As cooler weather settles in throughout much of the country, you may be wondering what kind of dent heating your home this winter will make.
There are some simple, economical ways to keep costs manageable as well as to reduce your overall utility usage whether you’re in an apartment saving for a new home, spending your first winter in a new home or just trying to spend less on utilities this year in general.
Lower The Thermostat
The oldest trick in the book to save on your winter utility costs is to lower your thermostat. Set at 72 degrees, you’ll be hit with a sky-high bill from your furnace running all day. Knock the temperature down to 68 or even a little lower while you sleep and you’ll be paying a lot less next month.
The winter is also a great time to invest in a programmable thermostat. You can set the thermostat to keep it cooler while you’re at work and at night but warm up a bit when you’re around in the evening.
TIP: If your heating bill is drastically higher than it was last year, you should check for breaks in your duct work that lose heat.
Water Heater & Furnace
Water heaters can be a big part of your winter utility bill. To make sure your water heater is running as efficiently as possible, head to your local hardware store and buy a tank insulator.
If your water heater is even warm to the touch you may need to insulate it to ensure it can keep water warm for longer periods of time without using more energy. A good insulator can reduce standby heat loss by 25-45 percent.
Here’s some information on how to install an insulating cover on your water heater.
We’ve all heard of turning the faucet off while we brush our teeth, but there are ways to save water and the energy to heat it that you’ve probably never considered.
When you’re washing the dishes or doing laundry, be sure to fill the washer completely. Doing a small load of laundry or washing the dishes with only half the washer full wastes water and the energy it takes to heat that water.
TIP: Use cold water when washing clothes whenever possible. You’ll be able to use less energy, water and soap.
Clothes dryers use more electricity than most of the appliances in your home. One way to ensure you use less energy when drying clothes is to do all of your laundry at once. Dryers use the most energy while they’re heating up so drying loads of laundry one after the other will keep the dryer warm so it’ll use less energy.
Keep the cold out and the heat in by sealing all of the drafts. If you can feel cold air blowing in through a window be sure to re-caulk all of the seals. If there is a draft coming in under a door you can get a draft guard or simply put a towel at the base of your door.
Space heaters are a great solution for those rooms that never seem to get warm. A 1,500-watt space heater uses about 20 cents of electricity per hour, which is significantly cheaper than turning up the furnace up a few degrees.
These tips can help you spend less money on your utilities and focus on saving up for your next important purchase.