With schools and workplaces closed during the coronavirus pandemic, household energy habits are likely to change.

Parents working remotely and children playing at home will likely contribute to more consistent energy use throughout the day, rather than the morning and evening peaks more typical at this time of year.

“With more people at home for more hours of the day, household energy usage is going to change. There are a number of low cost steps families can take to help control their energy costs,” said Francisco Castro, manager of residential energy efficiency programs at Tucson Electric Power.

Castro shared some energy-saving tips for families sheltering at home:

  • Remind kids to practice good energy habits. Ask them to turn off ceiling fans, lights and appliances when they leave a room. Close the windows and draw the blinds or curtains to help keep rooms cooler.
  • Help manage your thermostat. If warm days tempt you to turn on your air conditioner, set your thermostat to 78°F or as high as comfortable while everyone’s home for the day. Wait to run large heat-producing appliances – such as the dishwasher or the clothes dryer – until evenings when it is cooler to help keep your home comfortable during the day. Better yet, use a clothes line.
  • Use power strips. They allow you to turn off all electronics at once when they’re not being used so they don’t draw “phantom” power.
  • Take shorter showers. Teens are notorious for long showers – and heating water is the second largest energy expense in the average home. Set a timer to help them limit their showers.
  • Practice sensible snacking and meals. Put healthy snacks toward the front of the fridge for little fingers to more readily grab. Consider meals or snacks that don’t need to be cooked or use the microwave or outdoor grill rather than the stove and oven.
  • Learn more about pricing plans that might work for your family. Track your energy use through My Account on tep.com or by using TEP’s mobile app. See your usage by the hour, day and month to learn your patterns and adjust your habits as needed. And check out the Pricing Planner comparison tool, which helps determine which plan best fits your household’s energy usage.
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