Heating your home during the winter months can get very expensive. Sometimes it feels like there’s no way to keep prices down without turning your home into a walk-in refrigerator. In reality, you don’t need to suffer to keep your energy bills from skyrocketing. Saving on your energy bills in the winter takes a little bit of preparation, but your goals can easily be attained. So before taking any extreme measures, here are six simple ways to stay warm without breaking your budget.
1. Dress for the season: In the summer, would you wear a coat only to blast the air conditioner? By wearing seasonally appropriate indoor attire and keeping out a few extra blankets, you’ll be able to comfortably lower your thermostat a couple degrees, which can result in significant savings over the course of the winter.
2. Ditch the space heater: Space heaters can be convenient and effective in closed quarters but they are not ideal for heating a large room, let alone your entire home. At their worst, misused space heaters are a potential fire hazard. Yes, the warm air produced by space heaters feels nice when it’s blowing directly on you, but there are much more efficient ways to stay warm.
3. Take care of your water heater: By lowering the temperature of your hot water heater to 120 degrees, you can save 6-10 percent in heating costs and your showers will still be comfortably hot. Additionally, insulating your hot water tank helps prevent heat loss. Most water heater jackets cost about $20, and will pay for themselves in about a year.
4. Seal doors and windows: Sealing drafty parts of your house will reduce your home’s heating and cooling costs. Weather stripping is ideal for movable parts such as windows and doors, while caulk can be used for anything that doesn’t need to open and close, such as a door frame.
5. Shop for a new energy plan: If you live in a state with deregulated electricity or natural gas markets, shopping for a new energy plan with a cheaper rate is an easy way to lower your monthly bills. Deregulation gives residents the power to choose from a number of retail energy providers, letting them shop based on factors such as contract length, price security and green energy.
6. Adjust the temperature: If you follow some of the previously listed suggestions, you’ll be able to comfortably lower your thermostat a few degrees. But the largest opportunity to save comes from lowering your thermostat when your home is empty. By turning your thermostat down 10 to 15 degrees for 8 hours per day, you can save 5-15 percent a year on your heating bills. To reduce the risk of having your pipes freeze, don’t let your home get below 50 degrees.
Many of these suggestions have little upfront cost, and all can result in immediate savings on your monthly bills. This year, take advantage of some of these tips to stay warm and reduce your spending.
Do you have any tips that have saved you money?