Published on February 02, 2022
With the shift to colder temperatures and a few inches of fresh snow to make it look as cold as it feels, it’s natural to bump up the thermostat a few degrees as we hunker down for the remaining winter months.
But if you find yourself in limbo between wanting to be warm but worrying about the cost of your utility bills, try following a few of these tips to reduce your energy usage between now and the warmer weather.
Turn down the thermostat
You can save as much as 10 percent a year on heating and cooling by simply turning your thermostat back seven to 10 degrees for eight hours a day from its normal setting. Those eight hours could be while you are away at work or school, when sunlight is warming your house, or when you’re asleep under a pile of cozy blankets. For every two degrees, you can save an average of three percent on your energy bill.
Seal up your house to keep cold air out and warm air in
Caulking and weatherstripping help seal your house up, keeping the warm air in. These are affordable DIY ways to improve energy efficiency and can save you about 7.5 percent on your energy bill!
About $240 can cover weather stripping all your windows and doors. You’ll also minimize the air that escapes by closing the damper on your fireplace when it’s not in use and use bath and kitchen fans sparingly. This can save another 10 percent on your energy bill.
Change your furnace filters regularly
Your furnace or heating system is responsible for about half your energy bill. Changing the filters every three months means your furnace doesn’t have to work as hard, saving you energy and money in the long run. A clean filter costs about $20 and can lower energy use by as much as 15 percent according to the U.S. Department of Energy. That means of another 7.5 percent savings on your monthly bills.
Get a pro to test your energy efficiency
Many utility companies offer free energy audits, which can help you figure out how much energy your home uses and take steps to increase efficiency. Start by contacting your utility company or find an auditor near you. According to Energy.gov, an energy audit can show you ways to save five to 30 percent on your utility bills.
Get free heat from the sun
Warm sunshine can heat your home, for free! Open curtains on south- and west-facing windows during the day to warm your interior rooms and surfaces. Then close your curtains at night to help keep the heat from escaping. This could help save another one or two percent on your energy bill in colder months.
If you are having trouble keeping up with higher winter utility bills, ask your utility company about a payment plan. Many companies offer a year-round plan that spreads the cost out over all 12 months.
If you need assistance with your budget, connect with one of our personal advisors or our partners at GreenPath. GreenPath Financial Wellness provides complimentary financial wellness services to Community Choice members, including financial counseling and debt management plans. Learn more at www.greenpath.com.