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How does working from home change your energy bills?

 

If you’re still working during the current crisis and you’re not an essential worker, the chances are that you’re now working from home.

What was once considered a perk or a weekly treat has now become the new norm so what impact does this change have on our day-to-day lives? Parents will doubtless be preoccupied with the pitter patter (or noisy stomping) of little feet. They’ll also have to balance the daily task of trying to home-school, entertain, feed and watch their kids while trying to do their day job.

For others, working from home can be a solitary experience without the banter and the chat of the office. Or you may have the unwelcome distraction of housemates who are no longer working.

Aside from the social restrictions and new professional challenges the lockdown throws up, working from home can also have a significant impact on your energy bills.

With more power comes larger bills

If your house is normally empty during the daytime, it’s using relatively little electricity. One of the realities of working from home is that you’re going to be using more electricity or gas and that means larger energy bills.

Nowadays, you get up in the morning and switch on the Wi-Fi, power up your computer and stick the kettle on. If it’s chilly, you turn on the heater. You might have some toast or cook something for breakfast. Even before you start your working day, you’ll probably have used more power than you normally would.

You now cook your meals rather than eating out at lunch and make your own teas and coffees. That means your cooker, oven, microwave, kettle or coffee maker will be getting more use than ever – and it’s all taking place in the daytime, when electricity is charged at a peak rate. More meals in the house means more dishes, which means that you’ll be using your dishwasher more often.

Anyone who takes a lot of work calls will be recharging their phone on a regular basis. You may need to use a light or a desk lamp depending on how well lit your living space is. If you have a radio, TV or record player on in the background, that will also be keeping your meter ticking away.

To give you an idea of the ways that these incremental costs add up over time, think about what you get for your money. For instance, what can you get for 20c? A unit of electricity is a 1Kwh, which costs around 20c, will get you approximately:

  • Six minutes in an electric shower
  • 30 minutes’ cooking time with a 2,000W oven
  • 60 minutes of a dishwasher running
  • Three hours on your plasma TV

It may not seem like much but you can expect to see a difference in your bills over time, especially if you have more than one person working from home in your household.

How can I reduce the cost of working at home?

One of the simplest ways to reduce your bills and save money is to switch energy providers. Choosy.ie is a new comparison site from the Irish Independent that makes it easier than ever to find the best deal for you.

You can get an impartial comparison and you can even make the switch directly through the site. Find out more about Choosy.ie here and then see what savings you can make.

Households can save around €1600 over four years by switching providers so this is a no-brainer if you’re looking to cut costs. We all have more time these days so there’s never been a better time to look into it.

Turning off devices or appliances that aren’t in use can help to avoid waste and save you money. Using energy-efficient appliances or settings is another way to get more bang for your buck and reduce your bills. If you have a night meter, use timers on appliances like the washing machine to use off-peak energy at around half the price.

Employees who are working from home on a full or part-time basis can also claim tax relief to cover expenses such as heating and electricity costs. So you may be able to claim something back to offset any additional expenses incurred as a result of working from home.

You may already be saving money on commuting costs but working from home shouldn’t cost you money. Things like switching providers can make a big difference but working more efficiently and avoiding waste can also help you to avoid bigger bills during lockdown.  

Choosy. You've nothing to losey. Visit Choosy.ie from the Irish Independent and see how much you could save by switching energy supplier today.