15 Smart Ways to Save on Utility Bills and Stay Warm This WinterSave on Bills
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Saving money during winter by reducing how much power you are consuming is as easy as 1, 2, and 3. It is all about making the right choices and decisions, and this article will show you how!
Winter is here, and while to some people it is the best time of the year, it does come with a few challenges. There is the important matter of wanting to stay warm without running your bills through the roof.
If you live in an area that experiences extreme lows, you know that your heating and electricity bills can quickly skyrocket.
Achieving a warm home for your family is not easy, especially if you have a big house. However, do not lose hope as there are several ways you could save on utility bills.
The best thing to do is to start early. You know that winter is close, so it makes no sense to start planning for it at the last minute.
You could learn a thing or two from animals who bundle up before the cold comes creeping.
If you are committed to making it work, then it is best that you do not leave anything to chance. Come up with a plan on how you will do things.
It is best that you involve every single person in your household for success. That way, no one will mess up all of your efforts.
Read on to find out how you could save on heating bills and maybe be a little kinder to the planet.
Fill Up Any Cracks
The first thing that you have to do to make your home warm and not waste any heat ensures that none is getting out.
Small cracks and holes in your doors, floors, walls, and roofs are often ignored, but they contribute to higher heating bills.
A lot of heat escapes through these cracks, and sometimes you may be unable to keep your home warm enough.
Filling them up ensures that whatever heat inside stays inside and the cold remains outside, which is excellent since you don’t have to keep cranking up the thermostat.
Of course, the windows and doors should be left closed at any time so as not to risk dropping the temperature in the house.
Give Your Heating System a Check before Winter Starts
People often end up wasting energy because they completely neglect their heating system and only start getting concerned once the problems start.
It is best that you have a professional check your system for any issues to ensure that it is working properly so that you can get the best out of it.
It is also good practice to have the heating system regularly checked and serviced, which allows you to identify any issues that may become more serious with time.
During such checks, make sure you get your filters cleaned and replaced if needed. If your filters and vents are dirty, it means that your system will not work as it should.
Hence your thermostat may be turned all the way up, but your home won’t feel any warmer. If you experience this problem, have a professional check your heating system right away.
Also, remember that you should not place anything in front of your vents as it could block the heat. So, no furniture or appliance should block the vents in your house.
Change Your Heater
Buying a new heating system for your home is not cheap, and you may be reluctant to part ways with one that is still working.
However, if your heater is over a decade old, the chances are that it costs you a lot of power that you could conserve by switching to a newer, more efficient system.
Have your trusted professional give you advice on the type of heater that is best for your home, which primarily depends on how large your place is.
Oil heaters are some of the best options for small to medium homes because they provide the right balance between energy consumption and how much heat they give.
Let the Sunlight In
Many people do not dare open their curtains during winter, but this is a grave mistake. While you may think that this will keep your home warm, you may be surprised to learn that it has the exact opposite effect.
The sunlight brings warmth, and though it is not that much, it will help you save on utility bills since when you open your curtains, you can turn the heat a bit lower.
Make a point of letting in as much sunshine as possible during the day, and in the long run, your wallet will thank you for it.
Remember to close your curtains when the sun goes down to conserve the heat inside. They serve as insulation so that your house remains warm.
That is why you need to invest in some great winter curtains for this time of year.
Invest in Solar Power
You may be tempted to overlook solar energy as a way of supplementing your electricity during winter because “there is hardly any sun, what is going to charge it up?”
Well if you didn’t know it, solar panels generate power from sunlight and not necessarily the amount of heat that the sun is producing.
You have to turn your panel so that it is facing the sun in the winter since it is usually a bit lower than for example during the summer.
It is essential that you run a check before the cold kicks in to ensure that the panel is working fine so that it can help you during the cold winter months.
Keep checking it regularly to ensure that no dust or snow is covering it. If it is correctly placed, you can be sure that it will become an excellent provider of supplemental energy.
Turn Down the Heat
You don’t need the heat setting at a high temperature both day and night and even when you are not at home.
When there is no one in the house, you can reduce the heat by about 10-15 degrees, and it will still be adequately warm when you get back and set it back to normal.
It is also best to reduce the heat at night when you are sleeping and invest in warm bedding instead. This will allow you not to freeze at night but still be in a position to save up on those bills.
It is better to find an energy-efficient space heater that you can keep turned on in the rooms that you are using at night instead of leaving the heat up.
You should also turn up the heaters when the temperatures drop to 40 degrees and not 60 degrees as you probably do. This way, you can easily save up to 10% off your heat bills every year.
Reduce the Temperature of Your Water Heating
Sure, that long hot bubble bath or shower feels so, so good especially on a very chilly winter evening.
There is no problem in indulging yourself every once in a while. However, you should not make a habit of it since it can quickly escalate your power bills.
That is why it is vital that you reduce the setting to warm where you can still enjoy a warm bath, but you can save up some dollars.
Another way of ensuring that baths and showers do not consume too much power is by limiting your showers to just a few minutes.
