How To Lower Your Electric Bill
Are you tired of dealing with such energy bills in the winter? With the colder weather here, you’re staying indoors more, and keeping the furnace going to warm your home up. The problem with this is it drives your electric bill up. You can work to keep those costs down, and still stay warm and toasty no matter what. Here are some of the best tried and tested tips to help you pay less for your electric bills.
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Why Do Bills Go Up In The Winter?
Anyone trying to save costs in the household will wonder ‘why my electric bill is so high?’ in the winter. There’s several reasons why that bill creeps up when the weather gets colder.
You’re using more heating: This is the most obvious answer, but it does bear out. As the temperatures drop, you’ll need to warm your house up more and more. If your house is getting colder, you want to put the heating on to make it toasty warm again.
You’re indoors more: It’s cold outside, you’re not going to want to head out into the snow and rain to do anything. Why would you do that if it’s lovely and warm inside? The best thing to do is to stay home and stay warm. When you do this though, you’ll see that you’re using more power because you’re using your TV, gaming systems, laptops, and so on more often.
You’re putting up energy using decorations: During the winter, you’re celebrating any number of holidays. With many of those holidays comes lighting and decorations to dress up your home. Of course, these are using power when you have them up. The costs only go up, the more lighting and decorations you have.
DIY Money Saving Tips
Before you do anything technical or involved, you can try these easy tips to try and save on the electric bill this winter. Even if you try one or two of them out, you’ll see that they make a world of difference.
Turn down the thermostat: Firstly, try turning down your thermostat. Don’t worry, you don’t need to knock it all the way down in order to save money. Even if you turn it down by a single degree, you’ll see the savings in your bills. Try turning it down by one degree first, and see if you notice the difference. Turn it down again, and keep doing it until you reach a comfortable temperature. It’s amazing just how low you can get the thermostat before you need to turn it back up again.
Pile on the blankets: Staying warm without your heater isn’t as hard as it looks. All you need to do is buy a few blankets to snuggle under, and you’re ready to go. This is perfect for when you’re simply looking to hang out on the sofa watching TV, or get lost in a good book. Wrapping yourself up in a blanket will keep you toasty and warm, without having to use more electricity to do so.
Change out your light bulbs: At this time of year it gets darker a lot earlier, and so you’re turning on the lights more often. Obviously this uses more electricity, but what you can do? You can make a simple swap by changing your light bulbs. Swap your existing bulbs to LED lights, and you’ll soon see a difference. They’re 75% more efficient than regular bulbs, and last 25 times longer. Remember to turn off lights when you leave a room to save more money, too.
Change up the way you do laundry: Doing laundry in the winter costs more in terms of electricity, as you’re using hot water and your dryer to dry your clothes. You can make changes here to save on electricity, though. Firstly, always ensure that you’re washing full loads, to cut down on the amount of washing cycles you go through. Turn down the temperature of the water, as many clothes are easily washed in colder water. If you can, hang out your clothes to dry in your house. Drying your clothes on racks rather than in the dryer will save you lots in the long run.
Pick up some rugs: If you have hard wood floors, it’s easy to feel the cold in the winter time. If you’re wondering how to lower the electric bill, the answer could be as simple as placing some rugs on your floors. They act as insulation, keeping heat in the room and so lowering the need to heat it. Plus, they’ll add a lot to the décor of the room too.
Unplug your electronics: During the winter you’re using more electronics, mostly because you’re at home more. Because of this, you may not even realise that you have unused electronics that are plugged in, using power. In some cases, this can cost you as much as $100 a year on your electric bills. Go around your home and unplug anything that’s not in use. Remember that items on standby are still using power, even if they don’t look like they’re plugged in.
Close the garage door: Are you in the habit of leaving the garage door open? It makes sense if you’re in and out of there a lot. In the winter though, that’s costing you money. If your garage is attached to your house, you’re letting all that cold air in, and the warm air out. Keep the door closed when you’re not using it, and you won’t have to heat your home as much.
Open the curtains: In the summer, you may have heard the tip to close your blinds and drapes in order to keep the sun out. The sun’s UV rays will heat up a room through your windows, so you’re advised to keep them out during the day. The reverse is true during winter. Open up all those blinds and let the sun in during the day. That little bit of extra light will heat up your home, and all for free too.
