18 Ways to Reduce Your Utility Bills this Winter
Every year, it’s delightful to cozy up in front of the fireplace with some marshmallow-filled hot chocolate and your loved ones. Of course, it’s not fun when you have to crank the heat up to make your home more comfortable for your elderly aunt when she comes to visit. Especially when you get the electricity bill at the end of the month!
While putting on extra layers or lighting up your fireplace are options that first come to mind, there are plenty of other ways to keep your home warm. There’s no need to wear your puffy winter jacket inside the house to cut down on costs.
Across the country, utility bills go up during the winter. We turn the heat up, take more hot baths, and snuggle under our electric blankets. As a result, our heating systems work much harder to keep our homes safe from bone-chilling temperatures:
So, without further ado, here are a couple of things you can do to lower your electricity bill throughout the cold season. The list below details every tiny detail you can cover for significant savings this winter season.
18 Ways to Save on Electricity Bill During the Winter
These tips won’t apply to all homes, but they can certainly apply to most households. I suggest that you do as many of these tips as you can—the more you apply, the smaller your electricity bill will be!
One other thing to note is if you’re a tenant renting a place, ask permission from your landlord first before making any drastic changes, like installing insulation.
Upgrade Your Thermostat: Use a smart thermostat system to program energy-saving modes for peak energy efficiency. You can input a schedule that automatically adjusts the temperature according to your needs even when you’re away at work or sleeping soundly.
Once again, we recommend running this by your landlord first, since it does involve modifying your property. If they agree, when by all means go for it! Just be sure to clarify who is paying for the costs, since they may want you to take it with you if you leave (and pay to put the house right again).
Lower Your Thermostat: Should you not be able to change the thermostat to a smart one, this is still an option. When you turn down the heater by a few degrees, it’ll save you a lot of money. The US Department of Energy said cutting back 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours a day reduces your heating bill by around 10%.
Check Your Filters: Ensure that your HVAC system is working efficiently. Check its filters, and don’t forget to have it inspected regularly. Your HVAC works extra hard because of the cold temperatures, and you don’t want it to use more electricity than needed.
Keep Air Vents Clear: Your air vents should be working at optimum efficiency, which means nothing should be blocking their way to circulate warm air. Have you ever tried to inhale with a stuffy nose? You don’t want that to happen with your air vents.
Humidify Indoor Air: The air inside your home tends to be drier in the winter. So, to combat this, science says humid air brings back moisture, holds heat better, and warms you up. Investing in a humidifier can help your home feel warmer even at lower temperatures (and lower utility costs).
Keep Unused Rooms Cold: It’s as simple as not heating rooms where nobody is staying. If you spend most of your time in the kitchen and the living room, focus only on heating those parts of the home. Doing so also allows you to close and seal vents in the rooms you don’t use as often, like a garage or workshop.
Use Space Heaters for Small Spaces: If you need heat only for a short while (and in a smaller space), consider using portable electric heaters. It has no heat loss through air ducts or combustion, and it efficiently heats a bathroom or tool shed. Once done, don’t forget to turn it off, since they are a fire hazard if left unattended.
Check Your Insulation: Make sure precious heat isn’t escaping anywhere—especially from your attic. Proper floor insulation on the highest floor of your house prevents warm air from floating out of your home.
Again, run this by your landlord first, since you likely don’t have access yourself. If renovations are in order, then make sure you have another place to stay if necessary.
Install Temporary Insulation: If you can’t install permanent insulation, opt for temporary window insulation and use insulated curtains. Seal the window frames with a clear plastic film and close the curtains at night to trap the heat collected from the daylight. When spring comes, just remove the films and keep the curtains pulled back.
Seal All Air Leaks: In the same idea, seal all the windows, doors, electrical outlets, light fixtures, AC units, and any gaps in your insulation with caulk and weather stripping. The smallest of holes can allow winter airs to sneak into your home and reverse all the heat you’ve built up inside.
Conserve Energy in Doing Laundry: Your washer and dryer use a lot of energy—and your clothes don’t need hot water to be cleaned. Instead, keep your usage of their heat elements to a minimum by using cold water and hanging your clothes to dry.
Adjust the Water Heater: As we mentioned earlier, a few degrees lower won’t give you freezing cold showers. Keep your heater to the recommended temperature of 120ºF. Not only will you save some money on heating, but you’ll also save yourself from getting scalded.
Insulate the Water Tank and Pipes: If you love your warm showers, then we suggest you cover your water heater tank and pipes with a thermal insulating jacket. This makes a huge difference if your systems are in an unheated area (e.g., the attic, garage, or basement).
Keep Yourself Warm: While this may be a no-brainer, you can certainly wear more layers of clothing even when relaxing at home. Get into a cozy sweater, grab some thick socks, and curl up under a blanket when watching Netflix. Drinking hot liquids can also raise your body temperature if it’s a bit chilly. This is a great option if you live in a basement and your landlord controls the thermostat.
Rotate Your Ceiling Fans Clockwise: You may have read this tip in our other article, where we taught you how to use your ceiling fan to push away warm air during the summer. Well, the reverse idea applies in the winter. Rotate your ceiling fans clockwise, so you create an updraft that pulls down all the warm air stuck in your ceiling.
Close the Chimney Damper: Fireplaces are great at keeping us toasty and warm; however, they are also large gaping holes for chilly winds to enter when not in use. Ensure that the damper is closed tight so cold air doesn’t enter and warm air doesn’t escape.
Use LED Lights for Holiday Decorations: Regardless of how many decorations you put up, Christmas tree lights can cause your bill to skyrocket after a whole season of lighting up your house. Instead, opt for LED lights that use 75% less energy than incandescent lights and last 25 times longer.
Take Advantage of Residual Oven Heat: Leave the oven door open after cooking up a batch of gingerbread cookies and apple pie! Instead of wasting the excess heat and letting it dissipate, let some of that warm goodness seep into your kitchen and dining area. It’s a great and simple way to put the leftover heat to good use while you cool down the oven.
And that’s it! These are 18 easy steps to turn your chilly house into a warm, cozy home this winter without eating into your holiday budget. Go spend that extra money on more important things, like maybe a short family trip to make some lasting memories.
Any other tips we’ve missed on cutting down utility costs during the winter? Comment your pro tip below.