Winter is just around the bend, and in some places you might have already seen snow. With colder temperatures come increased heating and electricity bills. While your winter electric bills might not be as high as your summer ones (especially in the south), it can still cost a great deal in the wintertime.
Luckily, there are some things that you can do during the winter, and other times, to help reduce your electricity bill while still living comfortably.
Tips To Reduce Your Electric Bill
In General You Should:
1. Turn it Off: Everyone knows this, but sometimes there is a difference between knowing and doing. Turn off your lights when you leave a room and turn off the television. If you have a DVD player, a game system, or a sound system that run independently of the TV turn those off too. You can even buy a power strip that hooks all of these electronics up to one on/off switch. You can see an example of one here.
2. Unplug It: Did you know that your appliances will leech power even when they are not turned on? You can save on electricity by unplugging your appliances when they are not in use. Now, I’m not saying that you should unplug your TV every time you turn it off, but what about that cappuccino machine on your counter that you use once or twice a month? It is also a good idea to unplug phone and computer chargers when you are not using them as they also draw power even when you aren’t charging something.
3. Buy Energy Efficient Appliances and Light Bulbs: If you are buying new appliances, you should spend the extra money on the energy efficient versions if possible. That extra money upfront translates into a great deal of energy savings over the years. Also, it gets dark earlier in the winter, which will mean that you will be turning on the lights earlier as well. Take the time to buy energy efficient light bulbs, and they will help you save money on your electricity bill. They also tend to last longer than less expensive bulbs.
In Winter You Should:
4. Install Storm Windows: Now, this really only applies to people who live in colder climates, but they can greatly reduce your heating bill, especially if you live in an older home. Storm windows are installed on the inside or outside of the window, and they put an extra layer of glass between you and the outside.
5. Adjust Your Thermostat: This can be one of the hardest tips for people to follow, but by reducing the temperature in your house by one or two degrees, you can save a great deal of money on your heating bills. For example, try setting the heat at 68 or 70 instead of 72. It’ll be cooler in your house, but you can wear a comfortable coat and some house slippers during the winter. You can also use space heaters, such as oil heaters, in your bedrooms and reduce the load on your central heating system. You can find these heaters for around $30. Remember to keep these heaters at least two or three feet away from anything flammable.
Tip: Try turning your heat down before you cook dinner, the heat from a stove or an oven can raise the temperature of a kitchen/living area by a couple of degrees, especially if you live in a smaller home.
6. Purchase and Install a Programmable Thermostat: If you do not already have one, this is a great (and easy) way to reduce your electricity bill in both the summer and the winter. With a programmable thermostat you set the temperature for certain times of day, generally 6 to 8 a.m., 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., 5 to 10 p.m., and 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. You can program lower temperatures for when you are not in the house or for when you are sleeping and your heat will adjust automatically. This way you do not have to remember to adjust the heat every time you leave the house or go to bed.
7. Reverse Your Fans: Most ceiling fans have a small switch on them that reverses the way the blades spin. In the summer, you want the fan to push air down, creating a breeze. However, many people do not realize that you can use your ceiling fans in the winter by reversing them. This draws air up, and it helps move warm air off of your ceiling. By circulating the air, the room feels more comfortable (and less stuffy), and you can actually use your central heating less.
8. Use Sunlight to Your Advantage: You should open your curtains and your blinds during the day. This allows sunlight into your home and can help raise the temperature by a couple of degrees. At night, close the curtains and the blinds, and that will help retain the heat that was absorbed during the day.
By following these easy tips, you can reduce your electricity bills throughout the winter.
Do you have any more useful energy saving tips that you use?