Check your refrigerator: Take a look at your refrigerator. Is it running too cold? If it is, it’s using more electricity than it needs to. For those wondering how to reduce electric bills, this could be the answer. It’s so simple too. Check the manufacturer’s manual to see what temperature it should be at. Change it and see how much money you’ll save.
Updating Your Heating To Save Money
Your heating system is how you’re going to keep your home warm during the winter. If it’s running at top capacity, then it’s going to run efficiently. Many heating systems aren’t taken care of though, and that’s going to cost you money. Here’s how you can maintain and update your system so it heats your home without the additional cost.
Get it inspected: Having your HVAC or furnace inspected yearly by an expert is essential. Even if the system looks as if it’s running fine, there could be hidden issues that are stopping it from running as it should. The engineer will inspect it, fix any issues they find, and have the heating running at top capacity again.
Clean your air filters: The air filters on your furnace clean the air that’s used in your heating, keeping dust, dirt and allergens out of your home. If they get clogged up though, your system struggles to draw air through it, so it has to work harder. That means using more electricity than it it should to make it work. It’s recommended that you clean your filters every month, in order to keep them clear.
Uncover your air vents: The air vents in your home will distribute warmed air around the house, and then pull it back via return air vents in order to do it all over again. They need to be fully open in order to be able to do that. Many home owners, though, manage to cover them up without even realising it. This stops them from being able to work as they should, so they use more power to push air around your home. Ensure you don’t have furniture sitting on your air vents, so they can work properly and save you money.
Don’t heat unused rooms: There are rooms in your house that you don’t use as often as others. For example, you’re not always in your bedrooms, or your dining room. If you can, shut off heating to rooms you’re not using. Stopping the heat means that you’re only heating the rooms you are using, thus saving money. After all, what’s the point of heating a room if no one’s in there using it?
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Using A Programmable Thermostat
Possibly the best way to save money on electric bills during the winter is by installing a programmable thermostat. These manage the temperature for you, according to the temperatures you set into it. You can arrange it so the heating goes off when you leave the house for the day, and comes back on when you get back home. It’s great as it takes a lot of work off you, and you’ll only heat your home when you need to.
How to install a new thermostat: Never installed a thermostat before? Don’t worry, it’s so easy. Firstly, turn off the existing thermostat on the unit itself, and turn off the power. Next, you’ll need to remove the wires from the existing unit. As you disconnect them, tape them down so they won’t slip into the wall. Take a picture so you can see where all the wires should go. Unscrew the base plate once you’re done, and everything should be removed.
Now you’re ready to install the new thermostat. You may need to drill new holes into the wall, depending on the model you’ve bought. Mount the new wall plate, and feed the wires through it. Ensure you use a level at this point, to ensure that the thermostat will sit level on the wall. Use the manufacturer’s instructions to connect up the wiring next, to ensure that you get it done right on the first try. Install the batteries, and then mount the thermostat onto the wall. Ensure you feed the wires back into the wall as you do this.
Finally, turn the power back on and set your thermostat, so you can test it.
How to program your new thermostat: How you do this will depend on the model you have. Some can be programmed directly through the unit. You’ll usually find that there are different options for different times. For example, you may want the heating to come on at 7am when you wake up, and then turn back off at 8am once you leave the house. You’ll then need it to come back on at 6pm when you come home. You can do that through a programmable thermostat.
Some models will let you set different programs for different days of the week. This is great if you have an erratic schedule and are doing different things every day. You can also set it to a weekend schedule too when you’re home, and you’ll need the home to be kept warm more often.
Many thermostats now are ‘smart’ thermostats, meaning they can be controlled via your phone. You’ll need to download an app in order to use it, and then you’ll be able to do the programming via that. It may be better for you, as you can adjust the heat even when you’re not home. They’ll even help you make adjustments depending on the weather, if that’s a feature you would like to use. The best thing about them though is that they’re more environmentally friendly than older thermostats, so they will save you more money in the long run. If your curious about what a programmable thermostat cost, you can find more at Amazon.com.
There are so many tips here, you’ll be sure to drop the price of your electric bill with them. Pair bigger changes, such as installing a programmable thermostat, with a smaller one such as adding rugs or using blankets during the winter. These will all keep your home toasty and warm, without driving up your electric bill.
There are more than one programmable thermostat on the market. You can check below for other highly rated thermostats.
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