of-use pricing has been set to off-peak prices as long as the emergency order remains in place.
Compare energy rates and review your energy plan
One potential way to save on your energy bills is to compare energy rates for electricity and natural gas providers in your area.
EnergyRates.ca is a free and unbiased tool that can help you compare energy rates between all the providers in your area and help you find the right one. Plus, it has useful resources such as this guide that will walk you through switching energy providers.
Whether you’re looking for energy for large businesses, small businesses or residential energy usage, EnergyRates.ca can help you find the best energy rates. It’s simple – all you need to do is fill in your postal code and what energy service you’re looking for in the form above.