Published onAugust 1st, 2022
Save Money on Energy Bills Working from Home
Although many people are returning to the office in 2022, some folks have discovered the ease of remote employment and have decided to avoid the commute permanently. However, being home all day can run up your utility costs if you’re not careful. Here’s how to save money on energy bills working from home, which is especially important now that the cost of fuel is rising. The good news is none of these tips involve adding layers of sweaters or suffering in uncomfortable temperatures.
Install a Smart Thermostat
Temperature adjustment at your fingertips
If you’re still using an old-fashioned manual thermostat, you will appreciate the new technology that comes with smart thermostats. These devices offer many benefits:
- The ability to pre-set temperatures in advance, such as lowering the thermostat when you go to sleep or raising it when you get up in the morning
- Integration with home hubs that control lights, security, window treatments, etc.
- Remote control with a mobile phone or tablet
- Coordination with apps that let you monitor energy use and costs
If you go away for the weekend and forget to turn down the heat, you can adjust it from afar with your cell phone and set it to get warmer a few hours before you return home. There’s no more running to the thermostat to turn up the heat and then jumping back in bed under your warm blankets while waiting for the heat to increase in the morning. You can set the thermostat to raise the heat automatically an hour before you rise.
Try Thermostatic Radiator Valves
Precise control for steam heat
It used to be that smart thermostats were only useful for electric heating. While you can definitely use them for that, they now also work with steam heat. Wait, you’re probably thinking, if I turn up my heat at the same time my neighbor in the unit next door turns theirs down, how does the central boiler know what to do?
The answer is thermostatic radiator valves. These valves attach to each radiator in your condo or co-op. They communicate with the smart thermostat to allow just the right amount of steam to escape in order to get the radiator to the right temperature to heat the room to your liking.
Heat loss prevention
You can use the latest smart thermostat and coordinated radiator valves, but if your pipes are losing heat, it’s going to cause problems. You’ll have trouble getting the right temperature in your unit, and fuel consumption will increase to compensate.
Therefore, insulating vulnerable pipes is a smart move. This can also prevent frozen pipes in winter, such as those along walls that get a lot of wind exposure or don’t see much sun. This prevents burst pipes that cause water damage and extends the life of your pipes.
While you’re at it, this is the perfect time to check other forms of insulation. Make sure windows and balcony doors seal tightly and there are no other areas where heat can escape in winter or cool air can get out in summer. Using thermal window treatments can help too.
Use Ceiling Fans
An inexpensive answer to uneven room temperatures in a condo or co-op is to utilize ceiling fans. They should turn clockwise in winter to push warm air that has risen to the ceiling down. In summer, reverse the direction of the blades and turn up the speed; have them turn in a counterclockwise direction and rotate quickly to create a cooling breeze.
Know How Much Electricity You’re Consuming
Easy lifestyle changes to reduce electricity use
If you’re working from home, you’re likely using a lot more electricity than you did when you left for the office every day. In addition to heating, you’re probably consuming more electricity for:
- Fans or air conditioning in summer
- Charging and operating electronics (computer, printers, phones, etc.)
- Background entertainment (music or TV on while you work)
- Cooking food for lunch and breaks
- Opening the refrigerator more often, which causes the compressor to run more
How do you know how much energy you’re using? Install a voltage detector between any electrical device or appliance and the outlet where you plug it in. It will tell you if you’re using a lot of electricity, even when an item is turned off.
Then, you can alter your behavior to reduce electricity as needed, such as being mindful of running things unnecessarily, turning off lights when you leave a room, or unplugging electronics you’re not using. You can also employ strategies like upgrading to energy-efficient appliances or replacing outdated incandescent bulbs with LED models, which last longer and use far less electricity.
If you have a smart meter solely for your unit (versus one meter for the entire building), you can also monitor your gross electricity consumption in real time and make changes accordingly. If you don’t have a smart meter yet, you should soon, as the city is replacing meters over the next few years. (Pro tip: this is the ideal time for buildings to switch to submetering if they haven’t yet.)
The summer is the perfect opportunity to make changes to your property to save money on energy bills before heat season starts in the fall. Sanitary Plumbing and our Omnia Mechanical Group partners welcome the chance to help you reduce expenses and enjoy your work-from-home status. Call us at 212-734-5000 to set up an appointment at your convenience.