The height of winter are the times of the year when you can expect to see an upswing in your energy bill, but we’ve got a few simple tips to rein in that extra cost this winter. Below are some tips to lower your energy bill this winter and keep more green in your pocket.
Schedule Your Heating Inspection Early
Whether you have a furnace or a heat pump, make sure you get your winter inspection before the cold weather sets in. Your friendly heating expert will clean your furnace, adjust loose belts and make sure everything’s operating efficiently. For a heat pump, coolant levels will be checked, fan blades cleaned and electrical connections checked. A thorough inspection also includes checking your home’s ductwork for leaks and making sure vents are open.
Check Your Appliances for Efficiency
Most electric companies will provide a free energy-efficiency inspection of your home. One of the tips often given to homeowners is to replace old, energy-guzzling appliances with newer models that use less electricity. Most people can’t afford to replace all their appliances at one time, so look for sales throughout the year and make it a project. Replacing a dated appliance with a new, energy-sipping hot water heater, stove, fridge or dishwasher will have a positive effect on your monthly energy bill.
Lower Your Thermostat
This is standard advice for anyone wanting to spend less on heating costs during the winter, but just lowering the number on the thermostat isn’t the whole picture. Since the house will be chilly, make sure you wear socks and slippers and a warm sweater around the house. People tend to get cold when sitting still for a period of time, so place soft, fuzzy throw blankets in the den, office or anywhere family members or guests might hang out. Using a programmable thermostat that automatically lowers the temperature can lead to even more savings.
Cultivate Green Laundry Habits
Laundry comes out just as clean and fresh when you use the cold water cycle, and it can make a noticeable difference in your energy consumption this winter. Don’t overload the washer or dryer, and they’ll work more energy-efficiently. Also, find out if your local electric or gas company has different rates for peak usage times. It can often lower your bill if you do the laundry at night instead of during the day or on the weekends.
Save With LED Light Bulbs
During the short days of winter, you’ll be turning on the lights earlier, and the most energy-efficient light bulbs will save you money. The compact fluorescent light (CFL) was the first step in energy savings over old-school incandescent bulbs. They give off less heat, last a lot longer and use less energy. Now, light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs last longer and use even less energy. You’ll see a change in your power bill if you replace all the bulbs in your house with LEDs. As a bonus, LEDs are made without toxic materials and they brighten instantly, unlike CFLs.