This past week as marked a turning point in the South with temperatures noticeably dropping and long sleeves and pants making their comeback out of the depths of our closets. I routinely see my electric bill almost double during the winter while I switch on my home’s electric heating unit. Electricity costs can eat up a substantial portion of your monthly budget if you are not careful. Households that use heating oil and gas do not fair much better either. In fact the average home using heating oil spends over $320 per month and gas users pay over $160 each month according to Money magazine.
But, there are ways that you can curb the cost of electricity, lower your heating costs, and save on your electric bill this winter. Below are ten easy and simple ways to keep the drafts out of your home and your wallet this winter while you save on your electric bill.
1. Add Weather Stripping To Your Doors
If you can slip a sheet of paper under your door frame or between the frame and the door itself, then the gap is too wide and you are losing precious warm air to the outside elements. You are essentially trying to heat the whole neighborhood like our parents always complained about when we were growing up. One way to solve this problem is by installing door sweeps and weather stripping that can block the draft and keep your warm air inside.
2. Insolate Your Attic
One of the biggest places that you lose the battle of hot air escaping from your home is where you enter your attic. Those little doors and drop down stairs are horrible energy wasters. One of the best ways that you can save on your electric bill and fix the problem is by installing an attic tent that securely fits over the hatch, and you can zip and unzip it to enter your attic when needed.
3. Free Home Energy Audits
Many electricity companies offer home energy audits that can help you locate where some of your heat is escaping your house and raising your electricity bill. Some electricity companies offer an online version of the audit, and others even come out to conduct a comprehensive in-home version. If you make big upgrades to your home, many states offer incentives for those improvements that can save you almost 75% or more of the upgrades.
4. Replace Your Most Used Light Bulbs With CFLs
This is a simple tip that you constantly hear from frugality experts. But, replacing even just the light bulbs of your two or three most used lights in your house with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) and help you to see a drop in your electric bill by $40 per light bulb over the course of its lifetime. CFLs use 75% less power than a standard light bulb and last up to six times longer too. While these bulbs are expensive, you don’t have to replace all the bulbs in your house. For example, when was the last time you turned on the lights in your formal living room? You can save on your electric bill by adding these innovative lights.
5. Purchase An Programmable Thermostat
Have you ever wondered why you fully heat your house while you are at work or while you are on vacation? If you had an automatic programmable thermostat installed in your home, you could set it to increase the temperature right before you got home from work in the winter and to decrease it right after you left in the morning. You can set it to do the opposite in the summer of course too which will help you save on your electric bill.
6. Monitor Your Energy Usage With Gadgets
Do you know how much energy you use by leaving your computer in standby mode? Have you ever wondered how much it actually costs you when your children leave their bedroom lights on while they are at school? You can find out the cost of all your energy usage with devices such as the “Kill A Watt” Electricity Usage Monitor that plugs into your electric box or even small gadgets that plug right into your walls and appliances. You can purchase Electricity Usage Monitors like this one for as little as $25 on Amazon. Knowing exactly how much something costs to run or leave on will make you think twice about leaving it running in the background or while you are away.
7. Wash Your Clothes In Cold Water
Heating water accounts for a large percentage of your energy usage. Switching from washing your clothes in hot water to cold water can save you over 40 cents per load. If you wash as many clothes as my family of four, then that can add up to some real savings over the course of a year that you save on your electric bill.
8. Turn Down Your Water Heater’s Temperature
Having an efficient Energy Star rated water heater can save you up to $300 on your electricity bill each year. Turning down the temperature on your water heater can also be an easy way to save you money on your electricity costs. Most hot water heater’s thermostats are set to 140 degrees. Most experts recommend that you turn your water heater’s thermostat down to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
9. Check The Area Around Your Dryer Vent
My wife and I bought a new home that barely had anything other than a gaping hole in the wall where the dryer vent went out of the wall to the backyard. A cheap collar around the opening and the pipe was an easy fix to block the hot air of the house from escaping with our dryer lent into the yard.
10. Smooth Out Your Monthly Electric Bill
Most electricity companies allow you to smooth out your bill after they have twelve months of usage data built up on you and your family. While this will not exactly save you money, per se, it will help you budget your money better because each monthly payment will be the same. Some months you will pay more than the electricity that you are actually using, but in the summer and winter months when your usage is high, you will still be paying the same amount for your electricity. Your company probably has this program, but it may be called a fancy name. It is well worth investigating this option.
Did I miss any? What’s your favorite way to save money on electricity either in the winter or even all year around? Let me know in the comment section below.
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