GARLAND, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – With everyone at home for weeks on end, electric bills are bound to skyrocket.
But there are quick and simple fixes to cut energy costs ahead of the summer and the blistering Texas heat.
In quarantine, it can feel like every switch is flipped and every appliance is working overtime.
Electric bills have jumped roughly 15% during the pandemic, according to Adam Farmer, the HVAC specialist at Milestone Electric.
“You’re putting extra strain on your home appliances,” Farmer said. “We’re using all the appliances we typically don’t use during the day.”
But sometimes saving money can be as easy as doing nothing.
“Set and forget,” Farmer said. “Put it on 72 degrees and let it run.”
Farmer said instead of constantly tweaking the thermostat, it’s cheaper to seal exterior doors, open interior doors and turn on ceiling fans to improve circulation.
While windows bring in natural light, they also let in thermal energy, which makes the house hotter. Closing the blinds will give your air conditioner a break.
So will changing your air filters multiple times a year.
“See how dirty it is? It is going to make the A/C worker harder, which will use more energy,” Farmer said.
He said the same logic applies to dryer lint because clean appliances run more efficiently.
“It’s like running a marathon while trying to breathe through a straw,” Farmer said. “The system is pulling air through this and it’s trying to run harder.”
Don’t dismiss leaks, either. Water is warmed by the water heater, which undoubtedly drains energy.
Make sure the water heater is set to the proper temperature, which appears on a label printed on the side of the appliance.
If all else fails, the simplest thing one can do is turn off the lights when you leave a room.
Farmer recommended unplugging any phone chargers that are not in use.