Thermostat

PADUCAH — More people staying at home because of COVID-19 means people will likely see higher utility bills. Your kids are using the computer for school, and you're spending a lot more time with the lights on working from home.

You would typically see electricity bills going down during the spring. With more people at home, that might not be as feasible, said Scott Adair with Jackson Purchase Energy Cooperative.

"So, everyone is always trying to look for ways to stretch their hard-earned dollar further," said Adair. "One of the ways you can do that is through energy efficiency." 

He said change your air filter, so your HVAC system will operate more efficiently. Make sure the coils on your refrigerator are clean, and check the temperature settings. Fill your dishwashers and washing machines all the way up before using them to prevent washing as many loads. Also, reheat leftovers in the microwave, and only use the oven when you have large items.

"Cooler nights and the warmer days, I would recommend folks not switching their heating and air systems back and forth," Adair said. 

You can instead turn on your ceiling fans before you touch your thermostat.

The U.S. Natural Resource Defense Council says using a ceiling fan can make a room feel 10 degrees cooler. The fan uses just 10% of the energy that a central air conditioner uses.

You should also cut down on screen time and take a walk or read a book while social distancing. 

You can keep energy costs down in the kitchen by serving cereal for breakfast instead of eggs to limit the use of appliances.

Don't let you water bill take you by surprise either. You can start by cutting down on baths and stick to shorter showers. The Environmental Protection Agency says an average bath uses up to 50 gallons of water, and the average 10-minute shower only uses 25 gallons.

Also, don't let the water run when brushing your teeth. That wastes an average of 4 gallons each time, according to the U.S. Natural Resource Defense Council.

Lastly, if you have an Energy Star Certified dishwasher, use that instead of washing by hand. It can save almost 5,000 gallons of water per year, according to the Natural Resource Defense Council.