A surge in home energy demand is one unexpected implication of the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, home energy costs are up 22% since the start of the pandemic.
The bottom line is that people are home more often. Families are staying home from work and school. They are not going out to the movie theaters and vacationing less frequently.
Now is the perfect time to make your home energy efficient. Instead of wasting time in quarantine, you could be doing projects with a big return on investment.
Read on to learn why Covid-19 is an opportunity to save money on utility bills. Explore how the pandemic has changed our lives and what you can do to cut costs.
How Has Covid-19 Changed the Way We Live?
Here, we will describe the cultural changes caused by the coronavirus pandemic. While some lifestyle changes are temporary, others are going to be a long-term adjustment. Below is a breakdown of the various ways work and home life has changed due to Covid-19.
Working from Home
One major change is that many companies have their employees working from home. Research shows that roughly 40% of the American workforce is teleworking. Perhaps more shocking is that very few employees who can work from home have returned to the office.
For employers, the pandemic served as a wide-scale productivity experiment. The benefits of working from home were well-established before Covid-19.
Employers knew they could reduce overhead expenses by minimizing the number of on-site resources. However, there were always questions about maintaining productivity.
The pandemic forced employers’ hands and they had no choice but to transition to teleworking. The results are favorable to employers and employees alike. A Stanford University study concluded that employees who work from home are 13% more productive.
They save time on commuting and inefficient meetings. The bottom line is that large-scale teleworking is here to stay.
Many American children are not returning to school. Some school districts are exclusively doing remote learning.
Other families are opting for remote learning over in-person instruction. Perhaps their child has a preexisting condition or a family member is vulnerable.
Either way, these families are home more as their children are no longer physically in school. This means the heat and air conditioning are running more often to keep the temperature comfortable.
Government restrictions are another reason that people are staying home more. In Utah, masks are now mandated in public.
Many people just do not feel comfortable wearing a mask for a long period of time. Instead, they would rather stay at home in a protected environment.
Other government restrictions include limiting indoor capacity and canceling public events. The end result of the government’s public health push is that more people are staying home.
Why Is It the Perfect Time to Make Your Home Energy-Efficient?
Since people are home more now, it is a great opportunity to make your home energy efficient. Many homeowners are already paying more in heating and air conditioning bills due to inefficiencies in their system. Now, with families staying home, these inefficiencies are going to drive up energy bills even more.
In the winter, for example, your home is likely experiencing heat loss. This occurs when warm air escapes from cracks and gaps in the ductwork or attic.
Heat loss makes the heating system work harder to maintain a comfortable temperature. You can get a complimentary home energy audit to see if your home needs any improvements.
Correcting any inefficiencies or insulation issues will prevent your energy bill from going up. For some families, now is the perfect time to invest in energy efficiency improvements.
Your monthly budget may be improving due to stay-at-home orders. For instance, people working from home are not driving to work or eating out for lunch.
Other families are saving on child care since everyone is home. If your job status has not been interrupted, these savings could be directed toward energy improvements in the home.
The government also provided stimulus checks earlier in the year. There are discussions about a second stimulus as well. There is likely a significant return on investment if you use your stimulus check towards energy efficiency improvements.
What Improvements Can Be Made to Improve Energy Efficiency?
When people hear about energy efficiency, they automatically think about a replacement HVAC unit. While this may help, it does not solve underlying issues with the home and interconnected systems like ductwork. You can achieve substantial savings with more moderately priced energy improvements.
For example, your ductwork is vulnerable to holes, connection issues, and leaks. Duct sealing is a low-cost solution that reduces energy demand and extends the service life of your HVAC system.
Another improvement is called a radiant barrier. Traditional insulation minimizes heat loss but does not completely prevent warm air from escaping.
New radiant barrier technology is an efficient way to reduce energy demand. It reduces radiant heat transfer by reflecting the warm air back the way it came.
You can use radiant barriers in the attic or crawlspace. Others use it on garage doors, windows, or wrapped around the hot water heater.
This is another energy improvement that won’t break the bank. Many of these radiant barrier projects cost less than $150.
There are several insulation projects that entrap heat and reduce energy demand. The insulation in your attic can start breaking down at the three-year mark. Replacing attic insulation is a cost-efficient way to reduce energy expenses.
Many homeowners are surprised to find out that their older homes are not even insulated. You may want to consider injected foam insulation as a solution.
Make Your Home Energy Efficient During a Pandemic
If you are going to be home more because of Covid-19, it is a great time for energy efficiency improvements. The best part is that you do not have to break the bank to eliminate inefficiencies.
Projects like duct sealing or adding a radiant barrier to the hot water heater are cost-effective. At the same time, they provide you with a significant return on investment with cheaper utility bills.
If you are interested in making your Utah home energy efficient, contact us today to speak with a specialist.