Winter is coming. That means increased energy bills for those living in colder climates, so this is a good time to look at how you can keep your costs down in the upcoming months. Heating oil will be more expensive this year. So will natural gas and electricity, so your budget from last year may need some modification. In today’s article, we’ll talk about energy cost savings.
It’s also worth checking out Credello’s debt consolidation guide before delving into the rest of these suggestions. Cutting your expenses in winter won’t benefit you much if you’re overspending in other areas. Understanding debt and its potential impact on your life can help you avoid that situation.
Here are some winter cost-saving tips for you:
1. Lower the Temperature in the House
If you kept your thermostat at 70° last year, try turning it down to 68° this year. Those extra two degrees could translate into a few hundred dollars in savings over the winter. When you’re not going to be home, turn it down some more. You can always crank it back up when you get back. Think of degrees in terms of dollars and cents and this gets easier to remember.
2. Install a Smart Thermostat
Smart thermostats automatically adjust the temperature for you for peak energy efficiency. They’re WiFi enabled and learn your habits and behaviours after they’ve been installed. Some states even offer rebates to folks who install them, since those energy savings for you also reduce demand on the power grid. That’s worth looking into.
3. Let the Sunshine In
Keeping your curtains open on sunny days will warm your home a few degrees and lower your energy bills. This is a simple solution that’s also healthy for you as a human being. The body needs sunlight as a source of Vitamin D and to maintain personal energy levels during the long winter months. Keep those curtains open during the day.
4. Close the Curtains at Night
Opening the curtains every morning suggests that you’re closing them at night. This is a good idea because the heat you build up from sunlight during the day can be contained if you close your curtains at night. Leaving them open will allow that heat to escape, putting the burden of heating on your furnace, fireplace, and space heaters. A decent set of high quality, made-to-measure lined blackout blinds really can make a huge difference.
5. Seek Out and Eliminate Leaks and Drafts
Oldtimers in New England and the Upper Midwest cover the inside of their windows with plastic every winter. They know that those cold winter gusts of wind will penetrate every crack, no matter how small. You don’t have to go to that extreme, but you should spend some time looking for “cold spots” where leaks and drafts exist. Plugging those holes will save you money.
6. Dress Warm and Put an Extra Blanket On
You won’t need to keep the house at 70° if you dress warmer and put an extra blanket on the bed while you’re sleeping. This is one of the easiest ways to save money on your energy costs in winter. It’s also quite comfortable once you get used to it. Retail stores and online shops have an extensive inventory of fleece and soft flannel winter clothing.
7. Leave the Oven Door Open After You Bake
Don’t try to heat your home with the oven. That’s not cost-effective, and it could be dangerous. If you use the oven for baking, though, leave the oven door open when you’re done to let that excess heat circulate through the house. Don’t forget to turn it off when you do this. The house should be a few degrees warmer by the time you finish that delicious dessert you just made.
8. Close Off Unused Rooms
Anyone who owns a big old house knows this trick. Those unused rooms do not need to be heated. Close them off and shut any vents if you have forced hot air heat. Turn off the radiators if you have forced hot water. If the unused room is a bathroom, shut the water off in there and drain the pipes so you don’t have to worry about freezing.
9. Use Space Heaters for Smaller Rooms
Many people work from home these days and only use one room in the house during the day. Turn your thermostat down and use a space heater for your home office. Your electric bill might increase slightly, but you won’t be burning gas or oil, both of which are significantly more expensive. For best results, buy a space heater with a thermostat.
10. Use a Fan to Circulate Heat
Ceiling fans aren’t just for circulating cool air in summer. They can also help move around warm air during colder months. If you have them, keep them running. It will help to warm up the house. For best results, use the “reverse” switch on the fan that changes the direction to clockwise, causing an updraft instead of the cooling downdraft you use in summer.