Energy Tips for Teleworking

April 11, 2020
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During these unprecedented times, many of us are now working from home – and usually with kids in tow which means that we are using more electricity and water every day. We want to make sure that you are staying comfortable and healthy in your homes, but being home for extended periods of time can make utility bills skyrocket.

Luckily for you, our website is updated with all of the programs available to you regarding energy assistance programs, utility shutoffs, evictions, and unemployment benefits so head over there if you have specific questions about those issues.

There are also handouts to help you:

If you are looking for ways to keep your utility bills low while we are all spending more time at home, here are our top recommendations:

Pay Attention to Your Thermostat 

Since it is Spring, we are at a tricky time when it comes to setting your thermostat. Industry recommendations suggest you set your thermostat to 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees in the summer. With the temperature still fluctuating drastically, we recommend keeping your thermostat as close to the temperature outside as is tolerable for your family. This may be the time to install a programmable thermostat. Programmable thermostats can help make monitoring easy and human error-free. One suggestion is to set the thermostat to the suggested setting while you’re awake and then lower it while you’re asleep. Lowering your thermostat 10-15 degrees for eight hours can reduce your heating bill by 5-15%. EnergyHub says that for each degree you lower your heat, you can save 3% or more on heating costs.

  • Right now BGE  and Pepco,  are offering rebates when you switch to a programmable or Smart Thermostat.

Use Your Appliances at the Right Time 

Now that we are home more, you may want to run your dishwasher as soon as it is full or run the washer and dryer when you have the physical energy to fold those clothes. Unfortunately, that may not be the best time economically to use these large appliances. During the day, every one is using their computers, electronics, and lights also known as peak demand. So, it does matter what time of day you use these larger appliances and also consider these recommendations:

  • Wash clothes with cold water and make sure you have a full load.
  • Use a lower heat setting on the dryer and use a dryer ball to help cut energy costs.
  • Run the dishwasher only when it is full and scrape instead of pre-rinsing the dishes.

Open the Blinds 

How to Open a Stuck Window or Sliding DoorWith us all spending more time at home, you may find yourself turning on lights even when the sun is shining outside. Although lighting only accounts for about 11 percent of a home’s energy use, it is still important to be aware of how we are using it.

  • Use natural light, open the curtains, shades and blinds when you wake up. If it is a super hot day, keep them closed to reduce heat gain.
  • Use task lighting, this means use a lamp in the area you are in as opposed to the overhead lighting in the room, it uses less energy.
  • Switch to LED bulbs. LED lights save energy and release less heat into the room. Get instant, in-store discounts when you buy select ENERGY STAR certified lighting at participating retailers.

Be Appliance Savvy 

Working from home means we are on our computers all day long, not just that, you may have Netflix playing in the background, your cell phone right next to you, and a host of other appliances plugged in. We encourage you to be savvy with those appliances so that you are not racking up a high utility bill.

  • Make sure electronics are turned off when not in use or set them to sleep mode.
  • Use power strips to uniformly shut off power to devices and stop vampire loads.
  • Unplug chargers and other small appliances (like the coffee pot) when you are done using them.
  • When purchasing new appliances and electronics, make sure it’s ENERGY STAR® certified.

Earth Month Activities 

In an effort to give people something to do while we honor the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day , this month, DEP along with the cities of Gaithersburg, Rockville, and Takoma Park have put together an Online Energy BINGO game for you.

Additionally, we are encouraging people to do their own DIY Audit since the Quick Home Energy Checkup or Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Audit will not be available until we are allowed to leave our homes again.



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