How to keep your energy bills low while working from home
Everyone is working hard to stay productive despite the challenges of working from the kitchen table, letting the dog out, sending an email, letting the dog back in, attending a virtual meeting, running the dishwasher — repeat this balancing act ad infinitum. Who knew a pandemic could involve so many dirty dishes?
More time at home will probably have you making some changes, like using the spare bedroom for conference calls or setting up space for kids’ distance learning activities — and maybe way more TV and old movies. One change you can count on is an increase in your home energy consumption, which if left unchecked, can cause a corresponding increase in utility bills.
Thermostats that used to set the temp back when everyone left for work and school are now busy keeping everyone comfortable. The dishwasher is running a lot more frequently than it used to. The oven is working harder, since so many folks are taking up baking. And many other devices — laptops, TVs, smart speakers, and more — are seeing increased use and more charging.
Most of those changes are inevitable — it’s necessary to entertain ourselves and keep the house clean and comfortable. And your family is unlikely to refuse some fresh bread, cupcakes, or cookies! But it can be rough on your wallet to accommodate the higher energy costs.
There’s good news, though. CEE has compiled some online resources to make your home more efficient, which helps keep your energy bills low.
First up is Home Energy Hub from CEE. Our energy experts created a great resource with reliable advice on everything from keeping your home safe and healthy to getting the most out of new innovations in energy — and of course, making your home as energy efficient as it can be. You can learn about the benefits of air sealing and insulation, small seasonal adjustments to stay comfortable in the height of summer and depths of winter, lightbulb recycling, water heaters, ice dams, and so much more.
Home Energy Hub can also lead you to another great resource — CEE’s Energy Advisors.
When you call CEE’s Energy Advisor Service, you will talk to an honest-to-goodness human being — and they know their stuff! Our Advisors can answer your energy questions and point you in the right direction for a specific project or improvement. They can also connect you with rebate-eligible contractors and low-interest financing options, as well as help you compare contractor cost estimates for projects.
And this service is completely free! Free as in, they’ll help you tackle energy efficiency at home and they won’t charge you for it. Also free as in, they’re working from home too and have some time on their hands to help you out.
Utilities also offer some easy ideas that can make a big impact on your home energy consumption. Try Xcel Energy’s “One-Handed Tips” — and for more good advice (presumable two-handed), check out “Reduce Energy Use and Save Money.”
If you’re a CenterPoint Energy customer, visit their DIY Home Efficiency page, where you can select from a wide range of energy efficiency products that are easy to install and help reduce energy consumption. Most of the items are free! CenterPoint Energy will send your order to your front door, and in just a few minutes you can install the products and enjoy the feeling of free stuff saving you energy and money.
Home Energy Hub Energy
Xcel Energy: One-Handed Tips
Xcel Energy: Reduce Energy Use and Save Money
CenterPoint Energy: DIY Home Efficiency