Not only will you save on the amount of water you use but also on the amount of gas or electricity because you considerably reduce heating times.
Remember that you also have to upgrade your heater. No matter how well that old heater is serving you, chances are it is not so energy efficient, so you have to change it.
Use a Programmable Thermostat
The task of having to turn the heat down and up whenever a temperature change occurs is not something that everyone is willing to do, so why should you?
You can save up on the effort of having to do everything yourself by investing in a smart, programmable thermostat.
By using something like Nest you can easily set it to suit your routine such that it reduces the heat at night or when you are not around. It can also turn it back up in the morning just before you wake up, ensuring that the house is warm when you get out of bed.
Remember that you save up to 1% off your utility bill for every one degree less on your thermostat over eight hours or more.
In the end, the amount you save on utility bills will allow you to pay back the amount you used in buying the thermostat, so it’s just more benefits for you.
Insulate Your Home
People often overlook the benefits of insulating your house on the bills you will get at the end of the month.
The cost of insulation may seem high but if you live in an extremely cold place your wallet will thank you for it, and you will be glad you did it.
There are so many inexpensive options for insulating your home, especially the basement and attic. It prevents any heat from escaping, thus keeping you warmer without using as much power, resulting in significant savings.
In the long run you may have even more to gain: adding insulation can be a tax-deductible home improvement.
It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or expensive. Visit your local home improvement store and check out all the options they offer.
Carefully weigh the pros and cons, along with benefits against price, before you make a decision.
If It Is Not Used Shut It Off
People generally waste a lot of energy during the winter, so in order to save on utility bills, make sure you identify the sources of this waste.
First and foremost, any appliance that you are not using should be turned off and put into storage. That goes for additional devices as well, so check things that you can do without and store them.
Rooms that you are not entirely using in the house shouldn’t be heated. If you have any guest rooms or storage areas that you are not using just shut off the radiator and save on heating.
However, ensure no room in the house can let heat escape. Any rooms you don’t use, keep them locked and sealed off during the winter.
A lot of heat escapes through the chimney so if you are not using your fireplace for an extended period, you should seal it.
There are various ways of doing so without spending too much, such as sealing balloons that provide a temporary yet equally efficient solution.
Buy a Humidifier
You will realize that dry air is often colder than moist air.
That is why you need an excellent humidifier to allow some moisture in the air so that it can remain warmer than before.
Remember that this is an appliance that uses power as well, so it is not necessary that you leave it on for 24 hours every day.
Use it only when it is necessary so that you don’t end up spending more money instead of saving it.
Alternatively, you can use some plants to moisten the air in any room. You will need at least a couple of them for this to have any lasting effect.
Look for Better Rates
The amount of money you pay for your utility bills isn’t set in stone, so you always have the option to look for better rates elsewhere.
If you are sure that you pay a lot more than average for your bills yet you have done all you can to reduce consumption, it is time to get better providers.
If you live in a deregulated state, you have a pretty good chance of getting a provider that is within your budget, so you get the same quality of services for much less.
Services such as uSwitch can actually take care of this for you. All you need to do is sign up, submit your utility bill, and the platform will work out the cheapest deal for you.
Sometimes you can opt to not turn up the heat and instead dress up warmly even inside. The best thing is that there are many options of comfortable clothing to wear and stay warm at the same time.
There is a lot of great lightweight clothing that is especially made for staying indoors during winter, so you don’t have to crank up the heat so much.
You have the option of covering yourself when you are relaxing in the living room area so you can still stay warm without having to sacrifice your comfort.
There are so many thermal clothing options that you could try. Many of them are so much lighter than your everyday clothes while still being pretty comfortable.
Check on Your Kitchen Appliances
If you cook regularly, you will surely use a lot of power in the kitchen, so you have to keep a close eye on your energy consumption habits here.
If you use an electric oven for baking, you should use it much less since it consumes a lot of power.
However, when you use it, leave the door open to allow some of that heat in the room.
A microwave and slow cooker should be your go-to appliances for cooking since they use less power, allowing you to save on your bills.
Also be careful how you use the hood on your stove, since it not only sucks up smells and smoke, it also does the same for heat.
Stop Wasting Power and Save on Utility Bills
When you are not at home set your thermostat to a lower temperature in order to save energy and money.
During the winter, nationwide consumption it typically very high, so it wouldn’t hurt if you reduced your consumption and helped lower your environmental impact in the process.
Keep in mind that every degree counts so don’t leave anything to chance. If you want to save, then you have to make all the necessary changes and some tough choices, but it is worth it.
By following some of our tips, you will be able to stop wasting power and save on utility bills while staying comfortably warm all throughout the winter season.
Have any tips on how to save some cash on utility bills during winter? Share them with us in a comment below!
Logan is a practicing CPA, Certified Student Loan Professional, and founder of Money Done Right, which he launched in July 2017. After spending nearly a decade in the corporate world helping big businesses save money, he launched his blog with the goal of helping everyday Americans earn, save, and invest more money. Learn more about Logan.