Keep your home warm and cozy without worrying about your energy bills!
As the cold months approach, most households in the U.S. will be using heaters to keep homes warm, and having hot water for baths or showers will be a necessity. For this reason, it’s expected that energy costs are higher during these times of the year.
Although it’s a given that you’ll spend a little extra on electricity, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that homeowners will face higher than usual bills on energy this winter.
In October this year, the EIA warned households that use natural gas for heating to anticipate paying as much as 50% more on energy bills than what they spent last year. This is due to the expected surge in fuel prices in the U.S. over winter. For homes that use electricity for their heating source, the EIA estimates a 6% increase in their bills.
Unfortunately, the winter forecast for 2021-22 is that it will be slightly colder than last year. That means that more people will be using more fuel or electricity to keep warm and will be paying more for it.
Did you know that HVACs use the most energy (46% of a home’s energy consumption) than any other home appliance or system?
Fortunately, there are ways that can help make your home more energy-efficient.
Here are our 10 tips to save on your energy costs in the cold months:
1. Heat your home naturally – How can you keep your home warm in the daytime for free? You guessed that right, the sun! Open your curtains, especially on your windows facing south, and let the sunshine in. This will help you save some money on heating and will also provide you with a beautiful winter backdrop.
At nighttime, however, remember to draw the curtains again to prevent heat from escaping your windows. It will help if you use insulated drapes for better energy efficiency in your home.
2. Consider replacing your windows – Although a home window replacement could be a big investment, it could actually pay for itself in the long run in terms of energy savings and increased curb appeal. If you have old, drafty windows, you can lose at least 30% of the heat created by your HVAC or heater. That means a huge chunk of the money you pay on your energy bill only goes to waste.
3. Caulk windows and doors – An inexpensive way to minimize drafts and air leaks in your home is by caulking or weatherstripping. Go around your home, check all windows and doors and caulk them using sealants. Apply a weatherstrip on moving parts, like a window sash or on the bottom of the door. These sealants and weatherstrips are cheap and are easily available in home improvement stores.
4. Minimize using exhaust fans – Ever realized that using oven hoods or exhaust fans often means the heat from your system is being sucked out? You may have sealed your windows and doors, but if you don’t turn off the exhausts when they’re not in use, warm air is still escaping your home. Use your exhausts only when needed to save on your energy costs.
5. Upgrade to a smart thermostat – Another investment that you can consider is upgrading to a programmable thermostat. With a smart thermostat you can save up to 12% of your heating expenses and 15% on your cooling costs (according to a study done by Nest). Those savings translate to up to $200 average savings each year.
When you switch to a smarter thermostat, you can program your heating or cooling system to operate less when you’re not around and schedule it to run optimally when you’re at home. Another benefit is that you can track your energy use with a digital thermostat so you can adjust accordingly to decrease your energy expenses.
Note: Smart thermostats require a continuous power supply, and if you don’t have a C-wire available, you will need the help of an experienced electrician to help you install your new smart device properly.
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6. Switch to LED lights – If you haven’t done so, this is the perfect time to switch your old lights to the more energy-efficient LED. Did you know that an LED light bulb uses only 25% of the energy used to light an incandescent bulb? Imagine how much savings you can get when you switch all your traditional lights at home!
If you’re decorating for the holidays, choose LED holiday lights instead as they will cut your energy costs and are safer to use than the traditional ones.
Read our electrical safety tips for the holidays here
7. Use space heaters – If you don’t need to heat up the whole house because you’re only staying in one room for most of the time, switch off your central heating and use a space heater instead. Just remember to close the door and windows in the room so that your space heater will run efficiently.
Also, remember to operate a space heater in an area that is clear of any combustible items. It should also be only used for a short period and do not run them when you’re asleep as they are the leading cause of electrical home fires.
8. Invest in insulation – Another home improvement project that’s worth the investment it’s insulating your home. If you have a deteriorating roof that doesn’t have proper insulation, you’re actually losing 25% of the air created by your heater. If you have the budget, consider getting proper insulation for your roof, walls, and even under your floorboards to make your home more energy-efficient and cut your costs on your electric bills.
Consider insulating your pipes, too, as this helps minimize heat loss when hot water passes through your plumbing. Plus, you can set your hot water tank to a lower temperature, which also helps you conserve energy.
9. Schedule an HVAC system maintenance – If you have an HVAC, make sure to have it regularly maintained (we recommend twice a year) by a qualified HVAC service company to ensure its optimum performance. You can save from 5% and up to 40% on your heating costs when your system is in top shape versus a heater that is poorly maintained.
10. Remember to switch off – Probably one of the most basic things you can practice at home (not only in winter but throughout the year), is to switch off appliances when not in use. Even if a device is on standby mode, as long as it’s plugged into your electrical system, it continues to draw energy. These are what you call “vampires” that unnecessarily add to your electrical bill.
So there you have it! We hope our tips can somehow ease the burden and help you save on your energy costs this winter.