The holiday season is an amazing time of year. There’s more time with family, people are more friendly and the seasonal food is amazing. Sadly, there is one serious downside to the winter holidays.
Your energy bill.
With colder temperatures, your furnace has to work overtime to keep you warm. That can cost you a lot of money!. Luckily, there are a lot of cheap, free and very easy ways to cut down your energy bill this winter.
We’ll walk you through some of the best energy saving tips out there. With each tip is an estimate of how much it costs and how long it takes. Apply these tips and you’ll be able to stay warm and save money this winter…
Let the Sun In
The sun is like a free natural heater. When the sun is out and strong, open your blinds and let it in. Just make sure that you don’t keep your blinds open 24-7. Close them when the sun goes down in order to trap in that heat.
Time: 2 minutes per day
Give Your Furnace a Break at Night
Whenever your heater is off you’re not paying for it. Turn off your heater at night, and pile on blankets to stay warm. It may be harder to get out of bed in the morning, but you’ll save a lot on your energy bill.
Time: A few seconds per day
Turn Down Your Water Heater
Your water doesn’t need to come out of the faucet boiling so, turn it down a bit. Most water heaters are set to 140 degrees in the factory. Change it to 120 degrees and your showers can still be plenty warm, but your energy bill will be smaller. Here’s a video on how to turn down the temperature on your water heater.
Time: 5 minutes
Shrink Wrap Windows
A lot of heat leaves through your windows unless you have highly insulated ones. That heat leaving the windows is wasted money spent on your utilities. Luckily, there’s a cheaper way to insulate your windows than buying new ones.
Cost: About $12.00 for about 150 square feet of windows
Time: About 10 minutes per window
Maintain or Tune Up Your Furnace
Cars and bicycles need maintenance and the occasional tune-up to stay in good working order. So do furnaces. Simply replacing the filters in your furnace can make a significant difference. Consider hiring someone to tune up your furnace if you’re willing to put a bit more money into making sure it is in prime condition.
Cost: About $10 per filter
Cost: About $50 for a tune up
Time: About 5 minutes per filter replacement
Time: About 90 minutes for a tune up
There are more ways to stay warm indoors than cranking up your furnace. Try wearing a jacket inside. It’s really easy to do, and you’ll be able to comfortably turn the heat down by a few degrees.
Also, try experimenting with how much heat you actually need. If you find that you’re okay with a cooler temperature at home, turn the thermostat down and save some money. Turning your thermostat down by just one degree can save you 5% on heating!
Save Hot Water
A lot of energy is used to heat up your water. The less you use, the less you’ll pay. Yes, a long hot shower is really nice in the winter time, but cut it back by a few minutes and your bank account will thank you.
If your family is spread all over the house then you have to heat the whole house. Spend an evening together in one room and don’t heat the rest of the house. If you live alone, this idea works just as well. You don’t need to heat the areas of the house where you don’t spend much time throughout the day.
Electric lights are a big drain on electricity in the home. Turn them off for the evening and have a candlelight dinner. They save on electricity, they create a bit of heat, and they’re fun with the family, or romantic with your partner.
Cost: Less than $5.00
Kill the Lights
While we’re on the topic of lights, turn them off! Get in the habit of turning off lights, fans, and vents whenever you don’t need them. It’s easy to leave them on for hours and hours if you forget. This wastes precious power and money. Once you’re in the habit of turning off lights, it’s really easy to remember, and you’ll notice a difference in your energy bill.
Give Your Air Vents Some Space
Make sure that the hot air coming out of your air vents can get around the house. If they’re covered or blocked, the furnace will have to work a lot harder to keep your home at the temperature you want. Clear some space around your vents so that you’re actually getting what you pay for.
There’s no point heating the house while you’re not there. So take your family outside and do something fun! There are endless ways to have fun with your family if there is snow on the ground. If not, safely build a fire and cook some smores!
Now that you have some great tips on how to cut your utility bill during the winter, there are also lots of other ways to spend less than you are spending now. Check out our article, How to Not Spend Money: Combating Overspending Habits, for more ideas on keeping costs low and saving money.