7 Simple Ways to Reduce Your Energy Bill This Winter

Energy consumption tends to peak in the winter, putting a strain on every homeowner’s budget. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, nearly all U.S households could end up spending 6 to 30% more on energy this winter.

However, colder weather doesn’t have to mean sky-high bills for you. There are plenty of ways to save on heating costs this winter. These seven tips are easy to implement, cheap or free, and will definitely lower your electric bill this winter.

Get an Energy Audit

There’s a part of your electric bill you can do nothing about, such as charges for being connected to the infrastructure plus taxes. And then there’s the part you can control, which is the usage or power you actually use. 

Before you start looking for ways to save this winter, it’s worth knowing how much power each component you plug into the wall consumes. An energy audit will tell you what equipment is consuming too much power, uncover problem areas where you might be losing energy, and help you make necessary energy-efficient home upgrades.

Eliminate Air Leaks and Drafts

Air leakage in the home peaks in the coldest months, putting an additional burden on the heating system. Identifying and sealing these gaps will help you reduce your energy bill. In fact, sealing air leaks and adding insulation in attics, crawl spaces, and basements can save you around 15% on heating and cooling costs.

Look for spaces where cold air could leak into your home, such as door and window frames, chimney, and areas where plumbing, ductwork, or electrical wiring comes through the exterior walls. Use caulk to shut off these cracks and gaps and install weatherstripping around anything that moves, like the door itself or window sashes.

Get a Furnace Tune-Up

When the cold bites, you’ll rely heavily on your furnace to maintain a comfortable indoor atmosphere. So, you’ll need your heating system operating at maximum efficiency. If you didn’t schedule a tune-up in the fall, now’s the time to do it.

A heating unit that isn’t winter-ready will struggle to keep your home comfortable, drain more energy, break down more frequently, and won’t last as long as it could with routine care. A tune-up will catch small problems before they evolve into bigger ones, keep all parts clean and lubricated, and ensure your furnace run on less energy.

Adjust Your Ceiling Fans to Run in Winter Mode

Everyone knows that ceiling fans are a great way to stay cool in the hot months, but few know that they can also help keep you warm in the chilly season. Usually, a ceiling fan rotates counterclockwise, helping create a cooling breeze. 

However, most fans have a reverse switch that allows it to run clockwise. This is the mode you should use in winter. The fan will distribute the warm air that collects near the ceiling around the room, making the space feel warmer. You can further increase your savings by upgrading to an energy star-certified ceiling fan as it’s 50% more efficient.

Program the Thermostat

For every degree you lower the thermostat, you’ll save one percent on your energy bill. To slash your energy consumption in the winter without impacting your comfort levels, set the thermostat to 68°F while you’re awake and set it lower while you’re asleep or away from home. 

Instead of adjusting the thermostat manually, get a programmable one that you can set a variety of temperature preferences during the day for each day of the week. You can also use a smart thermostat that learns your patterns and automatically adjust the temperature for maximum efficiency and energy savings. If you feel chilly, layer up during the day and add some thick blankets to stay toasty warm at night.

Be Smart About Your Lighting  

Rethink your exterior and interior lighting systems. Invest in led bulbs, which use 75% less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescent types. Don’t stop there. You can switch to dimmer switches, so you only use as much light as you need.

Another option is motion-sensor switches so lights will automatically turn off when no one is in a room. This is a very effective solution in bathrooms and kid’s rooms, where lights are often left on by accident, resulting in wasted energy.

Let the Sun in During the Day and Close the Curtains at Night

Letting in the sunshine during the cold season will fend off that bone-chill cold, plus the warmth will keep your house comfortable. This will help you reduce your energy consumption as you’ll rely less on your heating unit. 

Also, with the natural light streaming in through the windows, you won’t have to keep your lights on throughout the day. So fling open those curtains and let the sun beam into your home. At sunset, close window coverings to keep warm indoor air from escaping. 

Say Goodbye to High Electric Bills

There are many steps you can take to reduce the expense of staying warm in the winter months. But the tips above are easy to implement and won’t cost you a fortune. 

So, before Jack Frost comes nipping at your nose and your wallet, get an energy audit, draft-proof your home, schedule a furnace tune-up, adjust the direction of your ceiling fan, program your thermostat, get led bulbs, and let in more sunlight.

Need help increasing your home’s energy efficiency for year-round savings? Talk to a qualified professional.