When winter begins to bite, electricity bills can start to climb at a dizzying rate. Keeping our houses and selves warm can be a significant drain on the budget, particularly as energy costs rise. But there some simple things you can do to save a few dollars and stop those energy bills from spiraling out of control this winter. Below are 8 tips to get your electricity bill as low as the temperature this winter.
Turn it down and wrap up warm
between 1-3% on your heating bill. It may seem counter intuitive when you’re trying to stay warm, but a few degrees can mean a big savings. If you feel chilly then throw a sweater on. You don’t need to be lounging around in shorts and a t-shirt in the middle of January now, do you?
And the water…
If you’ve never adjusted the thermostat on your water heater, the chances are it’s still at the factory setting of 140˚F. This is way hotter than you need. Given that water heating accounts for 18% of your energy bills, this adjustment can make a big dent in your bills. It also reduces the risk of you scalding yourself on water that’s too hot. So it’s safer as well as more energy efficient, why haven’t you already done this? While you’re at it, make sure your heater is insulated, too.
Keep it warm
One of the number one reasons for heating bills climbing in the winter is the need for adequate insulation in the home. Heat can escape through all sorts of places. Typically 35% of heat loss is via the walls, so wall insulation should be a priority if you’re looking to keep costs down. 25 % is lost through the roof, so if you have an attic, it’s easy to insulate this and save yourself some dollars.
If these seem like too big a job, it’s worth noting that a quarter of the heat loss in our homes comes from cracks around windows and doors. This is an easy and inexpensive problem to fix. Go around with some caulk (or expanding foam for the bigger cracks) and fill in as many gaps as you can. Make your home as proof against drafts as you can, and see the benefits in your energy bills.
Look after that furnace
There’s no point making your home as heat-efficient as possible if the thing that’s doing the heating doesn’t work properly. Get your furnace checked out. Change the filters and make sure it’s running as efficiently as it can. It’s best get a professional in for this one, but a small call-out fee can pay out significantly if your furnace is running as well as it can.
Some devices running in the typical household are an enormous drain on power. No-one’s suggesting you do without your dishwasher or washing machine, but they can be used more efficiently. Only wash full loads rather than wasting energy (and water) by having one that’s not at full capacity. Energy Star rated products are cheaper and more efficient to run. What you lay out in cash in the short term, you’ll make up and more in savings over the appliance’s lifetime. Also, you don’t need to pre-rinse dishes these days; that’s a bad habit left over from the days of less efficient dishwashers.
Use less water
We’ve seen how water heating costs are a big part of your overall bill, so it makes sense to try to bring them down a little. Installing a water efficient shower head can save enough energy in heating costs over the year to power the whole house for thirteen days. So not only are you saving on the water, you’re saving on the energy costs too.
Change your bulbs
Still got those old-school incandescent bulbs burning merrily away in your house? Sure, they give a nice bright light, but they’re also burning up a lot of your energy bill. Switching to LED bulbs can save the typical household $2,782 per year. And given that the life of these bulbs is ten times that of a standard bulb, they’ll keep paying you back for years to come. If you’re looking to save big, this one is a no-brainer.
The cheapest and most efficient way to bring your energy costs down this winter is simply to be thinking about it. Do you need all those lights running? Turn them off. Only use what you need. Appliances left on standby drain power unnecessarily, so if you’re not using something, turn it off. A little bit of forethought and a few adjustments to your lifestyle can see those energy bills plummet, and you can face the winter with confidence.