How to save on your utility bills while staying at home

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- With so many people spending time in their homes as state and health officials work to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. that electric bill may be getting larger.

Jeff Brooks with Duke Energy spoke with ABC11 on Tuesday and offered some tips to help keep costs down while keeping comfortable.

A partial transcript follows. Watch the video above for the full Q&A.

With people staying home, they will likely see an increase in their power usage. What's the single most important thing people can do to save on that bill?

Well, with people staying home so often now all day, every day, really the little thing can make a big difference. Certainly, your thermostat, adjusting that thermostat to the highest comfortable setting and maybe using a ceiling fan to make you feel more comfortable in the room can help you save a significant amount of energy. You also want to keep your air filters clean. When those air filters are dirty, it causes the unit to work much harder. That means you're going to use more electricity and it's going to shorten the lifespan of the unit, so that's an easy way you can make a big dent in your energy bill.

What about light bulbs? Should we switch to more energy-efficient bulbs?

Well, I think you certainly want to start with the lights you use the most. So, the ones that you're using every evening in your living room, most likely, maybe in your kitchen, your dining area, change those first but certainly, as the light bulb burns out replace it with an LED. They've really gotten cost-effective and Duke Energy has actually provided a lot of discounts on bulbs. And they can save you a lot of energy plus they're going to burn cooler and that's going to mean your air conditioning may have to work a little less hard because it doesn't have to cool the room as much.

People are using their electronic devices a lot. Is there anything we can do there to save?

Well, we have to have entertainment. Our computers and our game consoles are part of keeping our minds occupied during these challenging times. So, it's good to use them but when you're done with them, be sure they're turned off. Putting them completely asleep instead of in standby mode where they're downloading stuff during all hours a day, and then maybe putting them on a power strip so you can turn that off when you're done using it.

Brooks also said a big challenge is turning things off when you leave a room. That can make a huge difference in electricity usage.

Get more energy-saving ideas from Duke Energy here.
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