The wintertime can be stressful for many families because of the enormous electric bills that accompany it. While you can’t do anything to control the outside temperature, there is a lot you can do to impact your indoor temperature. These five tips are simple, inexpensive, and extremely effective at reducing your energy use when the weather is cold.
1. Be Mindful of Your Windows
Your windows are one of the biggest contributors to high electric bills—but they can also be one of the easiest ways to cut back on your energy expenses. First, use the windows to your advantage by opening the blinds and curtains and letting in the sun. Then, when the sun sets, close the curtains to help insulate them. For optimal results, use thick, tight-fitting drapes to reduce drafts.
2. Get a Programmable Thermostat
The temperature you keep your home is probably one of the largest factors in determining the amount of your bill. Try to keep it as low as you comfortably can. Use blankets, jackets, and slippers to keep you warm so you can turn it down a few more degrees. And remember, your body doesn’t need as much heat when you sleep, so you can turn it down even more right before you go to bed. To make it easy, use a programmable thermostat so you don’t have to remember when to make the adjustments. Bonus tip: You can also save energy by turning your water temperature down to 120 degrees.
3. Eliminate Air Drafts
You are not paying to heat the air in your backyard, so make sure you don’t have any air drafts in your home. Some of the most common locations to check for air leaks include the places where pipes come into your home, recessed lighting housing, spaces behind closets and/or cupboards, openings around doors and windows, and gaps around chimneys. Use weather-stripping or caulk to seal any leaks you find, and you will actually keep the warm air in your home.
4. Check Your Heating System
Even if you are doing everything else right, if your heating system is not operating at its best, you are paying more than necessary to heat your home. You should be getting an annual inspection of your HVAC system to make sure it is working properly, and don’t forget to change the air filters every three months at the most. If you run the heater nonstop, you will want to do it more often.
5. Select Your Energy Provider
Finally, if you really want to cut back on your energy costs during the winter, you shouldn’t just settle for whatever rate you were told to pay by the electric company that was assigned to you when you moved in. In many states, you can choose your own energy provider. You will still have the same company delivering the energy to you via their power lines, but the third-party company will be providing the electricity, and they usually have substantially lower rates.
Winter should be a time of playing in the snow and cuddling by the fire and making memories together—it shouldn’t be about a hefty electric bill that stresses you out. With these tips, you can take control of your energy usage and make the most of the season.