How to Reduce your Utility Bills this WinterJanuary 12, 2018
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We recently got out of a deep freeze here in the Northeast. With temps in the single digits for weeks, we had the heater going all day and all night. However, utility bills do not have to skyrocket when the weather gets frigid. With the right tips & tricks, it’s possible to keep those heating bills under control all winter long.
How to Reduce your Utility Bills this Winter
1. Use the sun to your advantage!
During the winter, we leave our curtains open all day long, especially on south-facing windows. This brings free heat into the home via the sun. You’d be surprised what a difference this can make on a home’s heating bills. However, once the sun sets, be sure to close the curtains to prevent heat loss to the outside.
2. Only heat the rooms you use!
We have an HVAC system with only one zone, but we spend most of our time in the main living areas of the home. We rarely go into certain areas of the house during the winter, so we like to close the vents that serve those rooms. If you have a guest room or other large storage area that doesn’t get much traffic, close and/or seal the vents in these rooms for better energy efficiency. This is a nifty gadget to make it easy to seal off unneeded vents.
*Tip: Another tip is to use a space heater in the room(s), in which you spend the most time. This way, you can adjust the thermostat temps lower for the whole house, thereby saving even more money. Be sure that any rooms containing water pipes are kept at a high enough temp to avoid freezing.
3. Get regular maintenance on the furnace!
The furnace is one of the most expensive, hardest-working appliances in the home. During the winter, it is imperative (for everyone’s safety & health) that the furnace remain reliable throughout the season. Most HVAC companies offer a tune-up service twice per year (before summer & before winter) to ensure that all systems are running at peak efficiency. If your furnace is not working correctly, be sure to obtain furnace repair longmont services before the brunt of winter! You don’t want to find yourself without a working furnace when the ambient temps are in the teens!
*Tip: Be sure your furnace filter is replaced according to the manufacturer’s recommended schedule. Also, be sure your HVAC vents are cleaned professionally once every year so heat can travel through your home easily.
4. Get a smart thermostat!
We got a smart thermostat a few years ago and never have to think about setting our temps again- this is the one we have. For example, if you’re going to be out of the house during the day, be sure to program your thermostat to adjust for an empty house. If you get home at the same time every day, program your thermostat to begin making the home comfortable 30 minutes before you typically arrive. Our smart thermostat – this one – is synced to my smart phone. What does this mean? When I exit a certain radius (5 miles) from my home, it automatically goes into “Away” mode. Once I re-enter this radius, the thermostat goes back into “Home” mode. I love that it’s all done automatically for me.
5. Do a nightly energy sweep!
Who hasn’t left a TV on all night? Or maybe those lights? To save some money on your utility bills, make sure all your non-essential devices are turned off before going to bed. It may be a nuisance but it’s well worth the cost savings. You can even get a little gadget like this one to streamline this step. You can even program all of your non-essential devices to automatically turn off at a certain time.
6. Set your water heater to 120 degrees!
Setting the water heater temp too high can result in scalding temperatures. This is a concern especially in home with young children. Set the water temperature to 120 degrees to keep the water from getting too hot & to enjoy some cost savings. Don’t worry – you can still enjoy a hot bath!
7. Ensure that your utility meter & bill match!
Utility workers that come to read your electric (or other utility) meter can (and sometimes do) make a mistake. Be sure to check your meter at the end of each month to ensure that the bill and the meter match up. In fact, I once found a significant discrepancy between the two and called my electric company. After sending a photo of the electric meter to the company, they quickly adjusted my bill and I saved quite a bit of money that month.
I hope these tips have inspired you to find ways to save on your home heating & utility bills this winter. Now I’d love to hear from you. Do you follow any of these suggestions? What is your best tip to save money on utility bills during the winter?