With lower temperatures comes higher heating bills. As it gets colder, setting the thermostat higher will make your furnace run longer and in the end it will use more energy and won’t actually get you warmer faster. Here are a few tips that will help your pocketbook during this cold weather season:
Bundle up in layers
While this may sound like your mother speaking to you, wearing layers can help you set your thermostat to a lower temperature and still feel comfortable. Just like you dress for success, dress appropriately for the weather conditions. Put the summer shorts away. Put a warm hat on. Wear socks around the house. If your feet are cold then your whole body may feel cold. Slowly acclimate your body to a lower temperature. You can do it one degree at a time if needed. Try to aim for 68 degrees. When you are going to bed or leaving the home you can lower the temperature another 10 degrees to help reduce energy usage.
Cold Weather Home
Just like you need appropriate clothing in winter, you can do the same for your home. Place warm blankets on your sofa to use. Put flannel sheets and comforters on your bed. Add rugs to your floors. Walk through your home and move any furniture or items away from heating vents that could be blocking the heated air.
Hot Inside Out
Drink hot drinks like tea, cocoa or coffee to warm you up from the inside.
If you need to use a space heater, make sure to use them safely and as sparingly as possible. Use them just enough to warm up the air and then shut them off. Never leave a space heater on if you are not in the room. Make sure the one you have has an automatic shut off sensor incase it gets tipped over.
You can also cut costs by lowering the water heater thermostat. You can lower it to 120 degrees, for example, and still be comfortable. See what temperature you are comfortable with.
If you have a fireplace make sure the damper is shut and that there are tempered glass doors in place to minimize heat loss and use a heat-air exhange system. If you have a fireplace that you don’t use at all, plug and seal the chimney flue.
Keep fans such as bathroom and kitchen ventilation fans off when not needed. Since warm air rises you will want to run your ceiling fan in reverse to help push the warm air back down to floor level.
Install thermal curtains over your windows. Keep your curtains open during the day to allow the sunshine to help warm your home. Go ahead and shut your window curtains or blinds once it gets dark. Keeping the windows covered will help keep cold air out.
Check For Leaks
Check your home for leaks near windows, doors and light fixtures. Install caulking or weather stripping as needed.
I know what you’re thinking, “What do phantoms have to do with my electric bill? Halloween is over.” Well, there are phantoms in your home and you need to take care of them. We are talking about energy phantoms. Did you know that your home electronics are consuming 75% of your total used energy, when they are turned off? These “phantoms” include your kitchen appliances, televisions, stereos, computers and more. Anything that holds a time or maintains its settings is a phantom item. One way to curb that is to plug them into a power strip and then shut off the power strip when you are done with them.
Have your maintenance performed for your heating unit. Make sure your unit is working at 100% of it’s capability. A regular check-up is necessary. Sometimes one little repair can save you a lot of money over time. Check and change the filters regularly once they become dirty.
Check how much insulation your home has. We’re in the Department of Energy’s zone 5. Their recommendations are the following for our area by clicking here. You can tailor insulation recommendations to your home using the Home Energy Saver Tool.
The holidays are here and so are holiday lights! If you are decorating your home for the winter holidays use LED (light-emitting diode) lights to help reduce energy use.
Hopefully we’ve given you a few items that you can implement into your winter weather routine to help you lower your bill. Make sure to stay warm and safe this winter season!
Have any other tips to share? We’d love to hear them! As always, thanks for reading and we welcome any additional information or comments you may have.
1920 N. Pittsburgh St., Suite A
Kennewick, WA 99336