Consumer Reports: How to keep your electric bills from going up amid COVID-19 pandemic

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Your commuting costs might be down, but if you're still sheltering at home, your energy bills might be creeping up. The experts at Consumer Reports share some simple tips to keep your utility bills down without sacrificing comfort.

Adjusting your thermostat settings is one of the simplest and most significant things you can do to keep your energy bills under control. Lower your thermostat by a few degrees when you have the heat running and raise it a few degrees when it gets warmer and you turn on the A/C.

CR says that programmable or smart thermostats can make this lifestyle change easy. The Honeywell Home RTH8560D is a CR Best buy at $90, and testers said installation is fairly straightforward.

Other smart thermostats can adjust temperature settings based on your activity and behavior.
CR likes the Nest Thermostat E for about $140.

Some smart thermostats also offer wireless temperature sensors that detect motion in a room. That allows you to heat or cool the space only when it's being used.

You can curtail costs in the kitchen, too. When cooking smaller meals, use a toaster oven or microwave, which costs less than heating up your big oven.

To save water, instead of prolonged prerinsing and hand-washing dishes, simply scrape off food and load them right into your dishwasher. Use the quick rinse or rinse and hold cycle. That will rinse all the dishes using a lot less water than the faucet, and then you can wait until you have a full load to run.

And finally, take shorter showers, 5 minutes or less.

CR says the best way to save in the laundry room is to use the highest spin setting available on your washer. It removes more moisture and helps shorten drying times.

All Consumer Reports material Copyright 2020 Consumer Reports, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Consumer Reports is a not-for-profit organization which accepts no advertising. It has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site. For more information visit ConsumerReports.org.
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