With winter coming across the country, it’s not too late to look for ways to save on your bills. Heat and electric bills can be a real burden during the winter months, especially if you live in an area where winters are long and cold.
Here are seven ways to save on your bills this winter. Try just a few and see if it will make a difference in how much you’re paying.
1. Turn Down the Thermostat
If you normally keep your thermostat set at 70 or 72 degrees, try turning it down to 60 or 62 degrees at night and when no one is home.
Though that may be too extreme during the times when you are at home, you might still be able to keep it at 68 and be comfortable.
By keeping your heat low at least much of the day, you can save 10% or more on your heating bill. If your bill is normally around $200 per month during the winter months, you can save at least $100 over the course of five months.
One word of caution – avoid the temptation to turn off your system entirely, such as when you’re away for the holidays. Keep your system on but with a lower thermostat setting to avoid your water pipes from freezing. The last thing you want to discover after a week away from home is that your pipes froze!
2. Wear Warmer Clothing, and Put an Extra Blanket on the Beds
This strategy is the “B Side” of lowering your thermostat. If you keep your heat lower than you normally would, you’ll have to make up for it some how. The easiest and least expensive way to do that is by wearing warmer clothing.
This may mean giving up polo shirts for flannels, or even adding a few sweaters to your wardrobe. And a good pair of thick socks can go a long way toward keeping the rest of your body warm, especially if your house is built on a slab or an unheated basement, and doesn’t have carpeting.
At night, when you’re heat will be even lower, put an extra blanket or two on each of the beds. Even though the house isn’t toasty warm, you can still be quite comfortable just by putting in extra blanket on the bed.
3. Don’t Heat Rooms You Don’t Use
Most people spend the great majority of time in only two or three rooms at any given time. At night, this clearly is the bedrooms. During the day, you may spend most of your time in the kitchen, living room, and dining room. The point is, at virtually every time of the day, you always have unused rooms in the house.
You can save on heat by closing the heating ducts in the rooms that you’re not in. Naturally you will want to be careful doing this if one of those rooms is where the thermostat is located. You should also be careful doing it in any room where the exterior walls might contain plumbing, as the pipes can freeze.
4. Go Easy on Your Gas Fireplace – If You Have One
Gas fireplaces have become quite popular over the years. After all, they are cleaner and a lot more convenient than burning actual wood or manufactured logs. But gas fireplaces are also energy burners, and they can add significantly to your heating bills.
What makes it worse is that such fireplaces typically consume a disproportionate amount of fuel for the amount of heat that they give off (which is often very little). They’re mostly for show.
5. Change Your Furnace Filter Regularly
This is one of the cheapest, easiest ways to save on your heating bill if you have a heat pump – and also one of the most overlooked.
If your filter is clogged, airflow will be restricted, and your furnace will need to work a lot harder in order to get your home up to the desired temperature level.
Plan to change the filter once a month, that way the airflow will improve, and your furnace won’t need to consume so much energy.
6. Remember Your Ceiling Fans!
If you have ceiling fans in your home, you can use them to help heat your home in the winter, in much the same way that they are used to cool the home in summer. All you do is reverse the direction the blades spin.
Hot air rises and you can use ceiling fans to push the warm air down, rather than letting it escape up to the ceiling. Reverse your ceiling fans so that they blow upwards and push the air down.
This will ensure that you will have warm air in the spaces of your home where you live, rather than hovering around the ceiling where it serves no useful purpose. This works well in all situations, even if the ceilings aren’t particularly high.
If you don’t believe me, get a ladder and climb up there… it’s a big difference in temperature!
7. Check If You Have a Choice in Electric Suppliers
Check to see if you have a choice in electric suppliers. Many areas of the country have made it possible for you to shop around for suppliers and many of them offer promotions to try to win your business. You may have such a choice, but never paid much attention to it under the assumption that all suppliers will charge the same rates.
But that isn’t always true, and you owe it to yourself to investigate all of the alternatives. Even if one supplier turns out to be 10% cheaper than the one you have right now, you can save a small fortune on your utility bills over a decade or more. Many also let you lock in rates, which adds stability to your budget.
Try to use as many of these seven strategies as you can to save on your bills this winter!