Energize!

Work-from-home winter energy saving tips

Now that most of us are using our homes full time for remote work or virtual learning, saving energy is more important than ever. Luckily, there are easy, cost effective ways to reduce energy bills and stay comfortable even during the coldest winter days.

Simple behavioral changes like turning down the thermostat can go a long way to cutting energy bills. To save even more, check out the PSE&G Marketplace for deals on energy saving appliances like smart thermostats and LED lighting. And for a closer look at how to make your home more energy efficient, try PSE&G’s Home Energy Analyzer.

In the meantime, here are 10 simple ways to save energy that will reduce your work-from-home electric use.

  1. Lower your thermostat: Each degree you lower the thermostat for at least eight hours can cut heating bills by 1%, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Lower the setting by 2 degrees during the day and by 5 to 10 at night, if health conditions permit, and save even more. Smart thermostats available at the PSE&G Marketplace will automatically adjust indoor temperatures.
  2. Ceiling fans: They aren’t just for summer. Switch your fan to a run slowly in a clockwise rotation to push warm air near the ceiling back into circulation. This will circulate warm air near the ceiling down the walls and towards the occupants in the room.
  3. Feel the sun:  Open the shades, even on chilly days, to let natural sunlight warm your home.
  4. Seal up leaks: Use weather stripping or caulk to seal up cracks and prevent drafts. And consider bringing in a professional to see if heated air is escaping through the ductwork. The federal government’s Energy Star program warns that about 20% of heated air can escape through faulty ductwork.
  5. Fireplace do’s and don’ts: Make sure the flue is closed when the fireplace is not in use. If you have a glass screen, close that, as well. Open fireplaces allow heat to escape.
  6. Air conditioner maintenance: Remove your window air conditioner or tightly cover the front of the unit. Leaving it in place or without protection is an open invitation to a cold air invasion.
  7. Furnace filters: Clean or replace filters monthly during the heating season. A dirty filter blocks the flow of heat, which in turn can boost utility bills. Take it a step further and consider a reusable filter. They cost more but last longer and can be washed off at the start of each heating season and put back to work.
  8. Hot air rises: Heat can escape from the uppermost floor of the house. At least 6 inches of insulating material between the heated and unheated areas of the home will keep you warmer and your bills lower. The investment in thicker insulation should pay off in a few seasons. 
  9. Laundry 101: Air-dry laundry on a clothesline or drying rack in a warm room or outdoors, weather permitting.
  10. Vampire devices: Turn off electricity-eating devices at night, especially electronics such as computer monitors that leech energy in sleep mode. Unplug these energy “vampires” when not in use, or consider a smart power strip that automatically shuts off several devices at once.

Rachael Fredericks, Manager, Energy Services, Residential Programs – PSE&G

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