COVID-19 has definitely changed the way we work and a direct reflection of that is how many of us have been, and will continue, working from home. Working from home definitely has its challenges, and can tax your personal life, your tolerance for video chats (typically the exact time your colleague’s cat decides to photo bomb your meeting) and internet usage.
Of course, we have adjusted to this new business life by creating a work space and bumping up your internet, but along with that comes more home expense than you are typically used to. Your hydro, water and heating costs are all going up due to all this extra use, as well as the demands on your furnace and water heater. Luckily, there are some things you can do to lower your costs, and the demands on your HVAC system.
Regularly change your filter. According to Direct Energy, “It is the most important thing to do to ensure your furnace longevity and performance, saving you up to 5-15 percent on your energy bill”. This is even more crucial now that you are working from home. If you were only changing it seasonally, you may want to up your game to a monthly check. A clogged filter puts a strain on the system, so changing it out more often adds to the longevity of your HVAC system.
Now that we are into the winter months, it is more important than ever to make sure you have done your yearly maintenance to keep your furnace running efficiently and reliably. If you didn’t do it before the snow started to fly, then set up an appointment to have your heating system inspected by an expert. A yearly check-up can save you time and money to ensure that your furnace is operating safely, efficiently and to manufacturer’s specifications. No one likes to sit in their home with a parka on because the furnace conked out..
Let the sunshine in
It’s good for your mental health, as much as it is for your wallet. Take advantage of natural light during the day instead of relying on your room lighting. Letting the sunshine in can help warm your home naturally during the winter, so you can limit how much you need to turn up the heat. It can also figuratively and literally, brighten your day by alleviating some of that cooped up feeling.
This is also the time where you can take advantage of lowering your thermostat. According to energy.gov, “lowering your thermostat – even for just 8 hours – can lower your energy consumption by 1%”. Of course, lowering it further, especially at night, can save you even more money.
The dreaded phantom power
Some devices continue to consume energy even when they’re turned off. Phantom power, or standby power, is beneficial while you are working, but is a waste of money once you are done work for the day. In fact, 75% of the electricity these devices consume is used when they are not even turned on or in use.
Make sure you shut everything down at the end of the day. Using a power bar can also make this easier by having everything plugged into the bar (it also saves your electronics in the event of a power surge). Just make sure you shut down your laptop or computer properly, before you flip the switch on the strip. This immediately cuts the power so no devices can consume energy when they’re not in use.
Throw it in reverse
We typically associate ceiling fans with keeping us cool during the summer months, but they can help with your heat during the winter months as well. Most ceiling fans have a reverse feature, that helps push that warm air up on the ceiling back down into the room and circulate it. By running your ceiling fan on the lowest setting, in reverse, you can not only keep more consistent temperature in your room, but your heat comes on less frequently, saving you money. This is especially beneficial if you have high or vaulted ceilings.
When in doubt, keep it simple
Of course, there are also very simple things you can due to cut down on your energy and heating consumption. Closing doors and vents to unused rooms make it easier for your home’s furnace to maintain the desired temperature in the rest of your rooms that are used more frequently, like your home office.
Bundle up! Dressing warmly, even inside the home, will make your family less reliant on the furnace, allowing you to turn down the thermostat another degree or two. Of course, we don’t suggest your warmest pair of onesies during your next video chat meeting, but a comfy sweater and those fuzzy socks might be just what you need while you work.
Seal cracks around the windows or outer door frames. Cold air can seep into your home through cracks and small openings, causing heat loss and increase the amount of times your furnace comes on. If you are a DIY kind of person, then replacing/installing weather-stripping and caulking small holes, can noticeably increase your home HVAC system’s efficiency.
Regular maintenance ensures there are no problems with your furnace and that it is running smoothly. Avoid heating unit repairs by contacting LG Home Comfort to know more about how to maintain your furnace and heating unit and save you money.