As the fall chill begins to set in, many of us are already cranking up our heaters. Unfortunately when you crank up the heat, the electric company cranks up your bill.
Many people don’t have the option of heating their homes with a wood burning stove or fireplace and must rely on a heating system. In addition, most of our homes are not as energy efficient as they could be.
Fortunately, there are simple, affordable things you can do to reduce your electricity consumption. Here are 10 helpful tips for melting away electric bill shock this winter.
Door Draft Stoppers
Cold, drafty air often sneaks in underneath doors. You can purchase simple door draft stoppers to cover up these cracks. You can even roll up a rug to improvise.
Window Insulator Kits
As houses settle, cracks tend to form around windows. If there are drafts sneaking in through your windows, it could cost a lot more to heat your home. You can buy a window insulator kit to cover your windows in a thin plastic film in the winter months to keep the chill out.
Check Your Heating Vents
Double check to make sure all of the vents for your central heating system are open. Contrary to popular belief, closing the vents does not save energy. If they are all open, your system won’t have to work so hard to keep your home warm.
Replace Your Air Filters
For your heating system to work optimally, the air filters need to be clean and free of dust and debris. Most systems will need the filters to be changed each month for full efficiency.
Install a Programmable Thermostat
To make it easier to ensure the heat is turned off when you’re away from the home, you can install a programmable thermostat. Set the heat to only go on during the hours when you’ll be home.
Set Your Water Heater at 120
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that by setting your water heater at 120, you can lower your water heating expenses by 6-10%. You can further improve your water heater’s efficiency by insulating it.
Cook with Your Oven
Ovens can pull double duty in the winter. While you’re cooking a casserole in the oven, you get the side benefit of heating up your home at the same time.
Add Extra Blankets to Your Bed
Instead of turning up the heat at night, add an extra blanket or down comforter to your bed to keep toasty warm. Then you can turn the heat on in the morning to take the chill out of the air.
Install Power Strips
During the winter months, most people spend more time indoors than outdoors, which leads to more use of electronic devices like TVs and video game systems. To reduce the amount of electricity your electronic devices use, you need to make sure they are shut off when they’re not in use. Instead of turning each device off, plug them all into a power strip and you can just shut the power strip off.
Replace Your Light Bulbs
Get rid of your old incandescent bulbs and replace them with modern LEDs. They are more expensive, but they use less energy than incandescent and are safer than CFLs.
How do you reduce your energy costs during the winter?
Feature image courtesy of Julie Falk