Dreaming of a white Christmas, but having nightmares about the energy bills that come along with the colder weather? Many Americans feel overwhelmed by their utility costs each winter. However, there are easy ways to reduce the impact when the temperature drops.
Taking some time to weatherproof your home and upgrade appliances can result in significant savings this winter. And making a few small lifestyle changes can help both the environment and your bank balance! Here are 5 helpful tips for reducing your utility bills this season.
Not all doors and windows are used in the winter, so plastic up the windows and doors that are going to go unused. There are window kits for sale for a very reasonable price (around $10 for a 5-window insulation kit). These can help to eliminate drafts to keep in the heat. Go a step further in your savings by doing it yourself: Hang blankets to help insulate, spray foam any frame gaps or find your 90’s snake door-draft stopper from the attic! Talking of attics, cover up the attic entry with plastic, pieces of insulation, old blankets or even a few old shirts. Any of it will help to slow, if not, stop, the drafts and warm air from floating away through your roof.
2. Time Your Heating
Are you and your family out of the house most the day? Do you have any holiday trips planned? What about the 6-9 hours everyone is asleep? Adjusting your thermostat to a lower temp when everyone is away from the home is a simple yet great idea to save money. You can adjust the thermostat manually for free, but if you want to spend a few bucks a programmable thermostat is a great investment.
3. Bundle Up
How many times have you/your family complained about being cold whilst walking around in a vest and shorts? Bundling up is one of the easiest ways to save on your heating bill. Instead of turning the heat up, put on a cozy winter sweater and warm socks. Keep throw blankets on your couch, and add an area rug to insulate the floor.
4. Get User-Efficient with your Appliances
There are little tricks to utilizing your appliances to the fullest: Dry two or more loads of laundry in a row to take advantage of an already warm dryer, fill your dishwasher to the max before turning it on, invest in a low-flow shower head (which requires less water and, by extension, needs less heat to warm the water), and leave the oven door open after cooking to heat the room further. Though not classified as an appliance, cleaning your furnace filter every two months can increase its efficiency by 50 percent!
5. Go Green
While all the above tips will inevitably help the environment, there’s always more you can do. Going Eco-friendly not only saves the planet, but will shave money off your bills in the short and long-run. Try:
- Taking shorter showers
- Switching your light bulbs to LED
- Unplugging your appliances when they’re not in use
While these actions won’t save you thousands, they will help you to save as much as possible with what you have this winter. It will take a little change in your habits before you start saving money on your bills, but it will be worth the effort when you save some money.
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