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Suggestions for Reducing Your Energy Bill During the Winter
By Haydyn Marina Jackson
Especially in the winter, people are prone to spending a lot of money to heat their homes. Discover how to effectively stay warm this winter without going through the hassle of a high bill.
Lower Your Thermostat
One of the easiest ways to save a significant amount on your energy bill is to lower your thermostat when you’re not at home and at night while you’re sleeping. This can also extend the life of your furnace. Even a few degrees can make a big difference in cost. So, if your thermostat is usually set at 70, try turning it down to 65 while you’re sleeping or out of the house. You could save more money than you might assume.
Keep Your Air Vents Unblocked
Your furnace operates most efficiently when it has a clear path for airflow to circulate air throughout the vents and the house itself. If there are rooms that you don’t use, close off the vents to reduce your energy costs. Otherwise, make sure that the rooms you want heated have accessible and clean vents. Don’t place furniture on top or in front of vents. Also, dust the vents regularly to keep them clear of debris.
Clean Your Furnace and Change the Filter
A dirty furnace is going to work harder than it should. Plus, when your filter needs to be changed, the furnace can’t regulate heat as well and will turn on more frequently. This can quickly increase your energy costs. It’s wise to regularly clean and dust your furnace to keep the system in its best condition. Consider duct cleaning every couple of years to improve air quality and airflow, as well. Most importantly, change your furnace filter every three months or sooner, if needed. A clean furnace filter can make a world of difference in your utility bill and it will keep everyone in your home healthy.
Unplug Electronics You Aren’t Using
Look around your house and take notice of all the electronics or appliances you have plugged in that you’re not currently using. By keeping electronic devices or appliances plugged in when you’re not using them, you’re wasting money. It’s much more cost effective to only plug in the appliances and electronics that you’re using. It might seem like a hassle to constantly plug things in but you’ll be much more appreciative when you realize how much money you ended up saving.
Turn Down Your Water Heater
A lot of people have their water heater temperature set much higher than needed. To save money, you should take use of the suggested setting range that most temperature knobs have. Give the system a few hours to adjust and try it out. You might have to play around with the setting to find what works, but even a slight adjustment in your water heater temperature could mean big savings.
Check Your Refrigerator
Some minor adjustments in your refrigerator can end up saving you a large amount of money. It’s wise to check your refrigerator’s temperature and see if it’s on the right settings. The ideal temperature is between 37°F - 40°F. Also, try and avoid opening your refrigerator for an extended period of time since the appliance will need to spend more energy on replacing the lost air. To save some money, allow any warm foods to cool down before placing them in the refrigerator since it will require the appliance to work a little more in order to keep the refrigerator cold. In addition, you should regularly clean your refrigerator condenser coils so that you can increase its energy usage and ensure it has a long lifespan. Your refrigerator will have to work harder and in turn, use more energy, if it has dirty condenser coils. Likewise, you should regularly check the seals on your refrigerator door to ensure that no cold air is escaping and try to always keep your refrigerator full of food and drinks since a packed refrigerator is able to stay cold easier than an empty one. With these small changes, you’ll realize a big decrease in your energy bill.
Conserve Water When Doing Laundry
To save money on your energy bill it’s smart to wash your clothes with cold water rather than warm. This isn’t going to affect how clean your clothes get and can save you a large amount of money. Also, try to do smaller loads to conserve water and make sure you’re using the best setting for washer. Don’t set the machine for a large load, for example, if there are only a few towels. On the same note, consider turning down the dryer and utilizing the automatic dry feature to avoid wasting heat and electricity. Modern laundry machines have a multitude of energy-saving features worth exploring.
Use Ceiling Fans Accordingly
Have you ever noticed that ceiling fans have multi-directional settings? This is a design implemented for seasonal climates that aids in improving heating or cooling. One setting helps circulate the air upward, which is great for cooling the rooms of your house. The other setting pushes the air down, which will help you warm your house more efficiently. Heat rises, so a ceiling fan will help circulate the warm air throughout the entire house and save your furnace from working too hard.
Insulate, Insulate, Insulate
The majority of money you spend on your energy bill during the winter is related to poor insulation. Most people have leaky windows and cracks in the doors which end up costing them several hundred dollars. To avoid this from happening to you, you should visit your local home improvement store and purchase insulation, weather stripping for doors and windows and even plastic sealing kits that you can use in the winter months to help keep your home warm and avoid air from escaping. For long-term savings consider hiring a professional to come assess the insulation in your walls and add extra protection where it is needed. It’s a small investment that can make a big difference in your consumption. Plus, you will have fewer drafts and hot/cold spots.
Use the Sunlight
The sun is a great free source of light and warmth for your home. Leave your curtains and shades open during sunny days to help keep the house warm without having to turn on the furnace. Sunlight coming in through the windows can provide as much as 5°F -10°F of additional warmth, or more, depending on how much sunlight gets through.
By utilizing these easy and effective strategies you’ll notice a drastic change in your energy bill, specifically during the winter. You can still stay toasty and warm in your home but will no longer need to stress over a very pricey energy bill. You’ll end conserving the amount of energy you use and as a result, save money.
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