Most Americans spend about $100 or more on electricity each month. We are spending even more in the winter when we are watching more TV and electronics to stay entertained.
Your kids may have less outdoor activities and be home more during winter break. We are also heating our homes.
If you are on a budget, you may be wondering how to save on electric bill spending during the winter.
Here are some thoughts.
1. Dim The Lights
We are more prone to spending more on lighting our houses in the winter. Since days are shorter, lights are getting turned on earlier for tasks like cooking and reading.
We are also spending more on holiday and tree lighting. In fact, your Christmas tree alone is increasing your electrical bill by 15-20%.
Make it a point of shutting the lights every time you are not using a room. Motion sensors can help you be certain that you are not spending money on rooms that no one is occupying.
LED light bulbs are known to burn up to 25-30% less electricity and last fifteen to twenty times longer. They may cost you money upfront but will save you money in the long run, especially on holiday decor. You can even find holiday lights that are solar-powered.
Using task lighting at night, such as a desk lamp, will allow you to turn off overhead lighting if most folks in your house are beginning to turn in.
Choosing bright, light colors for the paint in your home will make extra lighting unnecessary. Lampshades with white liner will reflect more light, leading to less of a need for additional bulbs.
During the day, make use of natural lighting as much as possible. Open the curtains and let the daylight in, using loose-weave curtains to protect your privacy. This will also help you save on heating costs.
2. The Heat Is On
46% of homes use electricity for their main water heater. The coldest days of the year are between mid-December and late January, resulting in more work for heating systems. A professional tune-up can help.
Upgrading your thermostat will let you customize your heating schedule to save money. You can save up to 10% on your heating bill by setting your thermostat down a couple of degrees. Try wearing heavier clothes, using blankets, or putting rugs on your floor to keep your home warm.
It is important to check your filters to keep your HVAC system working efficiently. Getting your furnace professionally cleaned will prolong its lifespan. You can also insulate the hot water heater and pipes, especially if it is in an unheated area. Insulate any accessible hot water pipes with jackets.
The hot water heater in your tank will function well at 120 degrees. If it gets heated any higher, it could be a safety hazard. A tankless or solar water system can also reduce the costs of heating water, even if the initial investment is a few hundred dollars more.
You may be losing a lot of heat due to drafts from your windows and doors. To test them, put a dollar under your window or door and close it. If you can easily pull the dollar out, you probably have a draft problem.
Weatherstripping from a hardware store can help you minimize heat loss due to drafts. You can also use it around corners, chimneys, pipes, and wires.
Wood blinds and curtains can also help keep heat from escaping. A rolled-up towel over a drafty window will work in a pinch. New windows and doors can be a pricey investment, but they will help you save money on energy in the long run.
3. Appliance Woes
Your washer and dryer can use a lot of heat in colder months. Try washing and drying only full loads and using cold water cycles as much as possible. If possible, try drying your clothes on a line in the bathroom.
Don’t keep your refrigerator and freezer too cold, as this is a big waste of energy. The right temperatures are between thirty-seven and forty degrees Farenheight for fresh food, and five degrees for the freezer section.
Organize your shelves so that there is enough air to flow around your fridge. Too many items will reduce air circulation and reduce the appliance’s efficiency. Put your fridge in the coolest part of the kitchen and keep it away from heat sources such as your stove.
Defrost food before you microwave or bake it to save on energy. If you are using an electric oven, try turning it off fifteen minutes before cooking time is complete and the food will continue cooking at the set temperature as long as the oven door is not open.
Keep your range at the lowest possible setting on your stove. Keep pots and pans covered to prevent further heat loss.
When heating water on your stove, use only the amount you need. Try not to waste heat on the water that is going to get thrown away.
Try using the “economy mode” on your dishwasher as much as possible. Only run it when it gets full.
Much of the power that we use for home electronics is wasted on products that are turned on but still plugged into the wall. If you install a power bar with a surge protector, you can conveniently turn off all electronics once you are done using them. You can then unplug the power bar.
Chargers and adapters can get unplugged if they’re not charging anything. A laptop uses less energy than a desktop computer, so invest in one if possible.
Turn off your computers at night when they are not in use. You can also save money by lowering the brightness on your monitor.
Keep your printer and scanner on sleep mode unless you are using them. It will save you power and money.
If you have gamers in your house, consider upgrading to a video card. They are becoming increasingly more powerful and efficient.
Don’t waste money on heating areas that are not insulated, such as your garage, attic, or crawl spaces.
If you notice that your home seems generally too cold, try getting your insulation inspected and replaced. The investment will pay off in your winter heating bills.
Try insulating your attic with old clothing, weather stripping, blankets, or plastic. It will keep drafts and warm air from floating away through your roof.
Many homes come equipped with three inches of insulation in the attic. You can try upgrading this to twelve inches to reduce money on both heating and cooling costs.
Seal any cracks in your basement, attic, or crawl spaces with materials like caulk and foam. Check your roof and basement for water leaks. Wet insulation is ineffective.
Heat rises and may get pulled through your attic so you may not notice a draft. You are, however, losing expensive hot air.
Close your chimney damper, as this will keep warm air from escaping and cold air from coming in.
You can also insulate your outlets, which often let heat out on the sides. Purchase self-adhesive foam covers and install them at the top.
6. Use Your Fan
A trick of the energy-efficient is to turn fans on clockwise and set them on a lower speed. This will make your home feel warmer and save you up to 10% on your energy bill.
7. Harness The Sun
Using the power of the sun is an amazing natural way to lower your energy bill. When you are purchasing a new home or installing windows, look for the “National Fenestration Rating Council” label, which certifies energy-efficient windows.
Leave your shades wide open during the day to fill your home with natural heat, light, and energy. Light curtains will brighten your room without requiring extra energy. At night, keep your shades shut so the warm air stays in.
8. Use Your Noggin
A little common sense goes a long way when it comes to saving energy. Remind everyone in your house to open and close doors and shut off lights when they leave.
No one should be leaving the refrigerator doors open or taking extra-long showers if you are on a budget. A little reminding will go a long way toward saving you money and energy.
How To Save On Electric Bill Costs
Those on a budget may be wondering how to save on electric bill costs. With a little creativity and care, your bill will be lower in no time.
For more help with home heating, contact us today.
Related: “The Secret to Efficient Central Heating“